TEHAMA COUNTY, Calif. – The wife of the California gunman whose Tuesday rampage included seven shooting locations — including an elementary school — was also killed during the seemingly random spree of terror, reported Fox News. Consequently, police believe her death may have spurred the rest of the slaughter.
Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said Wednesday authorities found the body of Kevin Neal’s wife in the floor boards inside their home. Neal’s murderous shooting spree killed five and injured another 14 people. Neal was ultimately killed in a shootout with police.
“We believe that’s what started this whole event,” Johnston said, adding officials had been searching for Neal’s wife believing she was potentially in peril.
Indeed she was as authorities revealed her death at a Wednesday news conference.
“[We believe he] cut a hole in the floor and literally put her body in the hole,” Johnston said.
Update: Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston says investigators found the body of Kevin Janson Neal's wife hidden under the floor. Investigators believe the killing of his wife was the start of the rampage. pic.twitter.com/vKEu8oHDWY
— Sara Stinson (@SaraStinsonNews) November 15, 2017
According to his mother, Neal (pictured) was increasingly frustrated with an ongoing dispute with his neighbors. She told the Associated Press her son claimed his neighbors were running a meth lab with fumes that were harming his nine dogs.
Moreover, she said Neal called the day before the shooting saying: “Mom it’s all over now. I have done everything I could do and I am fighting against everyone who lives in this area.”
Two of his first victims were two of his neighbors, according to police.
Authorities revealed that Neal was out on bail. He was facing criminal charges for stabbing one of his neighbors in January. Furthermore, police responded to his home the day before the deadly rampage on a domestic violence call.
According to reports, Neal was also the subject of several complaints from neighbors of shooting off hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Brian Flint told the Record Searchlight newspaper after the shooting that his neighbor was the gunman.
“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.” He also claimed that Neal stole his truck.
A day before the shooting, police were sent to Neal’s home on a domestic violence call, but no other details on the matter were immediately released.
Anne lives in Raleigh, N.C., where she raised Neal. She said she posted his $160,000 bail and spent $10,000 on a lawyer due to the charges stemming from the incident in January.
It’s not yet clear what the terms of Neal’s bail were, and whether he would have been allowed to possess and fire the weapons on his property.
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) November 14, 2017
His sister, Sheridan Orr, told the Daily Mail her brother had “no business” owning weapons. She said he had struggled with mental illness throughout his life and at times had a violent temper, adding that he confided in his mother on an almost daily basis.
“He would get wound up and I think she spent a lot of time calming him down,” she told the Daily Mail. “He would be irrational, irate and uncontrollable, and scream and yell. It was difficult to manage him.”
Cristal Caravez and her father live across a ravine from the roadway where the gunman and his first victims lived.
She said they and others heard constant gunfire from the area of Neal’s home, but couldn’t conclusively say he was the person firing.
“You could hear the yelling. He’d go off the hinges,” she said. The shooting, “it would be during the day, during the night, I mean, it didn’t matter.”
She and her father, Juan, who is president of the homeowners association, said neighbors would complain to the sheriff’s department. However, she alleges the complaints were referred back to the homeowners association.
“The sheriff wouldn’t do anything about it,” Juan Caravez said.
Police said surveillance video shows Neal unsuccessfully trying to enter a nearby elementary school after quick-thinking staff members locked the outside doors and barricaded themselves inside when they heard gunshots.
Johnston said the gunman spent about six minutes shooting into Rancho Tehama Elementary School before driving off to continue shooting elsewhere. Johnston said one student was shot but is expected to survive.
Stephanie Turner, who was dropping off her 6-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son, told The Sacramento Bee she saw a white pickup “rammed through the bus gate” and noticed a man stalking the school grounds.
“I thought there was a car accident,” Turner said. “I pulled into the school and heard gunshots. I told my kids to get down onto the floor. Then I saw a guy in the back of the school with a rifle. As soon as he saw us, he started shooting at us. I just took off.”
(Photo: Tehama County Sheriff’s Office)