Five people are dead and 10 others were left wounded, including two children, in a shooting spree that rocked a small Northern California community on Tuesday, officials there say.
The death toll would likely have been much higher, and included many children, Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said, but officials at Rancho Tehama School immediately placed the school on lockdown after hearing shots fired.
One of the victims was a female neighbor of the alleged gunman, Johnston said, who had taken out a restraining order against him following accusations of assault.
Johnston told reporters the shooting started shortly after 8 a.m. local time in Rancho Tehama Reserve, Calif., a small rural community about 130 miles north of Sacramento.
Johnston initially said there were multiple shots fired at an area home, and that it “evolved to multiple shots and multiple victims” at the school. Johnston said that the shootings ended at the school, and that the suspected shooter was eventually killed by police. He later said that gunman fled and continued his rampage on the streets of Rancho Tehama before he was killed. Authorities recovered a semiautomatic rifle and two handguns they believe the gunman used in the shootings.
A nearby coffee shop owner told KRCR-TV she heard as many as 100 shots fired outside the school.
Jeanine Quist, an administrative assistant with the Corning Union Elementary School District, told the Associated Press that no one was killed at the school but that a “number” of students were shot and wounded.
Cory Ferreira told KRCR he was dropping his daughter off for kindergarten at the school when he “heard what sounded like a firecracker.” A school employee ran out, Ferreira said, and yelled for the children to get inside. Ferreira said he ran into a classroom, where gunfire came through the windows, hitting one student. A student in an adjacent room was also struck, he said.
At least two children were wounded and transported from the school, Johnston said, including one via helicopter. The rest of the children were safely evacuated from the school.
About 100 law enforcement officers responded to “at least seven” crime scenes, the deputy said, adding that the California Highway Patrol and FBI are assisting local police in the investigation.
“It’s a very sad day for us in Tehama County,” Johnston said, breaking into tears.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., tweeted that she was “heartbroken” over the news.
Vice President Mike Pence said the White House was aware of the shootings and monitoring the situation.
A resident, Brian Flint, told KCRA-TV that the suspected gunman stole his truck after killing his roommate.
Flint said he and his roommate lived near the suspect, who he only knew as Kevin.
“The crazy thing is that the neighbor has been shooting a lot of bullets lately — hundreds of rounds, large magazines,” Flint said. “This guy has been crazy, and he’s been threatening us and everything. I just feel like there maybe should have been more effort put into stopping things like this.”
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