Police in Northern California say the gunman in a deadly shooting rampage was feuding with his neighbors. They were his first victims. He targeted seven locations in the rural community of Rancho Tehama, including an elementary school that went on lockdown before he came in.
Four people were killed in the assault that lasted 45 minutes and 10 more were injured, including at least one young student. Police killed the suspected shooter, Kevin Janson Neal.
They say he chose random targets and stole two vehicles during the rampage. Officers recovered one semi- automatic rifle and two handguns. One of the stolen vehicles, a white truck with bullet holes in the windshield, was removed from the area Tuesday night, reports CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas.
Neal was known to authorities and had at least one prior arrest. His neighbors had complained he had fired multiple rounds for days before this rampage that ended up at this elementary school.
Armed with at least three guns and a ballistic vest, the shooter began his rampage just before 8:00 a.m., killing two of his neighbors. He then stole their truck, and began driving toward a nearby elementary school – shooting randomly at people along the way.
Sarah Gonzales had just dropped off her daughter, when the gunman blocked her car.
“He pretty much stopped me and shot at me three times through his windshield,” Gonzales said.
When he stopped firing, she says he continued toward the school. School officials heard gunshots and made a critical decision to lock it down.
“The quick action of those school officials. There is no doubt in my mind, saved countless lives,” said Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston.
The gunman tried to enter the school, but couldn’t get in. He fired about 30 rounds in six minutes before he took off.
“He did shoot at a number of classrooms which resulted in the injury of at least one or two students that I’m aware of,” the sheriff said.
A short time later, a patrol car rammed the suspect’s vehicle. Officers then opened fire and killed him.
“He’s a bad guy and I’m not going to glorify him in any manner whatsoever. He attacked my school,” Johnston said.
Officials are still trying to learn about the shooter’s past, including an alleged assault earlier this year against one of the neighbors he killed Tuesday. The motive for the shooting is still unclear.