Mtula Payton, fugitive in downtown Sacramento mass shooting, arrested in Las Vegas

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The fugitive suspect in the downtown Sacramento gang shooting nearly two months ago that killed six and wounded 12 has been arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mtula Payton, who Sacramento police say was one of the men who opened fire at 10th and K streets on April 3, was located and taken into custody by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI’s criminal apprehension team.

“Through their relentless investigation, our detectives developed information that Payton was residing at an apartment complex located in Las Vegas, Nevada,” police said in a Saturday night announcement. “Our detectives relayed this information to Las Vegas Metro Police Department in an effort to apprehend Payton. Las Vegas Metro Police Department worked with our detectives for weeks in an effort to locate Payton.”

Sacramento police said Payton, who was found at a residence in the 1300 block of East Hacienda Avenue, will be placed in a “custodial facility in Nevada and later transported to Sacramento where he will be booked at the Sacramento County Main Jail.”

Three suspects in the April 3, 2022, gang shooting in downtown Sacramento that left six dead: Smiley Martin, Mtula Payton and Dandrae Martin. Payton was taken into custody in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, May 28, 2022.
Three suspects in the April 3, 2022, gang shooting in downtown Sacramento that left six dead: Smiley Martin, Mtula Payton and Dandrae Martin. Payton was taken into custody in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, May 28, 2022.

Payton, 27, as well as brothers Dandrae and Smiley Martin, were each charged with three counts of murder for the deaths of Yamile Martinez, 21; Johntaya Alexander, 21; and Melinda Davis, 57, three women described by authorities as bystanders caught in the crossfire of a 2 a.m. shootout April 3 near 10th and K streets.

Three men who allegedly took part in the shootout were also killed, and a dozen others including Smiley Martin were injured by gunfire.

The Martin brothers are in custody at the Sacramento County Main Jail downtown, arrested by Sacramento police shortly after the shootout.

Authorities say the Martins and Payton were part of two rival gang groups that squared off at 10th and K streets as the area bars were closing and opened fire on each other, spraying at least 114 rounds throughout the streets where as many as 80 people were gathered.

Police in an arrest warrant wrote that Payton during the shooting “appeared to be firing indiscriminately” while running from the scene. The charges for Payton and the Martin brothers include special circumstance allegations, which could lead to a death penalty prosecution if the D.A.’s office decides to pursue such a trial.

A surveillance video obtained by the Sacramento Police Department shows Mtula Payton firing his weapon as he flees on 10th Street after a gun battle at 10th and K streets April 3, 2022, in downtown Sacramento. Six people were killed and 12 others were wounded in the shootout. Prosecutors on Tuesday charged three men with the murders of three women killed in the gunfight.
A surveillance video obtained by the Sacramento Police Department shows Mtula Payton firing his weapon as he flees on 10th Street after a gun battle at 10th and K streets April 3, 2022, in downtown Sacramento. Six people were killed and 12 others were wounded in the shootout. Prosecutors on Tuesday charged three men with the murders of three women killed in the gunfight.

Three men were killed during the shootout — Sergio Harris, 38; DaVazia Turner, 29; and Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32 — but no charges were filed in their deaths because authorities believe they participated in the gun battle.

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