Sacramento shooting site
Sacramento Mass Shooting: What To Know As Police Arrest Multiple Suspects Photo by David Odisho/Getty Images

April 3 shootout in downtown Sacramento that left six people dead was a result of treating criminals like victims, said Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones.

In February, Smiley Martin, 27, was released from prison after serving less than half of a 10-year sentence. He was jailed for punching and whipping his girlfriend with a belt while she was hiding in her closet. He was released from jail despite pleas from the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office that he "should not be released as he poses a significant, unreasonable risk of safety to the community." Weeks later, he and his brother, Dandrae Martin, were allegedly involved in the April 3 gang shootout. The mass shooting also left a dozen people injured.

Jones told Fox News that the tragedy is just the latest example of what happens when society fails to punish repeat violent offenders. Jones shared that the best predictor of future behavior is past conduct, and that violent people are "going to be violent when they get out, and that's what we've seen here." He noted that every crime has a "victim and these victims are racking up, sometimes minorly and sometimes catastrophically, like we saw in Sacramento."

According to him, this is the latest, but it "unfortunately won't be the last" because if "we don't change the way California and the rest of this nation treats criminals then this is only going to be a continuing trend."

Smiley has a lengthy criminal history. Before the 2017 arrest and subsequent conviction for assaulting his girlfriend, he was arrested in January 2013. The arrest was for being in possession of an assault rifle and two fully loaded 25-round magazines that he tried to discard when cops made contact with him. In that case, a judge sentenced him to probation and county jail. In November 2013, he and three other suspects entered a Walmart and robbed electronics worth $2,800 from the store.

Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Danielle Abildgaard wrote in a letter opposing his release last year that Smiley has "demonstrated repeatedly that he cannot follow the laws, or conditions the court places on him." The lawyer added that Smiley's "history indicates that he will pursue his own personal agenda regardless of the consequences and regulatory restraints placed upon him."

After being awarded 508 days of credits for time he spent in Sacramento County jail, and other post-sentencing credits under proposition 57, he was released early from jail in February. Proposition 57 is a law that California voters passed in 2016 to give "non-violent" felons an opportunity to shave time off their jail sentence.

Citing laws like proposition 57, Jones said that Americans now have a collective amnesia about the tough-on-crime policies that reduced crime in the last few decades, according to Yahoo!

Sacramento shooting site
Police work the scene on the corner of 9th and K street after a shooting that occurred in the early morning hours on April 3, 2022 in Sacramento, California. Six people were killed and at least 10 were injured in the mass shooting in downtown Sacramento with no suspects in custody. Photo by David Odisho/Getty Images

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