RANCHO TEHAMA: At least five people are dead – including the gunman – following a shooting spree in Northern California.
The violence erupted in Rancho Tehama Reserve, which is about 130 miles north of Sacramento. Seven people were also hospitalized in the incident, and three of them were children.
Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston told media there were reports of multiple shots fired in Rancho Tehama around 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Johnston said there were at least five different crime scenes – but just one gunman. The rampage ended on a highway with law enforcement shooting and killing the gunman.
“It’s a really sad day for us in Tehama County, really,” Johnston said.
Officials say the gunman was wearing a load bearing vest — similar to what soldiers wear to carry their ammo.
The gunfire began shortly before 8 a.m. in the community of Rancho Tehama Reserve, about 130 miles north of Sacramento. Officials say the gunman crashed a pickup struck, stole another car and then started shooting. The area is a homeowners association of modest houses and trailers in rolling oak woodlands dotted with grazing cattle, AP reports.
Three local hospitals have confirmed to CBS News they have received a total of 10 patients from the incident. It is not clear if patients were brought to other hospitals. Jeanine Quist, an administrative assistant with the Corning Union Elementary School District, says no one was killed at the Rancho Tehama Elementary School Monday morning but a “number” of students were shot and wounded.
Authorities say a gunman tried to get into rooms at the elementary school, AP reports, with the intent of shooting children but that workers initiated a lockdown that saved lives. Surveillance video shows the gunman, but hasn’t been released publicly.
Johnson says school officials heard shots being fired and immediately locked down the school and that it was “monumental” that school workers took the action they did and that it resulted in saving the lives of countless children.
Officials from the Rancho Tehama Elementary School say that the gunman crashed his vehicle through the school’s locked gate and fired dozens of shots on the campus — he shot out windows and through walls.
The school will be closed until further notice as an investigation continues and counselors will be available.
Although police offered no immediate word on the assailant’s motive, a sheriff’s official said the shooter’s neighbors had reported a domestic violence incident. About 100 law enforcement personnel are currently working at least seven crime scenes in the area, police said.
“It was very clear at the onset that we had an individual that was randomly picking targets,” Johnston said.
The gunman’s name is not being released, but he was fatally shot by two officers.
Johnston, who according to US media addressed reporters near one of the scenes, said deputies were first alerted to a shooting in Rancho Tehama Reserve before “multiple victims and multiple shots” were reported at Rancho Tehama Elementary School. Witnesses reported hearing gunshots and children screaming at the school, about five miles down a road from where the shooting is believed to have started.
“I know that we have Medevaced a number of students,” Johnston said, referring to the use of helicopters for the emergency transport of victims to hospitals.
At least one student was wounded at the school. Another child was shot while driving with a woman, who also was wounded, Johnston said.
Johnston said the school had been cleared by 10 a.m. and all other students have been brought to a safe location.
Gerardo Garcia works at a nearby convenience store and said it was like a war zone.
Salvador Tello said the gunman fired at a truck in front of him as he was dropping off his three children. Tello said he was about three blocks from the school when bullets made “big holes” in the truck in front of him.
He said he forced his children to duck down and slammed his truck into reverse and headed to the children’s grandmother’s house.
“I put my kids down and put my truck in reverse and went out,” he said. “I don’t believe it because I wake up, take my kids, feed them cereal and put them in the truck and says ‘Let’s go to school like a normal day.’”
On the way, he said, he saw an apparent gunshot victim and police at another scene.
Truck taped off, windows shot out on Rancho Tehama Road. Two ppl were in it, conditions unknown. Five different crime scenes being investigated, according to Tehama County Sheriff’s Office. pic.twitter.com/zvRq8lW5qT
— Cecile Juliette KHSL (@CecileJuliette) November 14, 2017
Resident Casey Burnett said gunman was driving around and shooting randomly from his car. pic.twitter.com/eZUdcaj1f0
— Jim Schultz (@JimSchultz_RS) November 14, 2017