Man Murders Daughters In Sacramento Church

By Chujun Tang


SACRAMENTO, CA – On Monday, Feb. 28, a man killed his three daughters and their chaperone before turning the gun on himself at a church in the Sacramento suburbs.


Sheriff’s officials identified the three girls as 13-year-old Samia, 10-year-old Samantha, and nine-year-old Samarah Mora Gutierrez. Authorities also said that 39-year-old David Mora, the girls’ father, fatally shot 59-year-old Nathaniel Kong, a family friend and employee of the church who was supervising the visit.


The girl’s mother, Mora’s estranged girlfriend, had sought a domestic violence restraining order against him for safety last April. “He threatened to kill me if he ever caught me cheating…He has choked me in the past,” said the woman, whose name was being withheld for safety reasons. 


Mora was taken into custody after a mental health evaluation last April, according to court papers, and nine days later a temporary restraining order was granted, which banned him from possessing a gun or ammunition. Investigators are trying to discover how he obtained the weapon.


“Another senseless act of gun violence in America — this time in our backyard. In a church with kids inside. Absolutely devastating,” Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted in response to the case. “Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and their communities.”


A five-year restraining order also stipulated that Mora only have supervised visits with his daughters up to four hours a week, accompanied by a mutually agreed-upon chaperone, who now became one of the victims in this murder. Mora was also ordered by a judge to attend anger management courses.


Five days before his rampage, Mora was arrested in Merced County on charges of resisting arrest, battery on a police officer, and driving under the influence after assaulting a highway patrol officer.


“He was drunk and while they were arresting him or trying to, he decided he wanted to fight and ended up with felony charges because he assaulted a CHP officer, causing injuries,” said Deputy Daryl Allen, a spokesperson for the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.

Allen said Mora was arrested on Feb. 23, posted bail, and spent only one night in jail.

Hundreds of people have donated more than 70,000 dollars for funeral expenses for the victims killed in the shooting. A crowdfunding page set up Tuesday evening on GoFundMe by Jovana Venegas, who said the three girls were her nieces. The three girls were identified as Woodland residents, but they attended school in the Natomas Unified School District. A few who left messages along with their donations on the GoFundMe page claimed to be teachers at Natomas Unified, some of whom knew the sisters personally.

“They were amazing students who loved learning and loved school,” wrote Jennifer Souza, whose bio on the district website says she is a third-grade teacher at Two Rivers Elementary School. “They had plans, hopes and dreams that I spoke about with them often – now all snuffed out.”

The Sacramento Kings players received word of the shooting immediately after their victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Interim coach Alvin Gentry opened his postgame conference with somber remarks on the murder.

“We just got the news here of what happened in Sacramento with the church shooting and … some young people there,” Gentry said. “Our hearts and our prayers go out to the family and everybody involved in that. It’s just another tragedy that’s hard to understand.” 

Players and coaches were saddened after hearing the news. Now, an unidentified Kings player has also offered to pay for the victims’ funerals. The player wishes to remain anonymous out of respect for the victims’ families.

Vice Mayor of Sacramento Angelique Ashby mentioned during Tuesday’s City Council meeting that someone from the Kings organization had pledged to help with funeral expenses. Ashby then asked to adjourn the meeting “in honor of those three little lives taken away too soon from our city, from our community, from their sweet mom, from this world.”




About The Author

Jordan Varney received a masters from UC Davis in Psychology and a B.S. in Computer Science from Harvey Mudd. Varney is editor in chief of the Vanguard at UC Davis.

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