The death toll in a Northern California shooting rampage rose to six on Wednesday after authorities said they found the body of the gunman’s wife hidden under the floor of the couple’s house.
The gunman, identified by the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office as Kevin Janson Neal, killed his wife, shot neighbors, attacked an elementary school and drove through the small rural community, firing at motorists Tuesday morning. He killed a total of five people and injured 10, including seven children, before he was killed by police. One child who was shot at the school was in critical condition Wednesday.
The shooting spree lasted around 25 minutes and took place at different locations across the unincorporated community of Rancho Tehama Reserve, Phil Johnston, assistant sheriff of Tehama County, told reporters on Wednesday.
Johnston said investigators believed that the killing of Neal’s wife was what started the rampage.
“I really don’t know what his motive was,” Johnston said. “I think he was just on a rampage. I think he had a desire to kill as many people as he could.”
Neal’s sister told The Associated Press that her brother had a history of mental illness.
The police said the school’s decision to order a lockdown prevented many more children from being killed. A statement by the Corning Elementary School District said the Rancho Tehama Elementary School “was able to go on lockdown very quickly and effectively, which prevented any further injury or violence.”
Johnston said that investigators had reviewed video from the school’s security system that showed the gunman walking the hallways and entering a restroom, but appearing to get frustrated that the classroom doors were locked.
Johnston said that before the shooting, the sheriff’s office had received complaints from neighbors that Neal would fire weapons at his home, often at odd hours. He was on bail on charges of stabbing a neighbor in January.
Johnston said Neal was under surveillance by deputies, but that they had never witnessed previous incidents of gunfire.