Sac City College mourns shooting


A Sacramento City College counselor and a community chaplain counsel a student grieving on Sept. 4, over the fatal shooting on the campus the day before. Counselors and Chaplains were made available to students, faculty and staff from 9 to 2 p.m. Friday, 8:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday and 9 to 6 p.m. Tuesday. (Photo by Barbara Harvey)

John Ferrannini and Barbara Harvey

By Barbara Harvey and John Ferrannini

As students, faculty and staff at Sacramento City College came together to mourn, new information has come to light about the victim of Thursday’s fatal shooting on campus.

Roman P. Gonzalez, 25, was a first-year SCC student, but had previous run-ins with the law, according to the Sacramento Bee.

According to the Bee, Gonzalez pleaded no contest to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon in 2006 and served six months of a two year sentence. He was taken into police custody twice after his release on parole.

The Sacramento Police Department is investigating whether the shooting was connected with gang activity.

Police arrested SCC student Rico Ridgeway, 24, early Friday for his role in the altercation that led to the shooting. Ridgeway was transported to the hospital after the shooting with minor injuries which did not require treatment.

Ridgeway, who was held on a parole violation, was seen in a video of the incident trying to give CPR to Gonzalez as he lay on the ground moments after the shooting.

The suspected shooter, described by police as a male, Tongan, wearing a white shirt and cargo shorts, had not been apprehended by police as of Friday evening.

Police said that Gonzalez and Ridgeway were involved in an altercation with two other men in a faculty parking lot. Ridgeway allegedly stabbed an SCC student, who was taken to the hospital but is expected to survive.

Then a fourth man shot Gonzalez and Ridgeway, killing Gonzalez and wounding Ridgeway.

A memorial had been erected at the spot in the staff and faculty parking lot where Gonzalez was shot.

“RIP Flaks,” was spelled out in tea candles and surrounded by flowers, balloons and empty bottles of Hennessy. “Flaks” was Gonzalez’s nickname. Family and friends were gathered around the memorial Friday morning, but declined to comment.

Students were invited to an open counseling session with Los Rios counselors and police chaplains on Friday from 9–2. Others attended a “love in” at the nearby quad—an event organized by Supervisor of Admissions and Records Kim Goff as a way for the Sacramento City College community to come together and process their emotions.

“It was a traumatic event and we have a history of coming together after something happens that is either really good or really bad,” Goff said. “So, it just seemed like the right thing to do.”

Goff noted that the community was still very much in mourning the day after the shooting.

“People are sad. People are really sad. You know, someone lost his life. These things, it’s one of those things where, ‘Oh, it always happens somewhere else.’ Now it’s happened here. And we need to deal with it and move forward together.”

Student services employee John Cornejo taped posters around campus with encouraging messages like “Times like this bring us together” and “Panther family.” Cornejo said that the mood on campus the day after the shooting was “somber.”

“A lot of students aren’t showing up because what happened,” said Cornejo. “You don’t expect that to happen here.”

Los Rios Chancellor Brian King described the shooting as a “nightmare.”

“It’s your worst nightmare to find out that something has happened to one of our students on one of our campuses,” said King.

King reiterated, however, that he is proud of how the SCC dealt with the shooting.

“I’m proud of the response from our police force, and also from Sacramento police and fire and from our faculty and staff,” said King. “Many people here who didn’t know how great their risk was, put themselves in harm’s way to help students and others get to the right place.”