Mass Shooting Suspect Found Dead in Cell

Lawyer says Smiley Martin 'passed away, fighting to defend his innocence'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2024 5:03 PM CDT
Mass Shooting Suspect Dies in Sacramento Jail
Smiley Martin makes his first appearance in Sacramento County Superior Court, April 22, 2022.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

One of three people charged in a mass shooting that killed six people and injured a dozen others in Sacramento died in his jail cell early Saturday, authorities say. The inmate was found unresponsive in his cell at the Sacramento County Main Jail, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post. After deputies performed first aid, "fire personnel arrived and continued life-saving efforts, but the inmate was ultimately pronounced deceased at the jail," the sheriff's office said. The office didn't name Smiley Martin as the inmate, but it said the man had been in custody since Martin's April 20, 2022, arrest date, CNN reports.

Martin, 29, faced charges including murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was seriously injured in what authorities said was a clash between two armed groups linked to gangs on April 3, 2022, NBC News reports. His younger brother Dandrae Martin, who received minor injuries, was also arrested. "It is most tragic that Mr. Martin passed away, fighting to defend his innocence in the preliminary hearing process," public defender Norman Dawson said. The sheriff's office said it is investigating the death. It said the county coroner's office "will determine the cause of death and forward its findings as prescribed by law." (More Sacramento stories.)

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