SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An 18-year-old woman was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting at the Sacramento Memorial Lawn Cemetery on July 20, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office said.
It happened near the intersection of El Paraiso Avenue and Stockton Boulevard in south Sacramento. Breonna Williams, a family spokesperson, identified the victim as her cousin, Zarrie Allen.
“It shocks me that someone is bold enough to come to a memorial and have a drive-by shooting," Williams said. "I think these people, or whoever they may be, definitely knew who they were coming for and didn’t care who was around.”
Williams said her cousin is originally from Richmond, Calif., and was in Sacramento to attend her first year at Sacramento State University in pursuit of a nursing degree.
“I just spoke with her a few days ago and, to hear that she’s gone and shot, it’s unbelievable,” Williams said.
Friends say Allen had a humorous and loving personality.
“It’s just crazy that bad things happen to good people,” Kadi E’Denchukwu, a high school and college classmate, said.
Williams said her cousin was bright and involved in the Richmond community. She ran track in 2019 for the Oakland Police Activities League (PAL) and was involved in her church.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said they don't believe Allen was the intended target, and investigators are looking into the possibility of the shooting being gang related.
“That means that someone she was hanging out with, or whoever these people were, they clearly had a motive, and unfortunately, my cousin was an innocent bystander and ended up being the only one there who got shot. So, it’s not adding up to us,” Williams said.
It was only about a month ago when law enforcement in both the city and county of Sacramento put out a joint press release about an uptick in violence in the south Sacramento area, where they said at least 30 people had been shot between late May to late June.
“Certainly, that is on the forefront of our detectives minds in terms of this case. It has some of the clues that we see related to drive-by’s or targeted shootings,” Sgt. Tess Deterding, a spokesperson for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said, attributing the shootings, in part, to a "gang war" in the area.
Barry Accius, community activist and Founder of Voices of Youth, was dispatched to do violence intervention after the shooting happened. He's denouncing the violence and calling for it to end.
“You killed somebody at a cemetery,” Accius said. “This is not a score on their scoreboard. This is just another cowardly act.”
Accius is calling for city officials to do better investment in the community moving forward.
In the meantime, Allen's family is desperate for answers.
“We need justice. We have to figure it out," Williams said. "If anybody knows anything please speak up, that’s all that we’re asking. Our family deserves justice, and we will get justice.”
At this point in time, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office does not have a suspect or suspects in custody, and they are encouraging anyone who may have seen or heard something in the area around 5 p.m. on Monday to call them right away.