Police direct pedestrian traffic away from a shooting near 12th Street and K Street in downtown Sacramento on Saturday. Bee Staff Photo by Randall Benton.
By Hudson Sangree
In a bizarre shooting in front of an upscale restaurant in downtown Sacramento tonight, police said a member of a jazz band pulled a handgun and shot one of two men who had picked fights with a waiter, a homeless man and a band member.
The band member, whom police did not identify, was detained but not arrested.
The wounded man was taken to an area hospital with multiple gunshots to his upper body, police said.
Police said today the man was in stable but serious condition.
The events began shortly before 7 p.m. when two men described as large white men in their 20s, possibly intoxicated, tried to pick a fight with a valet parking attendant and mooned patrons at Ella restaurant at 12th and K streets, witnesses told The Bee.
The men crossed the street to the Broiler restaurant, where they entered the building and again started trouble, police and witnesses said.
As they exited the building, the men touched one of several human-sized cat figurines belonging to a jazz band that was playing on the patio just outside the restaurant.
A band member told the men to stop it. At that point, a homeless man in his early 20s confronted the two men and they beat him, said Sgt. Norm Leong, police spokesman.
Witnesses said they used kick-boxing techniques in attacking the homeless man.
They punched a waiter who tried to intervene, knocking him to the ground.
The two men then punched the band member and backed off, Leong said.
But the two men again approached the band member, at which point he pulled a handgun and shot one of the assailants, Leong said.
Leong said the man suspected of firing the gun was not arrested. He said police will refer the case to the District Attorney's Office to determine whether charges are merited.
Patrons at the two restaurants continued to eat and sip drinks as the police outside cordoned off the K Street mall, questioned witnesses and searched for shell casings.
The diners watched the surreal scene through the restaurant's large windows.
Visitors to the Esquire Imax Theatre and nearby hotels moved around the crime scene.
The shooting disrupted light-rail service through downtown.
Light-rail travelers were bused around the crime scene.
Call The Bee's Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.