Gun­man tar­gets peo­ple at ran­dom in Calif. town, kills 4

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - MILWAUKEE WISCONSIN - Don Thompson and Paul Elias

RAN­CHO TEHAMA RESERVE, Calif. – A gun­man driv­ing stolen ve­hi­cles and choos­ing his tar­gets at ran­dom opened fire “with­out provo­ca­tion” in a tiny, ru­ral North­ern Cal­i­for­nia town 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 neigh­bor 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 2 miles away and spent about six min­utes shoot­ing into the build­ing, strik­ing at least one stu­dent, 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, 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, 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, John­ston said.

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Po­lice of­fered no im­me­di­ate word on the as­sailant’s mo­tive, but a sheriff’s of­fi­cial said the shooter’s neigh­bors had re­ported a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in­ci­dent a day ear­lier. Of­fi­cials did not spec­ify who was in­volved or what hap­pened.

John­ston said of­fi­cials re­ceived mul­ti­ple 911 calls about gun­fire at an in­ter­sec­tion of two dirt roads in the up­per reaches of the sparsely pop­u­lated neigh­bor­hood. Min­utes later, more calls re­port­ing shots flooded in from dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing a small el­e­men­tary school.

“It was very clear at the on­set that we had an in­di­vid­ual that was ran­domly pick­ing tar­gets,” John­ston said.

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