Four people were killed while 10 others were wounded by a gunman who was driving stolen vehicles as he chose his targets at random. The gunman is alleged to have opened fire without provocation in a tiny rural Northern California town on Tuesday.
The unfortunate incident took place shortly before 8 a.m. 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.
Authorities are yet to issue information on the assailant's motive; however, a sheriff's official said the shooter's neighbors had reported a domestic violence incident a day earlier.
Speaking to the Record Searchlight newspaper in the city of Redding, Brian Flint, who is one of the gunman’s neighbors, identified the shooter as Kelvin, adding that he also stole his truck before going on the rampage.
"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."
Reports from Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston revealed that the 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.
Reports recorded by witnesses indicate that they heard gunshots and children screaming at Rancho Tehama Elementary School, which has one class of students from kindergarten through fifth grade.
The Assistant Sheriff also revealed that one student was shot at the school and flown by helicopter to a hospital, and another student was wounded in a car on the way to school. He said no one was killed there.
"The shooter targeted the school from outside the school and shot inside the school with multiple rounds," Johnston said.
The school managed to lock its doors, and students and staff "sheltered in place" until deputies ushered them onto a school bus and led it to safety under heavy guard. Johnston 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, authorities said.
The gunman initially stole a neighbor's truck and then carjacked a second vehicle before two deputies exchanged gunfire with him, however, no officers were injured.