Authorities in Tehema County, California, say that at least five people are dead and 10 hospitalized in a shooting spree that began as a domestic dispute and ended up at a nearby school.
At least three students were wounded, but none were reported killed. The gunman was confronted by two officers who eventually killed him.
Police say they have seven separate crime scenes they are processing.
Tehama County Undersheriff Phil Johnston said the victim toll may rise. He confirmed two children were also shot and wounded, and officials were processing seven or more crime scenes.
“It’s a very sad day for us in Tehama County,” said a deputy, who was visibly shaken.
Tehama County Superintendent of Schools Rich DuVarney there were no student or staff fatalities.
Ten shooting victims were taken to various hospitals around the North State: Three to Mercy Medical Center in Redding, two to St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Red Bluff and five to Enloe Medical Center in Chico, employees at those hospitals said.
It was not immediately clear whether more victims had been hospitalized.
Three of the victims were treated and released from Enloe, spokeswoman Jolene Francis said.
It all started shortly after 8 a.m. when a lone shooter opened fire at several locations with a rifle and two handguns, a deputy at the scene said.
There were at least 100 law enforcement officers on site, he said. The FBI also “is sending some teams up to assist at the request of Tehama County authorities,” said Jason Wandel, chief division counsel at the FBI’s Sacramento field office.
“Multiple shots were fired in Rancho Tehama. That evolved into multiple victims and multiple shots at the school,” the deputy said. “I am told the suspected shooter is deceased from law enforcement bullets.”
One parent was caught in the shooting bringing his child to school. He raced into a classroom and saw one student who was wounded:
Coy Ferreira, whose daughter is a kindergarten student, was dropping his daughter off for class just before 8 a.m. when he heard what sounded like a firecracker. A school secretary ran out and yelled for the kids to get in the classrooms because someone was shooting at the school.
“I was walking my child to the classroom because they blew the whistle for the first bell, and when that first whistle blew it sounded like a firecracker went off and we all stopped and were stunned. Then, like a minute later, there were three more shots fired,” said Ferreira.
Ferreira said he ran into a classroom with 14 students. He said the series of shots came through the classroom windows, hitting one student. Ferreira said a young boy was shot in the foot and the chest. When he spoke to us, he said the child was alert and talking. He said another student in an adjacent classroom was shot under the arm. That child was also conscious.
“Within a minute we were all buckled in our classrooms and all of a sudden there were gunshots going for a good 20-25 minutes. My window was hit by a few shots and a student was injured in my classroom. He got nailed somehow, it happened all so fast,” said Ferreira.
Ferreira says there were two shooters:
Ferreira said there were two gunmen. He saw one of them, a man in his 30’s-40’s dressed in green camo running away from the school after the shooting. Ferreira added he believes the gunman would have had to of shot from an elevated ramp in order to see the students who were hiding under their desks.
A witness said that between 90 and 100 gunshots were fired.
The dead suspect lived in a subdivision a few miles from the school. He apparently hijacked a truck from a neighbor, killing him.
One neighbor of the shooter is not surprised:
The Rancho Tehama Reserve — a subdivision home to about 1,485 people — is described on its website as a “quiet private country community” located 12 miles west of Interstate 5 between Red Bluff and Corning. The community is a place “where people are friendly and the pace is relaxed,” the website reads.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it was 86.3 percent white in 2010 and had a poverty rate of 43 percent.
Resident Brian Flint said he got a call in the morning that his roommate was injured and that his truck had been stolen. It turned out his neighbor was the gunman, Flint said.
“The crazy thing is that the neighbor has been shooting a lot of bullets lately, hundreds of rounds, large magazines,” Flint said. “We made it aware that this guy is crazy and he’s been threatening us.”
Living near the gunman was “hell,” Flint said, and the man was a known felon who often harassed him and his neighbors.
Authorities say the number of dead and injured is expected to rise.