While the details surrounding the players involved in the Old Sacramento New Year’s Eve shooting continue to emerge, what has been released so far, when collated, provides an interesting and tragic narrative of lives on a collision-course with violence. Through previously published stories, public records, and information volunteered via social media by the suspects themselves, the following timeline can be materialized.
A then 16-year-old Charles Wesley Fowler-Scholz is arrested and charged with 13 felonies for a string of robberies. He enters a plea of not guilty on all counts, but a jury convicts him on 11 of them. Fowler-Scholz is sentenced in May of 1996 to six years in state prison.
1999 – 2007
Fowler-Scholz is arrested in Sacramento County four more times on a variety of felony and misdemeanor charges. He takes a plea bargain in each case which reduces the serious offences to lower charges, thus avoiding a potential “third-strike” situation.
A handgun is reported stolen in a county outside Sacramento. It eventually comes to be possessed by Carlito Montoya, and will be on his person during the New Year’s Eve shooting.
Montoya, reportedly on the advice of his mother, moves from Oakland to Sacramento. She tells the Sacramento Bee that she wanted him to move in order to avoid joining an Oakland street gang.
Montoya updates his Facebook profile picture to a hand-drawn cartoon depicting two men riding in a red convertible with guns drawn and cash strewn about. A sign in the background reads “Welcome to Oakland”. Three Facebook users “like” the picture, including the account belonging to Montoya’s mother.
35-year-old Gabriel Cordova plans to have a family barbecue, but not before taking his wife, 30-year-old Christina Cordova, to the 9 p.m. Old Sacramento fireworks show. 36-year-old Daniel Ferrier, an U.S. Army vet and fitness trainer who moonlights as a bar bouncer, is called to work at the Sports Corner Cafe after another bouncer is involved in a car accident and can’t make it to work.
At some point that evening, 36-year-old Amber Scholz, her husband Charles, and Carlito Montoya enter the Sports Corner Cafe where their paths will cross with Ferrier and the Cordova’s.
According to sources who have viewed video surveillance footage from inside the Sports Corner Cafe, the following occurs:
…the episode was launched by a spilled beer: In the video … Amber Scholz can be seen leaving the bar to use the restroom. Upon her return … Gabriel Cordova, standing with his back to her, appears to bump her by accident with an outstretched hand. The sources said Cordova appears to spill a small amount of the beer he was holding onto Scholz’s sweat shirt.
Scholz then confronts Cordova, who on the video appears to be trying to explain it was an accident… She returns to the bar, where she points out Cordova to her husband and Montoya, and at that point … Fowler-Scholz walks over to Cordova and hits him in the head with a beer bottle.
… Ferrier, who worked security at the bar, can be seen attempting to intervene. Montoya walks over and shoots him three times in the face … then turns toward Cordova, who by then was on his back on the barroom floor fighting with Fowler-Scholz. The video shows Montoya reaching around Fowler-Scholz and shooting Cordova once …
At this point another bouncer, later identified as 46-year-old Stephen Walton, shoots Montoya, and is also shot by Montoya. He then attempts to flee the scene but is immediately arrested on the street. Panic breaks out amongst the people in Old Sacramento, still waiting for the midnight firework display. A wide area around the bar is roped off while police begin their investigation. Gabriel Cordova and Daniel Ferrier are dead. Christina Cordova has been shot in the foot. Walton and Montoya are both suffering from even more serious gunshot wounds. Officials decide to cancel the midnight fireworks since all the police on the scene have shifted their focus from working security to securing a homicide crime scene.
January 1, 2013
Shortly after 8:00 a.m., the crew who setup the fireworks display detonates the ordinances that were meant to be used for the midnight show, citing safety concerns. No advance notice is made, and residents in the surrounding area are awoken and surprised by the impromptu daytime show.
Amber Scholz and Charles Fowler-Scholz are arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. They are held on $1 million bail and are considered a flight-risk if released.
Carilto Montoya recovers enough from his wounds to be transported to the Sacramento County Main Jail. His is booked on several counts, including two for murder.
A memorial is held for Daniel Ferrier. Over 250 people attend.
The three suspects in this case face their arraignment. Prosecutors add a special-circumstances charge to Montoya, making him eligible for the death penalty. Charles Fowler-Scholz receives a “three-strikes” amendment, meaning if convinced he faces a possible life sentence.
Gabriel Cordova is scheduled to be laid to rest at the Black Cooper Sander Funeral Home in Hollister, California.