Sacramento detectives field four murders and a home invasion in January

A new year rings in with a spate of violent crimes

This is an extended version of a story that appears in the February 1, 2018, issue.

The city of Sacramento started 2018 with four homicides during the month of January, three of which remain unsolved.

The violence started four days into the new year, when a man suffered what would be a fatal gunshot wound on a street near Rosa Parks Middle School in south Sacramento. The case is still under investigation.

The next homicide probe started January 7, after police conducted a welfare check on a home in South Land Park. The officers were looking for 61-year-old Susan Roberts, who hadn’t been seen in several days. Police arrived at Roberts’ house on Nevin Court around 1 p.m. and quickly ended up in a standoff with her husband, 59-year-old Mark Herbert Long. After Long surrendered, detectives discovered Roberts’ body inside the house. Long is currently being held in jail without bail as he’s prosecuted for murder.

Another killing happened later that night in Old North Sacramento. At 8:40 p.m. emergency dispatchers received a call reporting shots fired on Dale Avenue not far from Redwood Park. Police found a man shot on the 2500 block of the avenue. He was eventually pronounced dead. No arrest has yet been made.

On January 14, at 8:50 p.m., dispatchers received a call that a man had been shot by 44th Street and 10th Avenue, just north of an area known by some residents as the “Fruitridge finger.” Officers soon found an unconscious man bleeding from a gunshot wound. Paramedics pronounced the victim dead on the scene.

According to recently released FBI statistics, the city of Sacramento experienced a spike in homicides during the first half of 2017 compared to the first half of 2016. During the first six months of last year, there were 21 homicides in the city, eight more than during the same period in 2016.

By January 22, county sheriff’s detectives were conducting their own violent crime investigation in the south area. Around 1: 20 a.m., a woman called dispatchers to say that several men had rushed into her garage with guns, demanding money and belongings from everyone inside. Arriving deputies spotted at least four men running away into the darkness.

“While speaking with the victims and other witnesses, deputies determined there were multiple people inside the home playing card games and potentially gambling,” a Sheriff’s Department news release states. “The males entered the location and robbed them.”

Sheriff’s deputies have arrested two suspects in the home invasion and are actively searching for two others, the release states.