Police Say Panhandler Shooting An Aberration


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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Both homeless advocates and the police agree – Monday’s shooting was extremely uncommon. 

"I think it’s safe to classify it as an aberration." 

Sergeant Matt Young is a spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department. 

"It’s not something that we’ve seen…at least not any time recently." 

Sister Libby Fernandez is with the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen in Sacramento. 

"Rarely have I ever seen any of our homeless guests own a gun." 

And Fernandez points out that the suspect in Monday’s shooting – 47 year old Audrey Jackson – was not a guest at Loaves and Fishes.

Jackson is accused of shooting a disabled man who refused to give her money. The victim was sitting on a bench on J Street waiting for a bus. Despite the incident, Police Sergeant Matt Young says they’re not seeing a rise in hostile behavior from panhandlers in Sacramento. But if they do? 

"We actually have an aggressive panhandling ordinance which does allow us to take enforcement action if we do see aggressive panhandling." 

Sister Libby Fernandez says she hopes the shooting incident doesn’t discourage the public from giving to needy street people. 

"Because very rarely do you have opportunities to give on any given day and so if one is willing to give someone something in need then I hope that they will continue giving and feel safe in doing that." 

The victim in Monday’s shooting is expected to recover.