Assistant sheriff says wife of gunman who went on Northern California rampage found dead in home, bringing toll to 6

Kevin Neal
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RED BLUFF, Ca. (AP) -- UPDATE:

Authorities say the wife of a gunman who went on a shooting rampage in a Northern California town was found dead inside their home.

Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston says investigators found the body of Kevin Janson Neal's wife hidden under the floor. Investigators believe the killing of his wife was the start of the rampage.

Authorities say Neal shot and killed four other people and wounded 10 others at different locations around the rural community of Rancho Tehama Reserve. Police later shot and killed him.

UPDATE:

The mother of a gunman who shot 14 people, killing four, said he called her the day before the rampage in Northern California to say he was weary of constant feuding with his neighbors and felt like he "was on a cliff and there's nowhere to go."

"Mom it's all over now," Kevin Neal's weeping mother told The Associated Press on Tuesday, hours after the rampage. "I have done everything I could do and I am fighting against everyone who lives in this area."

Neal's mother spoke by phone from Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives and where Neal grew up before moving to California, where he was working as a pot farmer and had recently married his longtime girlfriend. He was killed by police as he tried to flee after shooting his way through Rancho Tehama, about 130 miles north of Sacramento.

The mother asked that only her first name, Anne, be used because she feared for her safety due to her son's feuding with neighbors he claimed were involved with gangs. She was unaware of her son's role in the rampage until contacted by AP.

In her last few talks with her son, Neal's mother said he sounded desperate and despairing over his relationship with his neighbors, who he said were cooking meth and creating fumes that were harming his nine dogs.

"All of a sudden, now I'm on a cliff and there's nowhere to go," she said her son told him Monday. "No matter where I go for help here I get nobody who will help me. All they are doing is trying to execute me here."

The first two people Neal shot and killed were neighbors. He stole a truck and sought seemingly random victims elsewhere in town, including an elementary school where children were locked in their classrooms. None was killed, though at least one boy was wounded.

Last January Neal was charged with stabbing one of the neighbors, and Anne said she posted the $160,000 bail for him and had spent over $10,000 on lawyer's fees.

Police have declined to identify the shooter until his relatives are notified of his death, but confirmed the same man was charged with the January assault. The district attorney, Gregg Cohen, told the Sacramento Bee the man in that case was Kevin Neal.

Neal's mother said her son told her the neighbor was only slightly cut after Neal grabbed a steak knife she was using to threaten him.

Police had also visited Neal's house a day before the shootings on a domestic violence call, authorities said, but gave no details.

The head of the area's homeowners association said neighbors had been complaining about Neal firing guns excessively on the property, which sits at the end of a dirt road.

Neal's sister, Sheridan Orr, said she had not talked to her brother in months, but that he had struggled with mental illness and at times had a violent temper. She said she believed he was addicted to drugs.

"This is a person who has no business with firearms whatsoever," Orr said. "Our deep, deep sympathy for the victims and it sounds trite but our hearts are breaking for them."

Orr added, "If we can do any good to make people realize there must be some gates on people like this from getting guns," she paused. "This is the same story we're hearing more and more."

ORIGINAL:

A series of shootings at multiple locations in rural Northern California left three people dead and several others wounded Tuesday, including students at an elementary school, authorities said.

Law enforcement officers killed the shooter, but it was not clear if authorities counted it among the three deaths.

Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston tells a TV station in the city of Chico that officers are investigating at least five crime scenes in and around the school in Rancho Tehama Reserve, about 130 miles north of Sacramento.

"It was right about 8 a.m. we had multiple shots fired in Rancho Tehama," Johnston said. "That evolved to multiple victims and multiple shots at the school, at the elementary school. I am told at this point the suspected shooter is deceased by law enforcement bullets, that's what I'm told."

Jeanine Quist, an administrative assistant with the Corning Union Elementary School District, said no one was killed at the school with kindergarten through fifth grades but that a "number" of students were shot and wounded.

Johnston said the school had been cleared by 10 a.m. but he did not have any information about the victims there.

Three people were being treated at a hospital in Redding, about 50 miles north of the shootings, Mercy Medical Center spokeswoman Marcy Miracle said. She declined to provide other details about the victims or their injuries.