School’s action saves children from California gunman
A gunman driving stolen vehicles and choosing his targets at random opened fire “without provocation” in a tiny, rural Northern California town on Tuesday, killing four people and wounding at least 10 others, including a student at an elementary school, before police shot him dead, authorities said.
The rampage began shortly before 8 a.m. when the gunman fatally shot a neighbour he had been accused of stabbing in January, Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said.
Shortly afterward, the gunman rammed through the gate of Rancho Tehama Elementary School about three kilometres away and spent about six minutes shooting into the building, striking at least one student, Mr. Johnston said. Surveillance video showed the gunman, who was not identified, trying unsuccessfully to enter the school, authorities said.
School officials’ swift decision to lock the doors after hearing gunfire was “monumental” in saving the lives of countless children, Mr. Johnston said. No one was killed there.
The gunman left the school after he could not get inside and purposely crashed the stolen truck he was driving into another vehicle and shot at its occupants, Mr. Johnston said. The shooter stole the car of a person who stopped to check on the crash and ran away when confronted with a gun.
He continued the rampage until police shot him about 45 minutes after it started, Mr. Johnston said.
The shootings occurred in the rural community of Rancho Tehama Reserve, a homeowners association of modest houses and trailers in rolling oak woodlands about 209 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 a day earlier.