SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Panic, chaos, and crime scene tape put a black eye on the riverside revelry that’s become a Sacramento New Year’s Eve staple, and now there are questions about the event’s future in Old Sacramento.
“Certainly disappointing and it’s sad,” said Mike Testa with the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We’ve done this event for 12 years without incident.”
But now, one big incident is sparking questions about safety. Testa doesn’t question emergency response.
“There were 100 officers at this event and their reaction was immediate,” he said.
It’s the reaction of the 30,000 or so people there during the shootout that will really matter.
Will they come back next year? Will this event even be back next year?
“We haven’t made a decision about what will happen with this event, and I’m sure we’ll do that in the next few weeks,” Testa said.
Security concerns have canceled successful events before. Remember that Sacramento ball drop to ring in 2009? A huge crowd descended on downtown, sparking fights and arrests.
The inaugural ball drop turned out to be the last.
Now, the Old Sac shootout is making headlines around the world.
“And the reality is it happened inside the bar, and I’m not sure how it would have been prevented,” Testa said.
Well, it may be more preventable at a place such as Cal Expo.
It hosts big events like the State Fair and a huge Fourth of July fireworks show. Guests walk through security gates where metal detectors have a pretty good shot at finding weapons.
The Cal Expo site also has a network of surveillance cameras, its own police department, and even its own jail.
It’s a bigger and potentially safer alternative if fears over firearms and fireworks put pressure on starting a new New Year’s tradition.