A shooting rampage at a California elementary school that left five people dead could have been worse if it hadn’t been for some quick thinking by local officials.
Teachers at the Rancho Tehama Elementary School locked the school doors and had students hide under desks when Kevin Janson Neal approached the building. The gunman was unable to enter the school because the doors were locked, the L.A. Times reported.
Earlier that morning, Neal had killed four people in a nearby community, reportedly over a dispute with neighbors.
He then drove over to the school, rammed his truck through the property gates, and started randomly spraying bullets everywhere.
That’s when local police officers jumped into action. Neal was eventually shot dead during a fierce gun battle with police.
Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said he believed the gunman’s motive was revenge. “I think the motive of getting even with his neighbors, and when it went that far — he just went on a rampage,” Johnston said.
Johnston praised local police for neutralizing the gunman. “I have to tell you I am personally grateful to the men who engaged this suspect,” he said.
Authorities recovered two handguns and a semiautomatic rifle from the crime scene. Five people including the gunman were killed, and 10 others were wounded. No children were among the dead.
Kevin Janson Neal had a history of violence. In January 2017, he was charged with second-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, and misdemeanor battery amid an ongoing dispute with a neighbor. His sister told authorities Neal was mentally unstable.
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