A madman armed with an assault rifle rained death onto a small Northern California community Tuesday, killing four and wounding at least 10, including two children, during a shooting spree that ended shortly after he opened fire on an elementary school, authorities said.
The gunman, Kevin Neal, 43, began his rampage near his home in Rancho Tehama Reserve at about 7:50 a.m.
Behind the wheel of a stolen truck, and armed with a semiautomatic rifle and two handguns, Neal terrorized the tiny hamlet with a population 1,485 for 45 minutes.
At the Rancho Tehama Elementary School, he wounded two boys, including 6-year-old Alejandro Hernandez, who was hit in the chest and foot, according to a GoFundMe page for the student.
Hernandez was scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday night to remove the bullets, a family member told the Sacramento Bee. He’s expected to survive.
FBI agents are seen behind yellow crime scene tape outside Rancho Tehama Elementary School after a shooting in the morning on Nov. 14, 2017, in Rancho Tehama, Calif.
(ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images)
“His family needs prayers and support at this time and any donation and prayers are appreciated,” the GoFundMe page says.
Another boy in a car that was headed to the school was also wounded by Neal, police said. The boy’s mother, who was driving, was severely hurt, authorities said.
Neal’s town-and-school assault came nearly five years after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 children and six adult staffers dead, and nine days after a madman killed 26 worshipers and wounded 20 others when he opened fire inside the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Just last month, a gunman in Las Vegas killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more when shot up a country music festival.
Kevin Neal has been identified as the gunman in the Tehama, Calif., shooting.
As for the latest carnage, authorities were investigating how Neal selected the victims.
Hours after the shooting, Neal’s mother said her son was upset with frequent feuds with his neighbor.
“It’s all over now,” he told his mom on Monday.
“I’m on a cliff and there’s nowhere to go,” he said to his mother — who spoke to The Associated Press from her home in Raleigh, N.C.
Investigators view a truck involved in a deadly shooting at the Rancho Tehama Reserve, near Corning, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.
On Tuesday, Neal, wearing a military-style assault vest that can store large amounts of ammunition, began his rampage near his home on Bobcat Lane, according to Tehama County Deputy Sheriff Phil Johnston.
There, he killed his roommate, according to the Record Searchlight newspaper.
Before the shooting, Neal was facing an assault with a deadly weapon charge for knifing a neighbor in January, according to authorities.
His mother said she posted his bail after that arrest.
Three people were killed on Nov.14, 2017 in Tehama County, Calif., in a shooting that started in a home and moved to an elementary school.
That unnamed victim, a woman who lived near Neal, was one of the fatalities Tuesday, said Johnston.
Following those shootings, Neal stole a white pickup truck owned by one of the victims and drove toward the school, Johnston said.
As Neal headed for the school about two miles from his home, he fired — apparently at random.
“This is an individual that armed himself, I think with the motive of getting even with his neighbors,” Johnston said. “And when it got that far, (he) went on a rampage.”
Residents and emergency personnel work at the scene of the mass shooting at Rancho Tehama near Red Bluff, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.
“Most of the victims in this case appear to be random selections,” he added.
Neal set his sights on the school, ramming the stolen truck through a gate just before 8 a.m. as moms and dads were dropping off their kids.
Witnesses said the gunman squeezed off nearly 100 rounds, shattering windows and wounding children and adults.
But when he tried get into the school, an emergency lockdown thwarted his plans and forced him to move on and into a gunfight with cops, who killed him and ended the horror show.
The shooter was killed by local authorities.
“He became frustrated at not being able to get into the classroom,” Johnston said. “He went mobile again.”
Witnesses at the school said they were confused by the commotion.
“I thought there was a car accident,” Stephanie Turner, who was dropping of her two children, told the Sacramento Bee. “I pulled into the school and heard gunshots. I told my kids to get down onto the floor. Then I saw a guy in the back of the school with a rifle. As soon as he saw us, he started shooting at us. I just took off.”