Watch CBS News

Smiley Martin, suspect in 2022 Sacramento mass shooting, dies in jail, attorney says

Suspect on trial for 2022 Sacramento mass shooting dies in jail
Suspect on trial for 2022 Sacramento mass shooting dies in jail 01:35

SACRAMENTO – An inmate who died in custody at the Sacramento County Main Jail early Saturday morning has been identified by his attorney as Smiley Martin, one of three suspects charged in the 2022 Sacramento mass shooting which left six people dead and 12 wounded.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Office reports that at around 2:15 a.m., deputies did a cell check in the 5-East 300 Pod and saw an inmate was unresponsive. Deputies went in and started first aid, and jail medical staff also responded.

Sacramento Fire Department crews took over life-saving efforts, but the sheriff's office says the inmate was pronounced dead at the jail.

Smiley Martin CDCR
Smiley Martin CDCR

Norman Dawson, Martin's attorney, confirmed that it was his client who died.

"The Public Defender, Amanda Benson, and I have been in contact with Jail Command. They are conducting their investigation. They will likely not provide any details until they have concluded that process," Dawson said in a statement. "It is most tragic that Mr. Martin passed away, fighting to defend his innocence in the preliminary hearing process."

The sheriff's office did not release Martin's name but noted that the inmate had been in custody since April 20, 2022.

An exact cause of death is now under investigation by the Sacramento County Coroner's Office. 

Sacramento mass shooting case

Martin was one of three suspects accused in the Sacramento mass shooting in the late night hours of April 2, 2022, that left six people dead. The brazen gun battle in the heart of Sacramento's downtown corridor also left another dozen people wounded in what authorities had described as a gang fight between "multiple rivals."

Martin, along his brother Dandrae Martin and a third man, Mtula Payton, were all charged with murder in the shooting. All three are previously convicted felons. 

Court proceedings in the case have been ongoing. The three suspects were last in court on Feb. 23 for a preliminary hearing. 

Just weeks before the shooting, Sacramento County had agreed to pay Martin $7,500 in a settlement surrounding a 2018 lawsuit where he claimed that a jail guard was responsible for rival gang members attacking him.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.