Father who killed kids at church had restraining order, gun

The 39-year-old man who killed his three children and another person at a Sacramento church during a supervised visit Monday had been the subject of a restraining order by the children’s mother, authorities said.

Sgt. Rodney Grassmann, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, said authorities are investigating how he got the firearm despite the court order.

Detectives in Sacramento on Tuesday were still trying to sort out the chain of events that led to the gunman entering the sanctuary at the Church in Sacramento, on Wyda Way east of the city, shortly after 5 p.m. and opening fire. He then took his own life, officials said.

The children who were killed were girls ages 9, 10 and 13, Grassmann said .

The children’s mother has been in contact with authorities, according to Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, who said she had a restraining order against the gunman.

She was not believed to be in town at the time of the shooting and was notified by a law enforcement chaplain.

“The mom — I don’t know how you process it,” Grassmann said.

The violence left residents stunned.

“It hurts to hear that a father shot his own three kids,” said Alicia Harmon, 16, who lives nearby and said she hoped the victims weren’t anyone she knew.

Harmon said many of her friends live close to the church, and she came down after her mother told her she might know some of those involved.

Michael Baginski, who was described as a district leader on the church’s website, suggested the shooter was mentally ill. Baginski was not at the scene and said the church was not holding services at the time of the shooting.

The fifth person who was killed was a man supervising the visit, Grassmann said, but it was not immediately clear what that person’s relationship was to the church or family.

It was also not clear whether the man and his children were members of the church or using the building as a neutral meeting location. Grassmann said it was likely a court-ordered visitation.

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