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California shootings; gunman tried to enter school, 4 confirmed dead (Video)

Shooter armed with a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns.

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California shootings: Another heartbreaking shooting in the United States, this time, Rancho Tehama, California.

A gunman killed four people in a remote Northern California community on Tuesday morning, but a much bigger death toll was averted when the killer was unable to break into an elementary school. At least 10 other people were wounded, including two children at Rancho Tehama elementary school, near the small town of Corning about 160 kilometres north of Sacramento, where the suspect was later shot dead by police.

The staff at tiny Rancho Tehama Elementary School west of Corning moved quickly when they heard gunfire nearby just before classes were set to begin, Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said.
Doors were locked and students dashed inside and hit the floors underneath desks and tables.
The shooter, who was killed by police at another site, rammed a stolen pickup through the school’s locked gate, walked into the schoolyard, and fired his rifle through windows and walls.
He tried doors but the buildings at the Rancho Tehama elementary school were secure. Only an outside bathroom was open, but the gunman found no one there.
After about six minutes, he left, apparently frustrated.
The school district said a student was wounded by gunfire and was in stable condition. Others were hurt by flying glass.

Vice-President Mike Pence said on Twitter “Deeply saddened to hear of the shooting in Northern California, the loss of life, including innocent children,” US”We commend the effort of courageous law enforcement. We’ll continue to monitor the situation & provide federal support, as we pray for comfort & healing for all impacted.”

‘Who is the shooter’

The Sacramento Bee newspaper, citing multiple law enforcement officials, later identified the suspect as 43-year-old Kevin Janson Neal, a local resident who had been arrested in February in connection with a stabbing.

The local Redding Record Searchlight newspaper reported that the shooting began when the gunman opened fire at a home and some six other locations shortly after 8:00am local time.

“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,” Johnston said, applauding the quick thinking of the school staff.

The gunfire that triggered the alert at the school came when the shooter fired from his vehicle into others while on his way to the school, about 2 miles from his home.
The gunman’s precise motives were unclear, but a dispute with a neighbor who was found dead Tuesday may have sparked the rampage in which there were seven shooting scenes.
“This is an individual who armed himself, I think with the motive of getting even with his neighbors and when it went that far (that someone was killed) he just went on a rampage,” Johnston said.
The killer apparently chose most of his victims at random, sometimes firing at passing motorists, homes and also gunning down someone after he purposely crashed into another car.
At least 10 people were wounded or hurt in the string of shootings in Rancho Tehama, about 125 northwest of Sacramento.
The gunman had a tactical vest with extra magazines for his guns, Johnston said, who viewed surveillance video of the shooting.
The wounded victims from the spree included a mother who was driving her children to school when the attacker opened fire on them “without provocation or warning,” the assistant sheriff said.
The woman was being treated for life-threatening injuries. A child who was in the vehicle was not seriously wounded, according to Johnston.
A visibly shaken Johnston told reporters earlier: “This is a sad day for us here in Tehama County.”

Mother of student raced back to school to warn others

One parent, Coy Ferreira, said he was dropping off his daughter at the elementary school when he heard gunfire.

“One of the teachers came running out of the building and told us to all run inside because there was a shooter coming,” Mr Ferreira told a local television station.

He said he heard gunfire for over 20 minutes and that a student in the room was struck.

Local resident Brian Flint told local media his neighbour was the shooter, and had stolen his truck.

“The crazy thing is that the neighbour has been shooting a lot of bullets lately, hundreds of rounds, large magazines,” Mr Flint said.

Four guns located

A semi-automatic rifle and two handguns believed to be used by the gunman have been recovered, according to Johnston. There is another gun that police have yet to recover in one of the stolen vehicles.
Johnston complimented the officers who stopped the gunman.
“I have to tell you I am personally grateful to the men who engaged this suspect,” Johnston said.
“It’s a tragic event, but I am personally grateful for engaging such a terrible … a mass murderer really. That’s what he is.”
The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and California Highway Patrol have joined the investigation.
It was unclear whether the gunman went to the school looking for someone he knew.
“We have not connected him with any one person in the school,” Johnston said.
Some students were transported to hospitals by helicopter, and others were moved to a safe location in a school bus, the assistant sheriff said. The children were later reunited with their parents.
Three children and an adult were being treated at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, officials said. Their conditions were not available.

Vice president and governor send condolences

Gov. Jerry Brown and wife Anne were “saddened to hear about today’s violence in Tehama County, which shockingly involved schoolchildren,” the governor said in a statement. “We offer our condolences to the families who lost loved ones and unite with all Californians in grief.”
On Twitter, Vice President Mike Pence wrote: “Saddened to hear of the shooting in N. California, the loss of life & injuries, including innocent children. We commend the effort of courageous law enforcement. We’ll continue to monitor the situation & provide federal support, as we pray for comfort & healing for all impacted.”

Culled From: CNN, Fox News, abc.net

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