Police are looking for several suspects after at least six people were killed and 12 injured in a shooting in central Sacramento, the Californian capital.
No arrests have yet been made in the worst mass shooting in the United States so far in 2022, which erupted early Sunday morning.
The victims were still being identified on Monday and police are asking for the public’s help in obtaining evidence.
The violence was “unprecedented” for the city, its police chief said.
Videos posted online appear to show a fight in the area – filled with restaurants and bars – in the early hours of Sunday, just before rapid fire scared people away.
It was not clear until now whether the scuffle led to the shooting, police said, and on Monday officials set up an online portal asking the public to submit information at the scene.
The shooting took place around 2 a.m. (0900 GMT) near the junction of 10th Street and K Street, in an area that leads to the Golden One Center, where the Sacramento Kings play basketball.
It is also only a few blocks from the State Capitol building.
“It’s a really tragic situation,” Police Chief Katherine Lester said.
Nearby police responded to the gunfire and encountered a “very large crowd”, Chief Lester said. At least one handgun, now considered stolen, has been recovered.
Three men and three women were killed in the street.
Pamela Harris said her daughter called her at 2.15am to tell her her 38-year-old son, Sergio, had been shot and killed outside a nightclub.
“She said he was dead. I just collapsed,” Harris told Reuters at the scene of the shooting.
“I can’t leave here now until I know what’s going on. I’m not going anywhere. It feels like a dream.”
Kay Harris, 32, said she was asleep when a family member called to say they thought her brother had been killed. She said she thought he was in London, a nightclub on 10th street, Associated Press reports.
She said she had been to the club a few times and described it as a place for “the younger crowd”.
Community activist Berry Accius arrived at the scene around 2:30 a.m. after a member of the city council called him about the shooting.
“The first thing I saw was like victims,” he told CBS News.
“I saw a young girl with a whole lot of blood in her body, a girl taking glass away from her, a young girl screaming saying, ‘They killed my sister.’ A mother comes running, ‘Where is my son, has my son been shot?'”
The incident is certain to inflame the ongoing debate about gun violence and the prevalence of lethal weapons in American society.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg tweeted that the number of dead and wounded was “difficult to apprehend”.
“Increasing gun violence is the blight of our city, state and nation, and I support all actions to reduce it,” he said.
In a tearful statement to reporters, Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela – who represents the district where the shooting happened – said: “I am heartbroken and outraged.”
“Our community deserves better than this,” she said, pledging to do whatever she can to ensure young people “don’t get shot on K Street for trying to have a good time.” .
In a statement Sunday, President Joe Biden called “another ‘case of gun violence’ leaving “families forever changed. Survivors left to heal wounds both seen and unseen.”
Guns are implicated in about 40,000 deaths a year in the United States, including suicides, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.