SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Police have arrested the teen who allegedly shot and killed two other teens inside Arden Fair Mall on Friday.
Damario Beck, 18, has been arrested for the shooting that killed brothers Dewayne James Jr., 19, and Sa’Quan Reed-James, 17, during one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
The victims’ father Dewayne James Sr. was devastated to learn both of his sons were killed.
“My kids, they gone I can’t get them back,” James Sr. said. “At first I wanted to get revenge, but as days go by I get a little stronger.”
Police say that based on preliminary evidence, the shooting was caused by a verbal altercation between two groups of people who had previous run-ins, according to a Sacramento Police Department statement. But the family of the victims denies that the two parties knew each other.
According to the Sacramento Bee, a video shows one the victims may have also fired shots from their own gun during the altercation but the Sacramento Police Department has not confirmed that.
Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn says violence among young people has increased and several factors are to blame.
He said the coronavirus pandemic gives young people limited access to community centers and after-school programs.
“We’ve had a city that hasn’t had any juvenile murders for two years now. This year so far we already have four,” Hahn said.
Hahn said protests are also pulling specialty police units like gangs task forces and community outreach teams away from their normal operations.
“Sports, school, after school programs, anything you have groups of people is pretty much shut down and most impacted on that is are communities where people don’t have the funds to do other things,” Hahn said.
Regardless of what the problems are, the family of the brothers just want to see solutions.
“Do we need to get guns off the street? Absolutely. Do we need to get guns out of the hands of the people that are not legally able to have guns? Absolutely. But if we stop there we fail,” Hahn said.
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According to the family, the brothers who were killed had just moved from Lousiana to Sacramento to escape violence, only to become victims of it. While family members are now hoping to see both change and justice, the teens’ father says he has no ill will toward the alleged shooter.
“I forgive you, son… you know what I’m saying? I’m sorry that you have to go through this and your parents have to go through this bro. And I want your parents to know I don’t hate you. I don’t have nothing bad to say about you bro,” James Sr. said.
James Sr. says his sons were best friends and promising athletes who loved music and their family.
“I never knew my boys had so much love, and I want them to know that. They love you man. That’s all I have to say, man,” James Sr. said.
The family says the focus now is getting the teens back to Lousiana where they will be buried. They are also calling for the violence to stop in the name of their loved ones.
“If it takes for my kids to go sit with the lord to bring to light the situation across the country then so be it,” James Sr. said.
Mayor Steinberg did release a statement saying a gun is never the answer and that he doesn’t blame the mall for the incident. He says this could have happened anywhere.
Arden Fair Mall is being credited with helping identify the suspect. As a result of the shooting, Arden Fair mall had to close early.
Detectives are continuing their investigation and believe there are additional people involved in the incident and witnesses. They plan to release more information as the investigation progresses.