SACRAMENTO (KPIX 5) -- Three young girls and their chaperone are dead after their father shot and killed them and then turned the gun on himself during a supervised visit at a church in Sacramento.
Fear and panic reigned in this northeast Sacramento neighborhood on Monday, as more than a hundred officers responded to a report of an active shooter incident at a church.
Five people were found dead, three of them children.
At first, the residents didn't know if a shooter was on the loose and who he was targeting.
The incident happened just after 5 p.m. An employee working upstairs managed to get out and call 911 just after gunfire erupted.
"As I stopped in front of the church, they brought out someone they were rendering medical aid to and then they were scooting everybody back," said eyewitness Robert Peterson.
Deputies surrounded the church, trying to get the victims to safety and hoping to save their lives. The Sacramento Sheriff's Department though pronounced all 5 victims dead at the scene, three girls, ages 9, 10 and 13, their 41-year-old father and another victim who was there to supervise the girls' visit with the father.
"This was a court supervised visitation," said Sgt. Rod Grassmann with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.
Sgt. Grassmann adds the shooter's estranged wife had a restraining order against him but the court scheduled this visit.
Berry Accius, an activist that has been working in his Sacramento community to end gun violence was stunned by what happened here tonight.
"For a man - a man to take the lives of his kids, a man who's supposed to be the protector of his kids becomes the under taker it's tragic," said Accius.
Investigators will be here throughout the night collecting more evidence and sequencing how this tragedy unfolded. The incident has rocked this Sacramento neighborhood, mothers are holding their kids a little tighter.
Heather Bond has a 13-year-old son.
"It was sad , I feel sad for the family," said Bond.
The sheriff's department says the mother was out of town. She was found and told this devastating news.
One of the things investigators will be looking at closely is possible red flags leading to this incident and how the shooter got the gun. Under the restraining order, it was illegal for him to be in possession of a weapon.
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