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Police: California Man Killed Wife Before Tuesday Rampage


Phil Johnston, the assistant sheriff for Tehama County, Calif., displays a booking photo, from a prior arrest, of Kevin Janson Neal, during a news conference, Nov. 15, 2017, in Rancho Tehama Reserve, Calif. Neal went on a shooting spree Tuesday before being shot and killed by Tehama County sheriff's deputies.

The gunman who went on a shooting spree in Northern California began by killing his wife inside their home, raising the death toll from the attack to five.

Kevin Neal, 44, fatally shot his wife late Monday, Assistant Tehama County Sheriff Phil Johnston said at a news conference Wednesday. The next day, he went on a shooting spree that included an attack on an elementary school in Rancho Tehama Reserve, an unincorporated community. Police ultimately shot and killed him.

This Jan. 31, 2017, photo provided by the Tehama County Sheriff's Office shows Kevin Janson Neal, the gunman behind a rampage in Northern California.
This Jan. 31, 2017, photo provided by the Tehama County Sheriff's Office shows Kevin Janson Neal, the gunman behind a rampage in Northern California.

Police found the body of Neal's wife, whose name has not been released, concealed in the floor at the shooter's home.

"We believe that's probably what started this whole event," Johnston said.

The first two people Neal shot and killed were neighbors. He then stole their truck and sought victims elsewhere, seemingly at random, including an elementary school, where he was locked out.

Reports on the number of people injured ranged from eight to as high as 14. Four children at the school suffered injuries "ranging from very minor to life-threatening," Johnston said. One child remained in critical condition.

A motive for the attack was still not known, but Johnston said: "I think he had a desire to kill as many people as he could."

He praised teachers for issuing a lockdown and securing the school after hearing gunshots, adding that their actions prevented a "bloodbath."

Johnston said the gunman spent about six minutes shooting into Rancho Tehama Elementary School before driving off to continue shooting elsewhere.

He said the rampage ended when a patrol car rammed the stolen vehicle the shooter was driving and killed him in a shootout.

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