Horror stuck once again on Tuesday, November 14th as a gunman killed four people and injured ten more in Tehama, California. Despite the casualties, a greater death toll was averted when the killer, Kevin Neal, was unable to break into a nearby elementary school.
“This individual shooter was bent on engaging and killing people at random. I have to say this incident, as tragic and as bad as it is, could have been so much worse,” Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said, applauding the quick thinking of the school staff.
Neal crashed through the school’s gates with his truck and opened fire, spraying walls and windows with a series of bullets. The staff of Rancho Tehama Elementary School moved quickly at the sound of the first rife shots. The building was secured and students dashed inside and hit the floors underneath desks. The shooter tried to enter, but doors were locked.
The rampage began in a dispute between the gunman and his neighbors before 8 am –resulting in their deaths. Johnson believes the event sparked the violence which propelled Neal to terrorize the school. “I think the motive of getting even with his neighbors and when it went that far — he just went on a rampage,” Johnston speculates.
In between the two locations, authorities said the gunman drove down the street firing at random houses and cars and even shot at a mother taking her son to school who drove past him.”She was transporting her children to school, driving down the road, passed by the [gunman’s] vehicle and he opened fire on them without provocation or warning,” Johnston said.
The shooting ended with a 45 minute attack through Rancho Tehama–an officer ramming the vehicle, exchanging gunfire, and resulting in the gunman’s death.
Despite the fatalities and frequent pleas for gun control around the country, people in Tehama county have spoken in favor of the right to bear arms.
Local, Tiffany Rodgers states, “I just want to make sure this town doesn’t get a bad name. Such a beautiful, remote community and this happens everywhere,” she said. “And I’m really hoping they don’t go for the gun violence portion of this, either, because it’s not a gun. I own guns. I take my kids shooting. It’s the person. And sometimes just bad things happen.
“It’s not the gun, it’s not mental illness. It’s not anything, it’s just life, unfortunately.”