Mother of 3 daughters killed by father fears for their safety
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A mother of three children who were killed by their father at a Sacramento church had sought a restraining order out of fear for their safety, court documents show.
David Mora, 39, also fatally shot a male chaperone who was overseeing a visitation with his daughters on Monday afternoon before killing himself at the church in Sacramento, a nondenominational Christian place of worship, officials said Tuesday.
Mora lived at the church, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sgt. Rod Grassmann told KXTV-TV.
Mora’s girlfriend had been with him for around 15 years, but she filed for a domestic violence restraining order against him last April, describing him in court documents as jealous and mentally unstable.
“He threatened to kill me if he caught me cheating… He suffocated me in the past,” the filing reads.
Mora ‘said he didn’t kill me because he wouldn’t know where to go with the kids,’ says the woman, whose name has been withheld from The Associated Press because she was abused .
The woman also said she was hospitalized for a week in April after “expressing a desire to take her own life”.
Mora, who was also identified as David Fidel Mora Rojas in court documents, was taken into custody for a mental health evaluation last April 17, and nine days later a temporary restraining order was granted . He prohibited him from owning a firearm or ammunition, and investigators were trying to find out how he got the gun.
A five-year restraining order was imposed on May 19. It stipulated that Mora would only have supervised visitation with her daughters for up to four hours a week with a mutually agreed upon chaperone. He also had to take anger management classes.
Authorities have identified Nathaniel Kong as the visit’s chaperone. Kong, 59, was shot dead in church with the three girls, aged 13, 10 and 9. Business records show that Kong had been an executive in the church. Court records show he served Mora with the May restraining order.
Sandi Davis said she was taking her dog outside when she heard a gunshot. She immediately let go of the leash and dropped to the ground for protection.
“Our church body is devastated and heartbroken by this senseless tragedy and we ask for continued prayer for the victims, their families and our community of faith as we grapple with this unexpected loss and trust in the Lord for His strength in our sorrow,” a statement from the church mentioned.
The girls attended schools in the Natomas Unified School District in northwest Sacramento. Counselors and chaplains were present at schools on Tuesday to provide support.
“There are very few words that can bring comfort to this unspeakable tragedy at this time,” the school district said in a statement.
On Tuesday morning, a small memorial with flowers, balloons, stuffed animals, a candle and a piece of paper that read “Prayers for Peace, May Your Souls Rest” was set up outside the ‘church.
Faith Whitmore, executive director of the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center which provides services for victims of domestic violence, said the girls’ mother sought help through the agency last April. A case manager and a lawyer worked with her to get the restraining order.
“She came, she needed crisis intervention, she needed resources, she needed help,” said Whitmore, who has not worked directly with the woman.
Whitmore said their organization will now be pushing for their other clients to have professionally supervised visits, and they plan to seek funds to cover the costs.
Just days before the murders, Mora was arrested in Merced County, south of Sacramento. He was taken into custody for resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer and driving under the influence after assaulting a California Highway Patrol officer.
“He was drunk and while they were arresting him – or trying to – he decided he wanted to fight and ended up with felony charges because he assaulted a CHP officer, causing injuries,” said Deputy Daryl Allen, spokesman for the Merced County Sheriff’s Office. , told The Sacramento Bee.
Dazio reported from Los Angeles.
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