Gunman in Northern California kills four
Police believe targets picked ‘randomly’
RED BLUFF, CALIF. • A gunman choosing targets at random opened fire in a rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing four people at several sites and wounding others at an elementary school before police shot him dead, authorities said.
The gunfire began around 8 a.m. in the community of Rancho Tehama Reserve, about 210 kilometres north of Sacramento.
Police offered no immediate word on the assailant’s motive, but a sheriff’s official said the shooter’s neighbours had reported a domestic violence incident.
“It was very clear at the onset that we had an individual that was randomly picking targets,” Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said.
Witnesses reported hearing gunshots and children screaming at an elementary school about eight kilometres down a road from where the shooting is believed to have started.
Several people were wounded at the school, said Jeanine Quist, an administrative assistant with the Corning Union Elementary School District.
Salvador Tello said the gunman fired at a truck in front of him as he was dropping off his three children. Tello said he was about three blocks from the school when bullets made “big holes” in the truck in front of him.
He said he forced his children to duck down and slammed his truck into reverse and headed to the children’s grandmother’s house.
“I put my kids down and put my truck in reverse and went out,” he said. “I don’t believe it because I wake up, take my kids, feed them cereal and put them in the truck and says ‘Let’s go to school like a normal day.’ ”
On the way, he said, he saw an apparent gunshot victim and police at another scene.
Details were still sketchy hours after the shootings, and authorities did not have a firm count of the wounded due to the number of places the gunman attacked, Johnston said.
Authorities recovered a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns.
Two hospitals said they were treating a total of seven gunshot victims, including at least three children. At least one student was wounded at the school. Another child was shot while driving with a woman, who also was wounded, Johnston said.
He declined to release the name of the shooter but said he was “aware” of a domestic violence incident that neighbours reported.
Brian Flint told the Record Searchlight newspaper in the city of Redding that his neighbour, who he knows only as Kevin, was the gunman and that his roommate was among the victims. He said the shooter also stole his truck.
Two women embrace outside Rancho Tehama Elementary School in Corning, Calif., where a gunman opened fire. Police had no motive for the shooting, but said the shooter’s neighbours had reported a domestic violence incident.