Dad Who Killed 3 Kids in Sacramento Church Had Terrorized Their Mom for Years

Merced County Sheriff’s Office
Merced County Sheriff’s Office

A California man who fatally shot his three young daughters and killed a fourth person before taking his own life during a supervised visit at a Sacramento church on Monday was legally barred from having a gun after his estranged partner got a restraining order to protect herself and the kids from him.

David Mora, 39, was instructed by a judge last May to stay at least 100 yards away from his family, including his girls, Samia, 13, Samantha, 10, and Samarah, 9. The Daily Beast is withholding the mother’s name because she was a victim of domestic abuse.

The court order, which was granted about a month after Mora was involuntarily hospitalized after threatening suicide, was to remain in force until the spring of 2026. Although it forbade Mora from having any contact whatsoever with his estranged girlfriend of 15 years, and required him to complete a course of anger management therapy, Commissioner Kimberly Parker of Sacramento Superior Court granted Mora weekly four-hour visits with the kids.

“Due to [Mora’s] mental instability, I am asking that visitation be supervised by my friend,” the girls’ mother stated in her application for the restraining order.

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Church official Nathaniel Alcon, 59, is named in the restraining order as the chaperone approved to supervise Mora and the children. He was identified by authorities as the fourth victim in the shocking quadruple murder.

Police responded to The Church in Sacramento, a non-denominational Christian house of worship, shortly after 5 p.m., when a church employee heard gunshots near the main sanctuary and called 911, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said. There, cops found Mora, Alcon, and the three girls, all shot dead.

“This is, as far as I can see, at this point a domestic-violence-related sort of incident,” Sacramento County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Rod Grassmann told reporters at a news conference, calling it “unfathomable that you could shoot a child, kill the child, moreso that it would be your own child.”

“The motive will certainly [be] under investigation,” he said. “I would have to think that who could do that would only be somebody who hates their ex more than they loved their children.”

Mora, who was living at the church under an unspecified arrangement, reportedly worked at a restaurant nearby.

The restraining order allowed Mora to see the children on weekends; it is unclear why the last—and final—visit occurred on a Monday. Investigators are now looking into how Mora obtained the weapon. The childrens’ mother was out of town at the time of the shooting and is safe, authorities said.

Mora had been verbally and physically abusive to his ex for the better part of a decade, according to the filing.

“He threatened to kill me if he ever caught me cheating,” it states. “He called me a whore and said he wanted to kill me. He has choked me in the past. [Mora] said that he has not killed me because he would not know where to go with the children.”

Before Monday’s tragic shooting, Mora’s most recent brush with the law came just last week, when he was busted by the California Highway Patrol for DUI and battery against a peace officer, according to court records. On Feb. 22, Mora was allegedly speeding in a 2013 Kia Rio when he drove off the road and got stuck in a field. Officers took him into custody on an impaired driving charge, slapping him with the additional assault charge after he allegedly struck a cop and a hospital worker.

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“The leadership of The Church in Sacramento is shocked and saddened by the tragic shooting that occurred in our church meeting hall late Monday, February 28, resulting in the deaths of five of our members, including three young girls from one of our families,” the church said in a statement posted to its website. “Our church body is devastated and heartbroken by this senseless tragedy and we ask for continued prayer for the victims, their family and our faith community as we grapple with this unexpected loss and trust the Lord for His strength in our grief.”

A family friend said Mora had long battled addiction and mental illness.

“He loved his daughters, but I think that love was too much that he didn’t want to share that love,” Oscar Maldonado told CBS Sacramento. “In his head, it makes sense. In ours, it doesn’t make sense because we wouldn’t even think of that, but that was his thought process, I think.”

A staffer at the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center, which offers support services to victims of domestic abuse, told ABC7 that a case manager and an attorney with the agency helped Mora’s ex obtain the restraining order against him. However, the employee said, a restraining order “is not a shield of armor.”

The district in which the girls attended school said it would provide counseling for students in the aftermath of Monday’s tragedy.

“There are very few words that can give comfort right now for this unspeakable tragedy,” the Natomas Unified School District said in a statement issued Tuesday. “For today and the next few days let’s focus on taking care of each other.”

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