Rancho Tehama school officials responded within '15 seconds' of shooting

18 November, 2017, 00:40 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Rancho Tehama school officials responded within '15 seconds' of shooting

The gunman who left four dead after a rampage in Northern California Tuesday had attempted to enter an elementary school during his killing spree - but was prevented because the school was on lockdown.

The shooter drove away and continued his carnage before dying in a shootout with police.

At the school, witnesses say that the gunman shot through classroom windows at Rancho Tehama Elementary School injuring a young boy who was struck in "the foot and chest", according to KRCR.

"The suspect was actually shooting at the police vehicle, back at them, the officer rammed the vehicle, forced it off the road, an exchange of gunfire - resulting in the shooter's death", said Johnston.

The Rancho Tehama Sheriff said that the staff at the school placed the building on lockdown after hearing "a series of gunshots about a quarter mile away". Handguns police recovered were not registered to him, Johnston said.

"This guy was bent on ... driving by residences and arbitrarily shooting at them", Johnston said.

"I have the right to bear arms, and I will protect my son if I have to", she said.

"Our teacher told us to go under our desk and keep flat in case he comes inside", Arianna said. But when he could not get inside, he appeared frustrated and moved on, Johnston said. "We don't have a crystal ball". The rampage killed four people and wounded 10 more.

"My mom spent a great deal of her time and almost all her energy trying so hard to placate him", said Sheridan Orr, who was with her distraught mother in North Carolina. Neal's mother said the neighbor was slightly cut after Neal grabbed a steak knife out of the hand of the neighbor who was threatening him with it.


"When I get there, the dude was shooting through the windows", he told the Sacramento TV station. She said she posted his $160,000 bail and spent $10,000 on a lawyer after he was arrested in January for stabbing a neighbor.

She wept as she told The Associated Press she spoke to Neal on the phone on Monday.

She said Neal apologized to her during their brief conversation, she thought for all the money she had spent on him, saying he was "on a cliff" and the people around him were trying to "execute" him.

One student was in fair condition after being wounded by gunfire, the school district said.

"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.

A restraining order in an unspecified case prohibited Neal from possessing firearms, but it is not known whether he turned them in, Johnston said.

Neal was killed in a shootout with sheriff's deputies roughly 45 minutes after the shooting began. Minutes later, more calls reporting shots flooded in from different locations, including the school.

"I know that we have medevacked (airlifted) a number of students, I know that the school has been cleared, I know that we have the children that were attending school in a safe location at this time", Johnston, of the Tehama County Sheriff's Office told reporters. No children were killed in the shootings, which took place about 130 miles north of Sacramento.

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