Two people were shot to death late Saturday night during a family celebration at the Estrellita Ballroom in Galt, 415 C St., according to Galt police.
Investigators were busy Sunday looking for the shooting suspect, Alfredo Daniel Tafoya, 18, whose last known address was in South Sacramento, Galt Police Chief Loren Cattolico said at a press conference Sunday afternoon.
The victims were identified as Efrain Zambrano, 20, of rural Galt, and Carlos Alonso Montes, 24, whose last known address was in La Puente in Southern California, Cattolico said.
The shooting, reported at 11:06 p.m. Saturday, took place after a brief argument, pushing and shoving at a quinceañera in honor of a teenage girl, Cattolico said. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene, he said. The suspect then walked from the ballroom.
The shooting took place in an open area of the ballroom near a serving area during a quinceañera, Cattolico said.
"From witness testimony, it was a miracle no one else was hit," he added.
No other gunshots were fired, and no one else was injured, Lt. Ken Erickson said in an e-mail.
Tafoya was described as 5 feet 10 inches tall with brown eyes and black hair.
"He should be considered armed and dangerous," Cattolico said.
Tafoya may not have been directly invited to the quinceañera, but he was allowed to enter the ballroom. Tafoya is a gang member, possibly a Sureno, but there is no evidence that the victims belong to a gang, Cattolico said.
"I saw a lot of 'gangy'-looking kids," a man who refused to give his name, said on Sunday while standing on the sidewalk near the Estrellita Ballroom.
The man said there were cars all over the area on C Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, for the quinceañera. He said he did not attend the event.
The man, who works at a nearby store, said the city should close Estrellita Ballroom because of several incidents that have taken place over the years.
Cattolico said he didn't know how many people were at the party, but many people had left by the time officers arrived.
A warrant has been obtained for Tafoya's arrest. Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call Galt police at 366-7000 or the Crime Stoppers number, (888) 393-8477. Those who call Crime Stoppers may give information anonymously, Cattolico said.
What is a quinceañera?A quinceañera is a traditional celebration of life and gratitude to God on a Hispanic girl's 15th birthday. The ritual emphasizes her passage from childhood to adulthood. The family usually requests a Mass or blessing at the church.
The parents, in coming to the church seeking the blessing, acknowledge that their daughter has reached the age where she is capable of handling additional responsibility. They see it as a way to thank God for the blessing of their daughter's life and to seek God's blessing and guidance as she enters adulthood.
While society invites youth to gang membership, drug and alcohol abuse and irresponsible sexual behavior, the church can offer the quinceañera an opportunity to reflect on her role as a Catholic Christian woman.
Grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are usually present to celebrate with the quinceañera. Other couples acting as sponsors may bring forward blessed religious articles to the quinceañera.
Source: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops