SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The family of the three young girls killed by their father has released a statement for the first time since the shooting at a Sacramento church.
On Feb. 28, David Mora, 39, killed his children —Samantha Mora Gutierrez, 10; Samarah Mora Gutierrez, 9; Samia Mora Gutierrez, 13 -- and Nathaniel Kong, 59, during a supervised visit before killing himself.
The Gutierrez Family released the following statement:
“We would like to thank everyone for the love and support we have received this week. It has helped us greatly as we work to process the overwhelming sense of grief and loss we are experiencing. Moving forward, we understand and appreciate that there is a lot of interest in the story of our girls. But we are asking to be given some time and space to mourn in private, especially as we lay our loved ones to rest.”
Latest on the Investigation
Immigration officials said on Friday that Mora was in the United States illegally.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman told The Associated Press on Friday that David Mora overstayed his visa after entering California from Mexico in December 2018.
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office said because of California's so-called sanctuary state law it did not inform immigration officials last week that Mora had been arrested for punching an officer.
The development provides a possible motive because Mora could have been deported, separating him from his daughters. Investigators aren't commenting.
Also on Friday, the Sacramento County's Sheriff's Office released details on the weapon calling it an "AR style rifle."
"The firearm had no serial number or manufacturer markings and is what the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives refers to as a 'Privately Made Firearm,'" according to the statement. "The rifle had an extended 30 round magazine inserted and 17 casings were found at the scene"
Support for the four victims and their families has been an outpour, including numerous vigils being held across Sacramento.
Memorial for victims in deadly church shooting
The Natomas Unified School District said Tuesday the three girls were students in the district.
"There are very few words that can give comfort right now for this unspeakable tragedy," the district wrote in a statement.
The Church in Sacramento — where the shooting took place — released the following statement:
The leadership of The Church in Sacramento is shocked and saddened by the tragic shooting that occurred in our church meeting hall late Monday, February 28, resulting in the deaths of five of our members, including three young girls from one of our families.
Our church body is devastated and heartbroken by this senseless tragedy and we ask for continued prayer for the victims, their family, and our faith community as we grapple with this unexpected loss and trust the Lord for His strength in our grief.
At the close of Tuesday's Sacramento City Council meeting, the council adjourned in memory of the three young girls.
“She (the mother) did everything that any one of us would have suggested to her to do," said Vice Mayor Angelique Ashby. "She was trying to escape violence and in the end, she is completely alone now. All of her children were killed in one moment.”
The children attended Bannon Creek and Leroy Greene Academy. The school is providing a Social-Emotional Support Team and Chaplains from the Sacramento Police Department at the two schools.
On Wednesday, sources told ABC10 that a player from the Sacramento Kings will cover the funeral expenses for the victims. The news was also alluded to at the close of a Tuesday City Council meeting by Vice Mayor Angelique Ashby.
Sources told ABC10 that the Kings player wishes to remain anonymous out of respect to the family's privacy.
Find more information about domestic abuse and domestic violence resource in Sacramento HERE.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
24/7 Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE
WEAVE 916-920-2952 – main crisis line
My Sister’s House: (Asian/Pan Pacific Services) 916-428-3271
24/7 Suicide Prevention Hotline: at 800-273-8255
Confidential Teen Line: 800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336) or text us by texting “TEEN” to 839863 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Law Enforcement Sacramento Chaplain 24-hour confidential hotline: (916) 857-1801
Parent Support Hotline: 916-394-2005
Children’s Crisis Nursery provides Emergency Childcare and shelter services at 916-394-2000
PEACE for Families (Roseville) 800-575-5352
Stand Up Placer: 24-Hour Helpline: 800-575-5352