Gun­man kills 4 at ran­dom in Cal­i­for­nia

Lock­down at el­e­men­tary school saved many lives.

Star Tribune - - NATION & WORLD - By DON THOMP­SON and PAUL ELIAS • As­so­ci­ated Press Sacra­mento San Fran­cisco 200 miles

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.

The ram­page be­gan shortly be­fore 8 a.m. when the gun­man fa­tally shot a neigh­bor he had been ac­cused of stab­bing in Jan­uary, said Te­hama County As­sis­tant Sher­iff Phil Johnston.

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.

“This man was very, very bent on com­plet­ing what he set out to do,” the as­sis­tant sher­iff said.

The shoot­ings oc­curred in the ru­ral com­mu­nity of Ran­cho Te­hama Re­serve, a home­own­ers as­so­ci­a­tion of mod­est houses and trail­ers in rolling oak wood­lands dot­ted with graz­ing cat­tle about 130 miles north of Sacra­mento.

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 give de­tails.

Brian Flint told the Red­ding Record Search­light news­pa­per that his neigh­bor, whom he knows only as Kevin, was the gun­man and that his room­mate was among the vic­tims. He said the shooter stole his truck.

“The crazy thing is that the neigh­bor has been shoot­ing a lot of bul­lets lately, hun­dreds of rounds, large mag­a­zines,” Flint said. “We made it aware that this guy is crazy, and he’s been threat­en­ing us.”

Johnston said of­fi­cials re­ceived mul­ti­ple 911 calls about gun­fire at an in­ter­sec­tion OR.

Ran­cho Te­hama Re­serve CA. ID.

NV. 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.

Wit­nesses re­ported hear­ing gun­shots and chil­dren scream­ing at the school, which has one class of stu­dents from kinder­garten through fifth grade.

Johnston said the stu­dent who was shot at the school was flown by he­li­copter to a hos­pi­tal, and an­other stu­dent was wounded in a car on the way to school.

He said au­thor­i­ties be­lieve they know the iden­tity of the shooter but de­clined to re­lease his name pend­ing fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion. He ap­pears to have fired a semi­au­to­matic ri­fle and two hand­guns at seven lo­ca­tions.

Sal­vador Tello said the gun­man fired at a truck in front of him as he went to drop off his three chil­dren at school. Tello said he was about three blocks from the school when bul­lets made “big holes” in the truck.

He said he forced his chil­dren to duck down, slammed his ve­hi­cle 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 say, ‘Let’s go to school like a nor­mal day.’ ”

RICH PE­DRON­CELLI • As­so­ci­ated Press Source: Tri­bune News Ser­vice

A gun­man opened fire out­side Ran­cho Te­hama El­e­men­tary School on Tues­day and left af­ter he could not get inside.

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