A Northern California multi-agency investigation into gang violence between rival Sikh groups connected to 11 shootings has resulted in 17 arrests, authorities said Monday during a news conference.
Law enforcement officials said they connected two gangs to an Aug. 27, 2022, mass shooting where five men were shot outside a Stockton Sikh temple and a March 26 shooting where two men were shot near a Sacramento County Sikh temple.
Throughout the investigation, known as Operation Broken Sword, 41 firearms were confiscated from suspects responsible for violent crimes and shootings in Sutter, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Yolo and Merced counties, according to authorities. Two suspects were described as “fugitives from India who are wanted on a number of murders out of India.”
The violence began with fist fights and sword attacks at a 2018 Sikh parade in Yuba City and escalated to a shooting at a September 2021 wedding in Yuba City, according to Sutter County Dist. Atty. Jennifer Dupré. Since then, the gangs carried out 10 additional shootings, with 11 men being shot, all of whom were “members of the syndicate,” she said.
California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said there is more to be done to prevent gun violence.
“There will be more takedowns. There will be more guns removed from dangerous individuals,” he said, adding that people should be able to live “without the fear of gang violence, mass shootings and murder hanging over their heads.”
Originally, Dupré said, the suspects involved were one large group before “one faction broke off, and since then they have been rivals trying to outdo each other.”
The investigation was already underway by the time of the second shooting last month in Vineyard, where Dupré said “it could have been a bloodbath” had authorities not arrested seven armed men who planned to shoot their rivals during a parade. A shooting still occurred afterward and two men were wounded.
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