Man shoots and kills his 3 children, chaperone, himself at California church

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A man shot and killed his three children, their chaperone and himself during a supervised visit with the kids Monday at a church in Sacramento, California, authorities said.

Deputies responding to reports of gunfire around 5 p.m. found five people dead, including the shooter, at the church in the Arden-Arcade neighborhood, said Sgt. Rod Grassmann with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.

The victims included three juveniles under 15 years old, Grassman said. He didn’t know their genders.

The shooter was estranged from the children’s mother, who had a restraining order against him, Sheriff Scott Jones said.

Investigators believe the shooting happened during a supervised visit with the children and the fourth victim was their chaperone, Jones said.

The shooter’s identity wasn’t immediately released.

A church employee heard the gunshots and called 911, Grassman said. The shooting occurred in the main sanctuary area, he said.

Sheriff’s officials are investigating it as a domestic violence incident, Grassman said.

Officials didn’t know if the family members belonged to the the church, which sits on a mostly residential block near a commercial area east of downtown Sacramento.

It wasn’t immediately known how many people were at the church or if there were any services or activities at the time of the shooting.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said his office was working with local law enforcement.

“Another senseless act of gun violence in America — this time in our backyard. In a church with kids inside. Absolutely devastating,” Newsom said on Twitter.

Weber reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press reporter Stefanie Dazio also contributed from LA.

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