TEHAMA COUNTY -- A "madman on the loose" with one goal.
"He wanted to kill as many people as he could," Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said.
In the path of Kevin Neal's murderous rampage were Tiffany Phommathep and her three young sons.
Tuesday morning, in the small community of Rancho Tehama Reserve, they came face to face with the gunman on Stagecoach Road.
Her husband Johnny says Neal pulled up next to them and fired at the driver-side door.
"The kids started ducking, my wife threw her body on top of my son JJ," said Johnny Phommathep.
Tiffany was shot four times, her 10-year-old son shot twice, her 6- and 2-year-olds hurt by shrapnel before Neal moved on to his next target.
But life threatening wounds didn't stop the mom from protecting her family.
Johnny says his wife drove for miles to find help.
"My wife is a tough cookie to be shot and drive miles and bleeding to death," said Johnny Phommathep.
The man who pulled over to help just happened to be the Assistant Sheriff of Tehama County, Phil Johnston.
"Other community members didn't stop, me being a combat veteran and military police, I'm so grateful for Johnston within the community, to be honest, if not for that officer I wouldn't have my wife," Johnny Phommathep said.
Tiffany and all three kids are expected to be OK, Johnny says he couldn't be more thankful for their recovery, but what he later found out stunned him.
The man who nearly took the lives of his entire family was his own neighbor. He says Neal's behavior was always aggressive.
"He made a lot of threats, gunshot, fires," he said.
As the dust settles one day after the mass shooting, Johnny says he wants the focus to be on his wife's bravery, not Neal's cowardly act.
The family has set up a GoFundMe account for donations.