Gun­man picks ran­dom tar­gets, kills 4 in Calif.

The Republican Herald - - NATION/WORLD - BY DON THOMP­SON AND PAUL ELIAS

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 about 8 a.m. in the com­mu­nity of Ran­cho Te­hama Re­serve, 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.

“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 five miles 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.

The ru­ral sub­di­vi­sion is de­scribed on its web­site as a “quiet pri­vate coun­try com­mu­nity” where “the peo­ple are friendly and the pace is re­laxed.” The home­owner as­so­ci­a­tion’s web­site says there are 2,016 lots in the com­mu­nity and 1,346 vot­ing mem­bers.

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 neigh­bors re­ported.

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