A gunman drives stolen cars and choosing his targets randomly “without provocation” in a small rural town in Northern California, killing four people and wounding at least 10 others, including an elementary school student, before police shot him. Authorities said.
Tihama County media reported that Kevin Janson Neil, 43, was the suspected shooting. Here is an old seizure photo of him accused of assault with a lethal weapon.
Tuhama County Sheriff’s Assistant, Phil Johnston, said the rampage began just before 8 a.m. when the gunman shot his neighbor who was accused of stabbing him in January.
Shortly thereafter, the gunman stormed the gate of Rancho Tihama Elementary School about two miles away and spent about six minutes shooting at the building, beating at least one student.
The authorities said that a surveillance video showed the gunman, who has not been identified, as he tried unsuccessfully to enter the school.
Johnston said the school officials’ quick decision to close doors after hearing the gunfire was “enormous” in saving countless children’s lives. No one was killed there.
Johnston said the gunman left the school after he was unable to enter, intentionally crashing the stolen truck he was driving in another vehicle and shooting its occupants.
The shooter stole the car of a person who stopped to check on the accident and fled when confronted with a pistol. Johnston said he continued the rampage until the police shot him about 45 minutes after it began.
“This guy was very, very intent on completing what he was planning to do,” said the assistant mayor.
The shootings occurred in the rural community of Rancho Tehama Preserve, an association of homeowners of humble homes and trailers in rolling cattle-infested oak forests about 130 miles north of Sacramento.
Police provided no immediate information on the attacker’s motives, but a sheriff official said that the shooter’s neighbors had reported a domestic violence incident the day before. The officials did not specify who was involved or what happened.
Brian Flint told Redding’s Record Searchlight that his neighbor, who only knows him as Kevin, was the gunman and that his roommate was among the victims. He said the shooter stole his truck.
“The crazy thing is that the neighbor shot a lot of bullets lately, hundreds of shots, big magazines,” said Flint. We made her realize that this guy was crazy and that he was threatening us. “
Johnston said officials had received multiple calls to 911 about shooting at the intersection of two dirt roads in the upper reaches of the sparsely populated neighborhood. Minutes later, more calls reporting footage poured in from various locations, including a small elementary school.
“It was clear in the beginning that we had an individual who was choosing targets at random,” Johnston said.
Eyewitnesses reported that they heard gunshots and children screaming in the school, which houses one class of kindergarten through fifth grade students.
Johnston said the student who shot the school was taken by helicopter to the hospital and another student was injured in a car on the way to the school.
He said that the authorities believe they know the identity of the shooter but have refused to reveal his name pending further investigation. Authorities said he appeared to have fired a semi-automatic rifle and two pistols at seven locations.
Salvador Tello said the gunman shot a truck in front of him while he was going to drive his three children to school. Tello said he was three blocks from the school when the bullets made “big holes” in the truck.
He said he forced his children to crouch, collided with his vehicle backwards and drove to the children’s grandmother’s house.
He said, “I put my children down, put my truck back and got out.” “I don’t believe it, because I get up, take my kids, feed them the pills and put them in the truck and say, let’s go to school like a normal day.”
On the way, he said he saw an apparent gunshot victim and police are elsewhere.
Rural Zoning has been described on its website as a “quiet private rural community” where “people are friendly, pace is relaxed”. The Homeowners Association website says there are 2016 land parcels in the community and 1,346 voting members.
“It’s very quiet,” said Vince Brough, a 14-year-old who lives one mile from school but has been away from his home for more than three hours.
Before the law enforcement campaign, marijuana cultivation had been prevalent in the isolated area for several years, and it seemed to attract some crime, but “nothing is that dangerous,” Brough said.
A woman at the nearby café called Coffee Addiction, about a mile from the school, told me that she heard the shooting and immediately recognized the shooting with automatic rifles.