RANCHO TEHAMA — “The guy was a bad guy. I mean really. Just a bad person. Some people are just bad,” said neighbor Jessie Sanders, who knew some of the victims of Tuesday’s shooting in Tehama County.
It was a 25-minute rampage.
Investigators say Kevin Neal set out to kill “as many people as possible” in the tiny town of Rancho Tehama.
“Like I said before — mad man on the loose,” said Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston.
The violent spree ended Tuesday morning with Neal shot and killed by police. And Johnston says it began the day before with Neal murdering his wife at home.
“We’re confident that he murdered her, shot her at some point, probably late Monday, and literally just put her body in the floor and covered it up,” Johnston said.
Investigators say Neal went on to kill four other people.
“Every night gunshots. ‘Pow, pow!’ all night long,” Sanders said.
Sanders said Neal would fire his gun every night and that he knew the three people murdered Tuesday morning on Bobcat Way. Sanders said Neal was in an ongoing feud with neighbors. He knew he was volatile.
“…he told us this was coming,” Sanders said.
Sanders said Neal told them “that [they] would all pay, that [they] would be the ones to pay in the end.”
Fourteen others were hurt when Neal terrorized the community.
One of the victims was a child — a student at Rancho Tehama Elementary.
“It’s monumental that that school went on lock down,” Johnston said.
Johnston believes if the school wasn’t placed on lock down right away, children may have died.
“I really, truly believe we would have had a horrific bloodbath in that school if that school hadn’t taken action when they did,” Johnston said.
The school was the last line of defense, keeping children out of the path of a shooter firing bullets at random.
“Deranged people target these children, and it’s a very terrible thing we’re living with in this country. I’m very sad for it, the only thing we can do is prepare,” Johnston said.