California gunman targeted victim, victim’s son in rampage, neighbor says


The shooter who killed five people in a rural northern California community Tuesday apparently targeted his neighbor and the neighbor’s 7-year-old son due to a long-simmering feud, another neighbor told a local newspaper Friday.

Johnny Phommathep, who lived about 200 feet away from gunman Kevin Neal, told the Record Searchlight of Redding that Neal threatened out loud that he was going to kill Danny Elliott and then go to the elementary school and kill Elliott’s 7-year-old son, Gage.

“He’d scream to him, ‘I’ma kill you, boy. I’ma learn you. Once I kill you, I’ma go kill your son at school,'” Phommathep told the paper.

Neal killed Elliott and Elliott’s mother, Diana Steele, and wounded at least a dozen adults and children in his rampage across Rancho Tehama Reserve before authorities shot him dead.

The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office said Neal rammed a car into the gates of Rancho Tehama Elementary School and shot at its portable classrooms. He tried repeatedly to get into a kindergarten classroom but quick-thinking staff had locked the school down, and he eventually stormed off.

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