5 dead, children wounded in Northern California shootings; gunman killed by law enforcement

Posted at 10:18 AM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-14 20:07:35-05

(KGTV) - Five people were shot and killed including a gunman Tuesday in a shooting that occurred in the northern California community of Rancho Tehama.

Tehama County sheriff's officials said the shootings began at around 8 a.m. Tuesday and lasted about 45 minutes. The shootings took place in at least seven locations, including Rancho Tehama Elementary School.

According to officials, they received reports of shots fired at a home where the shooter injured a resident and stole a truck and later a van. The incident then evolved and included more locations.

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, authorities said the shooter used a semi-automatic rifle, though the exact make and model were not released. Two handguns were also recovered. Authorities said the shooter also wore a military-style vest.

The shooter's name hasn't been released, though authorities confirmed that the shooter was a resident of the small northern California town. 

The shooter reportedly had prior arrests, including being charged with assault with a deadly weapon earlier this year against one of Tuesday's victims. Officials cautioned, however, no motive has been determined.

Sheriff's officials told local media that the shooter was known to law enforcement and may have picked locations to open fire at random, including the school.

"This guy was bent on driving by residences and arbitrarily shooting at them," Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said.

Officials said five people died in the rampage, but the number of deceased could rise. The number of injured could also increase as the investigation continues. The names of the victims have not been released.

Johnston said authorities are confident there are no other suspects outstanding.

It was confirmed by sheriff's officials that two children were shot -- one at the school and the other at a different location -- and taken to the hospital.

Rancho Tehama Elementary was evacuated and students were moved to a safe location, officials said. Johnston later said the gunman tried to enter classrooms after arriving at the elementary school, but the lockdown prevented him from entering any classrooms.

"The quick action of those school officials, there's no doubt in my mind ... saved countless lives and children," Johnston said.

Nearby Rancho Tehama Airport was placed on lockdown. 

A neighbor of the gunman, whose roommate was wounded, told local media the gunman harassed neighbors, and as of late had been shooting off bullets, according to the Redding Record Searchlight.

Rancho Tehama Reserve community members were instructed to stay locked down until further notice. The U.S. Census says the area has just fewer than 1,500 residents, the Record Searchlight reported.