Kevin Janson Neal (pictured), 43, has been named as the killer who shot dead five people and injured at least 10 more in a spree that climaxed with him firing 100 rounds into a school
The California gunman who killed at least five people killed his wife and concealed her body beneath floorboards of the couple’s home, police have said.
Tehema County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnson says investigators found the body of Kevin Janson Neal’s wife hidden under the floor when they raided his home on Wednesday.
Investigators haven’t determined a motive, but believe the killing of his wife started his rampage and that ‘he had a desire to kill as many people as he could.’
The 43-year-old, who sometimes used the name Smith, was identified as the shooter after his Tuesday rampage, which climaxed with him smashing into a school’s gates and firing into its walls and windows.
Neighbors told investigators on Tuesday they believed there was a domestic violence incident at Neal’s home the day before he went on the rampage. Police believe Neal’s wife was killed on Monday.
Investigators don’t yet have any idea how he spent the hours between when he allegedly killed his wife and when he began his shooting spree, but Johnson said it was apparent he tried to cover up his wife’s body.
‘There was a hole cut in the floor,’ he said at a press conference Wednesday.
‘We’re confident that he murdered her, shot her, at some point on Monday, and just put her body in the hole in the floor and just covered it up.’
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Tehema County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnson (pictured) says investigators found the body of Kevin Janson Neal’s wife hidden under the floor when they raided his home on Wednesday
Police evidence tags lie in the abandoned playground at Rancho Tehama Elementary School where Neal opened fire after a miles-long drive-by spree on Tuesday, injuring children
One child – Alejandro Hernandez (seen left, and right after shooting) – was hit in the school. He is in serious condition but expected to be fine. Other kids were hurt by glass
Neal performed a series drive-bys in this stolen truck (seen with police investigators) before smashing into school gates in it and firing through windows and walls
Neal began the Tuesday morning rampage near his home on Bobcat Lane in the Rancho Tehama Reserve at 7.52am, shooting people at random before stealing a truck and performing drive-bys on homes, pedestrians and other drivers.
He eventually arrived at the Rancho Tehama Elementary School and smashed through its gates before firing as many as 100 bullets through windows and walls, hitting one child, and trying to enter classrooms. He then fled, and was shot dead by police near the property.
Hernandez is seen here with his cousin Arlene Monroy
‘I thought there was a car accident,’ Stephanie Turner, who was dropping off her children, aged six and seven, at the time, told the Sacramento Bee of Neal’s assault on the school gates.
‘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.’
According to the local school district, Neal shot through windows and walls, hitting one child in a classroom, who had to be airlifted to hospital and is in stable condition.
The gunman is believed to have fired between 90 and 100 rounds. A semi-automatic rifle and two handguns were retrieved from the scene.
That child was identified as Alejandro Hernandez, six; he was hit in the chest and foot, according to a cousin who started a GoFundMe page for him.
He was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center in Redding in critical condition, but is expected to recover, according to his cousin, Aly Monroy.
Monroy told DailyMail.com: ‘As of now he is stable, but he still has the bullets in his chest and foot. He will be going into surgery tonight to remove them. I’m not sure how long he is expected to stay [in hospital].’
One parent, Coy Ferreira, who was dropping off his daughter at the kindergarten at the time, told local station KRCR that he was there when the first shots were fired.
‘It sounded like a firecracker went off and we all stopped and were stunned,’ he said. ‘Then, like a minute later, there were three more shots fired.’
He said that a school employee ushered parents and children into the building.
School district officials said that other children were injured by glass when the windows were shot out.
After firing on the school, Neal stole another car and drove off, but was shot dead at a nearby intersection by police after a brief gunfight.
The gunman’s shooting spree began at 7.52am on a residential street. He then drove in a stolen truck towards the town where he shot three people – including a mother and her child – before arriving at the school, less than two miles from the first attack, and opening fire
The vehicle of a woman and her child who were shot on Rancho Tehama Road by the gunman. They were both taken to hospital
The shooting appears to have come after a long period of instability from Neal, including stabbing one of his neighbors.
Tehama County District Attorney Gregg Cohen told ChicoER that on January 31, a long-standing dispute between Neal and two female neighbors came to a head when he shot at them and attacked one with a knife.
The shooting appears to have come after a long period of instability from Neal, including stabbing one of his neighbors
He said Neal opened fire on the neighbors as they walked along a wooden fence.
He reportedly then jumped the fence, stabbed one of them and stole the other’s cellphone.
Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston told Fox News that one of the victims was the woman he shot in January, although it’s not clear if she was fatally wounded.
Police are still working out the exact motive for the shooting.
After the January attack, Neal was arrested and charged with second-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of false imprisonment by violence, discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, possession of an assault weapon and misdemeanor battery.
Bail was set at $160,000; he was due to go to trial in January 2018.
Court documents say he had an AR-15 Bushmaster rifle – which has been used in multiple mass shootings – although it’s not yet known if it was used in Tuesday’s shooting.
Neal’s family says he had a violent temper and had no business owning firearms.
Kevin Neal’s sister told The Associated Press she believes her brother was addicted to drugs.
Sheridan Orr said she had not talked to her brother in months and was appalled when she heard about the shooting.
His mother wept as she told the Associated Press that she spoke to her son on the phone on Monday. She asked to be only named as Anne because she fears for her safety.
‘Mom it’s all over now,’ Anne said he told her.
‘I have done everything I could do and I am fighting against everyone who lives in this area.’
She said the conversation was brief, and that Neal apologized to her repeatedly. At the time Anne thought he was apologizing for all the money she spent on him.
But she also said he told her he was ‘on a cliff’ and that people around him were trying to ‘execute’ him.
Police are pictured securing the site of the shooting. Neal rammed the school gates before firing through windows and walls at the children inside. He then stole another car and fled
After fleeing the school, Neal was shot dead by police after a brief gunfight at a nearby intersection. The rampage took around 45 minutes
District Attorney Gregg Cohen said that while the school incident was shocking, it came at the close of Neal’s 45-minute rampage, during which four other victims were killed.
‘Obviously, the school gets all the attention, but there were many other people who were killed by his hands,’ he said.
Neal’s neighbors said they had been complaining for weeks about the gunman, who lived on the street, firing his gun late at night and early in the morning.
Rancho Tehama is around 120 miles north of Sacramento and sits between the towns of Red Bluff and Corning.
After the shooting, Governor Jerry Brown issued this statement: ‘Anne and I are saddened to hear about today’s violence in Tehama County, which shockingly involved schoolchildren.
‘We offer our condolences to the families who lost loved ones and unite with all Californians in grief.’