Kevin Neal, 43, likely began his shooting spree killing people randomly after he fatally shot his spouse,Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said at a press conference Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“We were looking for his wife and couldn’t find her yesterday,” Johnston told reporters. “We located her dead body concealed under the floor of the resident last night. … We believe that’s what probably started this whole event.”
Neal’s rampage killed five people, including his wife, at multiple locations across the Rancho Tehama reserve, and injured 10 people, including several children.
Authorities and witnesses said he appeared to pick targets randomly, driving around the community and shooting at people from his car before landing at the Rancho Tehama Elementary School, which immediately began its lockdown procedures and prevented him from entering the building.
Authorities credited the school’s swift lockdown for the lack of child fatalities.
“This incident, as tragic and as bad as it is, could have been so much worse if it wasn’t for the quick thinking and staff at our elementary school,” Johnston said during a press conference on Tuesday. “The quick action of those school officials — there is no doubt in my mind based on the video that I saw — saved countless lives and children.”
Neal was killed in a shootout with sheriff’s deputies roughly 45 minutes after the shooting began.