Maniac dead in gunfight with police after terrorizing California town, killing 4 and trying to invade school
A madman armed with an assault rifle rained death onto a small Northern California community Tuesday, killing four and wounding at least 10, including two children, during a shooting spree that ended shortly after he opened fire on an elementary school, authorities said.
The gunman, Kevin Neal, 43, began his rampage near his home in Rancho Tehama Reserve at about 7:50 a.m.
Behind the wheel of a stolen truck, and armed with a semiautomatic rifle and two handguns, Neal terrorized the tiny hamlet with a population 1,485 for 45 minutes.
At the Rancho Tehama Elementary School, he wounded two boys, including 6-year-old Alejandro Hernandez, who was hit in the chest and foot, according to a GoFundMe page for the student.
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Alejandro was sched uled to undergo surgery Tuesday night to remove the bullets, a family member told the Sacramento Bee. Heâs expected to survive.
âHis family needs prayers and support at this time and any donation and prayers are appreciated,â the GoFundMe page says.
Another boy in a car that was headed to the school was also wounded by Neal, police said. The boyâs mother, who was driving, wa s severely hurt, authorities said.
Nealâs town-and-school assault came nearly five years after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 children and six adult staffers dead, and nine days after a madman killed 26 worshipers and wounded 20 others when he opened fire inside the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas.
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Just last month, a gunman in Las Vegas killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more when he shot up a country music festival.
As for the latest carnage, authorities were investigating how Neal selected the victims.
Hours after the shooting, Nealâs mother said her son was upset with frequent feuds with his neighbor.
âItâs all over now,â he told his mom on Monday. âIâm on a cliff and thereâs nowhere to go,â he said to his mother â" who spoke to The Associated Press from her home in Raleigh, N.C.
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On Tuesday, Neal, wearing a military-style assault vest that can store large amounts of ammunition, began his rampage near his home on Bobcat Lane, according to Tehama County Deputy Sheriff Phil Johnston.
There, he killed his roommate, according to the Record Searchlight newspaper.
Before the shooting, Neal was facing an assault with a deadly weapon charge for knifing a neighbor in January, according to authorities.
His mother said she posted his bail after that arrest.
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That unnamed victim, a woman who lived near Neal, was one of those killed Tuesday, said Johnston.
Following those shootings, Neal stole a white pickup truck owned by one of the victims and drove toward the school, Johnston said.
As Neal headed for the school about two miles from his home, he fired â" apparently at random.
âThis is an individual that armed himself, I think with the motive of getting even with his neighbors,â Johnston said. âAnd when it got that far, (he) went on a rampage.â
âMost of the victims in this case appear to be random selections,â he added.
Neal set his sights on the school, ramming the stolen white truck through a gate just before 8 a.m. as moms and dads were dropping off their kids.
Witnesses said the gunman squeezed off nearly 100 rounds, shattering windows and wounding children and adults.
But when he tried get into the school, an emergency lockdown thwarted his plans and forced him to move on and into a gunfight with cops, who killed him and ended the horror show.
Nealâs sister, Sheridan Orr, 46, said her mother, Anne, spoke to her brother daily to help him work out his demons.
âHe obviously had some challenges with his neighbors. He would get wound up, and I think (his mother) spent a lot of time calming him down,â Orr said. âHe would be irrational, irate and uncontrollable, and scream and yell. It was difficult to manage him. I donât know how she put with it.â
âEverything pales to what the families and the victims have gone through today.â
She wishes Neal could have gotten the mental health care he desperately needed.
âHe had zero business with guns.â
Fresh from his trip to Asia, President Trump tweeted late Tues day night, âMay God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and Law Enforcement has arrived.â
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With Nicole HensleySend a Letter to the EditorSource: Google News