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Gunman kills 4, wounds 10 in rampage in Northern California

| Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, 7:15 a.m.
Crime tape blocks off Rancho Tehama Road leading into the Rancho Tehama subdivision south of Red Bluff, Calif., following a fatal shooting on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.
Crime tape blocks off Rancho Tehama Road leading into the Rancho Tehama subdivision south of Red Bluff, Calif., following a fatal shooting on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.
Two women embrace outside Rancho Tehama Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif.
Two women embrace outside Rancho Tehama Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif.
Phil Johnston, the assistant sheriff for Tehama County, briefs reporters on the shootings near the Rancho Tehama Elementary School, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif. Authorities said, a gunman choosing targets at random, opened fire in a rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing four people at several sites and wounding others at the elementary school before police shot him dead. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Phil Johnston, the assistant sheriff for Tehama County, briefs reporters on the shootings near the Rancho Tehama Elementary School, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif. Authorities said, a gunman choosing targets at random, opened fire in a rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing four people at several sites and wounding others at the elementary school before police shot him dead. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Tehama County Sheriff Dave Hencratt makes a brief statement concerning the shootings near the Rancho Tehama Elementary School, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif. Authorities said, a gunman choosing targets at random, opened fire in a rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing four people at several sites and wounding others at the elementary school before police shot him dead. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Tehama County Sheriff Dave Hencratt makes a brief statement concerning the shootings near the Rancho Tehama Elementary School, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif. Authorities said, a gunman choosing targets at random, opened fire in a rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing four people at several sites and wounding others at the elementary school before police shot him dead. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Law enforcement officers are seen at an elementary school in the community of Rancho Tehama Reserve, where a gunman opened fire Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif. A gunman choosing targets at random opened fire in the rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing several people at several sites and wounding others at the elementary school before police shot him dead, authorities said. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Law enforcement officers are seen at an elementary school in the community of Rancho Tehama Reserve, where a gunman opened fire Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif. A gunman choosing targets at random opened fire in the rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing several people at several sites and wounding others at the elementary school before police shot him dead, authorities said. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Law enforcement officers are seen at an elementary school in the community of Rancho Tehama Reserve, where a gunman opened fire Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif. A gunman choosing targets at random opened fire in the rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing several people at several sites and wounding others at the elementary school before police shot him dead, authorities said. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Law enforcement officers are seen at an elementary school in the community of Rancho Tehama Reserve, where a gunman opened fire Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif. A gunman choosing targets at random opened fire in the rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing several people at several sites and wounding others at the elementary school before police shot him dead, authorities said. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Phil Johnston, center, the assistant sheriff for Tehama County, briefs reporters on the shootings near the Rancho Tehama Elementary School, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif. Law enforcement says that five people, including the shooter were killed, and several people including some children were injured and taken to area hospitals. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Phil Johnston, center, the assistant sheriff for Tehama County, briefs reporters on the shootings near the Rancho Tehama Elementary School, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif. Law enforcement says that five people, including the shooter were killed, and several people including some children were injured and taken to area hospitals. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Phil Johnston, the assistant sheriff for Tehama County, briefs reporters on the shootings near the Rancho Tehama Elementary School, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif. Law enforcement says that five people, including the shooter were killed, and several people including some children were injured and taken to area hospitals. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Phil Johnston, the assistant sheriff for Tehama County, briefs reporters on the shootings near the Rancho Tehama Elementary School, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Corning, Calif. Law enforcement says that five people, including the shooter were killed, and several people including some children were injured and taken to area hospitals. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Residents and emergency personnel work at the scene of the mass shooting at Rancho Tehama near Red Bluff, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston says investigators are trying to determine a motive in the shootings Tuesday in the small community of Tehama Ranch Reserve.  (Jim Schultz/The Record Searchlight via AP)
Residents and emergency personnel work at the scene of the mass shooting at Rancho Tehama near Red Bluff, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston says investigators are trying to determine a motive in the shootings Tuesday in the small community of Tehama Ranch Reserve. (Jim Schultz/The Record Searchlight via AP)
Investigators view a pickup truck involved in a deadly shooting at the Rancho Tehama Reserve, near Corning, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. A gunman driving stolen vehicles and choosing his targets at random opened fire 'without provocation' in the tiny, rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing several people, including a student at an elementary school, before police shot him dead, authorities said.
Investigators view a pickup truck involved in a deadly shooting at the Rancho Tehama Reserve, near Corning, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. A gunman driving stolen vehicles and choosing his targets at random opened fire 'without provocation' in the tiny, rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing several people, including a student at an elementary school, before police shot him dead, authorities said.
Yellow tags mark where bullet casings found at one of the scenes of a shooting spree at Rancho Tehama Reserve, near Corning, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Law enforcement says that five people, including the shooter were killed, and several people including some children were injured during the shooting spree that occurred at multiple locations. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Yellow tags mark where bullet casings found at one of the scenes of a shooting spree at Rancho Tehama Reserve, near Corning, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Law enforcement says that five people, including the shooter were killed, and several people including some children were injured during the shooting spree that occurred at multiple locations. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
This is one of seven crime scenes in the mass shooting in Rancho Tehama near Red Bluff, California, on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston says investigators are trying to determine a motive in the shootings Tuesday in the small community of Tehama Ranch Reserve.  (Jim Schultz/The Record Searchlight via AP)
This is one of seven crime scenes in the mass shooting in Rancho Tehama near Red Bluff, California, on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston says investigators are trying to determine a motive in the shootings Tuesday in the small community of Tehama Ranch Reserve. (Jim Schultz/The Record Searchlight via AP)
Investigators view a pickup truck involved in a deadly shooting rampage at the Rancho Tehama Reserve, near Corning, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. A gunman driving stolen vehicles and choosing his targets at random opened fire 'without provocation' in the tiny, rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing several people, including a student at an elementary school, before police shot him dead, authorities said. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Investigators view a pickup truck involved in a deadly shooting rampage at the Rancho Tehama Reserve, near Corning, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. A gunman driving stolen vehicles and choosing his targets at random opened fire 'without provocation' in the tiny, rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing several people, including a student at an elementary school, before police shot him dead, authorities said. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Traffic backs up outside Rancho Tehama, Calif., after multiple people were killed in a shooting Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (Jim Schultz/The Record Searchlight via AP)
Traffic backs up outside Rancho Tehama, Calif., after multiple people were killed in a shooting Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (Jim Schultz/The Record Searchlight via AP)

RANCHO TEHAMA RESERVE, Calif. — The gunman behind a rampage in Northern California was out on bail for a charge of stabbing a neighbor, had been the object of complaints from neighbors who said he had been firing off hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and had been the subject of a domestic violence call the day before the attack.

Yet Kevin Neal was free and able to use a semiautomatic rifle and two handguns Tuesday to shoot 14 people, killing four, in seven different locations across his rural community, including an elementary school, before he died in a shootout with police.

It's not yet clear what the terms of Neal's bail were, and whether he would have been allowed to possess and fire the weapons on his property at the end of a dirt road in Rancho Tehama Reserve. Nor did sheriff's officials give details on the domestic violence call.

But his many contacts with authorities raised questions of why he was out of custody and able to go on the 45-minute rampage that began with the killing of two neighbors in an apparent act of revenge before he went looking for random victims.

Cristal Caravez and her father live across a ravine from the roadway where the gunman and his first victims lived.

She said they and others heard constant gunfire from the area of the gunman's house, but couldn't say for sure it was him firing.

“You could hear the yelling. He'd go off the hinges,” she said. The shooting, “it would be during the day, during the night, I mean, it didn't matter.”

She and her father, who is president of the homeowners association, said neighbors would complain to the sheriff's department, which referred the complaints back to the homeowners association.

“The sheriff wouldn't do anything about it,” said Juan Caravez.

The gunman's sister, Sheridan Orr, said her brother had struggled with mental illness throughout his life and at times had a violent temper.

She said Neal had “no business” owning firearms.

Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said the shooter was facing charges of assaulting one of the feuding neighbors in January and that she had a restraining order against him.

Johnston did not comment on the shooter's access to firearms.

Johnston declined to identify the shooter until his relatives were notified, but he confirmed the gunman was charged with assault in January and had a restraining order placed against him. The district attorney, Gregg Cohen, told the Sacramento Bee he is prosecuting a man named Kevin Neal in that case.

Neal's mother told The Associated Press her son, who was a marijuana grower, was in a long-running dispute with neighbors he believed were cooking methamphetamine.

The mother, who spoke on condition she be named only as Anne, lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she raised Neal. She said she posted his $160,000 bail and spent $10,000 on a lawyer after he was arrested in January for stabbing a neighbor. Neal's mother said the neighbor was slightly cut after Neal grabbed a steak knife out of the hand of the neighbor who was threatening him with it.

She wept as she told The Associated Press she spoke to Neal on the phone on Monday.

“Mom it's all over now,” she said he told her. “I have done everything I could do and I am fighting against everyone who lives in this area.”

She said Neal apologized to her during their brief conversation, she thought for all the money she had spent on him, saying he was “on a cliff” and the people around him were trying to “execute” him.

“I think the motive of getting even with his neighbors and when it went that far — he just went on a rampage,” Johnston said.

Police said surveillance video shows the shooter unsuccessfully trying to enter a nearby elementary school after quick-thinking staff members locked the outside doors and barricaded themselves inside when they heard gunshots.

Johnston said the gunman spent about six minutes shooting into Rancho Tehama Elementary School before driving off to continue shooting elsewhere. Johnston said one student was shot but is expected to survive.

He said the 45-minute rampage ended when a patrol car rammed the stolen vehicle the shooter was driving and killed him in a shootout.

Johnston said officials received multiple 911 calls about gunfire at an intersection of two dirt roads. Minutes later, more calls reporting shots flooded in from different locations, including the school.

Witnesses reported hearing gunshots and children screaming at the school, which has one class of students from kindergarten through fifth grade.

The shootings occurred in the rural community of Rancho Tehama Reserve, a homeowners association in a sparsely populated area of rolling oak woodlands dotted with grazing cattle about 130 miles north of Sacramento.

Many there live in poverty, but others are better off.

“It's not a bad community at all,” said Harry Garcia, who was minding his parents' convenience store La Fortuna Market. “Some people keep their properties nice- some don't. They rough it out here. Some go with minimum stuff. Some don't even have power out here.”

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