California Gunman Who Killed 5 Took Own Life, Sheriff Says

Ivan Pentchoukov
By Ivan Pentchoukov
December 9, 2017US News
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California Gunman Who Killed 5 Took Own Life, Sheriff Says
Kevin Janson Neal, 44, was well-known to local law enforcement before his shooting rampage in Rancho Tehama on Nov. 14. (Tehama County Sheriff's Office)

The California gunman who shot and killed 5 people and injured 12 others in northern California in November committed suicide, Fox News reported citing the Tehama County Sheriff.

“The evidence and examination conducted by a forensic pathologist concluded the shooter died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head,” the sheriff told Fox News.

Police officers fired a dozen shots at 44-year-old Kevin Neal after they forced his car off the road in Rancho Tehama Reserve. Police found Neal’s lifeless body in the front seat.

Neal killed his wife and went on a shooting rampage spanning several locations before taking his own life, authorities say. Six of the 12 people Neal wounded were children.

The gunman called his mother before carrying out the carnage.

“Mom it’s all over now,” Kevin Neal’s mother said he told her in their final conversation. “I have done everything I could do and I am fighting against everyone who lives in this area.”

Neal’s mother talked to The Associated Press by phone from Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives and where Neal grew up before moving to California. Neal worked as a marijuana farmer and had recently married his longtime girlfriend before he died in a shootout with police on Tuesday.

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Kevin Neal. (Corning Police Department)

The mother asked that only her first name, Annie, be used because she feared for her safety. She was unaware of her son’s role in the rampage until contacted by AP.

In her last few talks with her son, Neal’s mother said he sounded desperate and despairing over his relationship with his neighbors, who he said were cooking meth and creating fumes that were harming his nine dogs.

“All of a sudden, now I’m on a cliff and there’s nowhere to go,” she recalled her son telling her. “No matter where I go for help here I get nobody who will help me. All they are doing is trying to execute me here.”

The first two people Neal shot and killed were neighbors before he sought seemingly random victims elsewhere, including an elementary school, where he was locked out.

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FBI agents are seen behind yellow crime scene tape outside Rancho Tehama Elementary School after a shooting in Rancho Tehama, Calif, on Nov. 14, 2017. (Elijah Nouvelage/AFP/Getty Images)

He had been charged with stabbing one of the neighbors in January, and Annie said she posted the $160,000 bail for him and had spent over $10,000 on lawyer’s fees.

Police have declined to identify the shooter until his relatives are notified of his death, but confirmed the same man was charged with the January assault. District attorney Gregg Cohen told the Sacramento Bee the man in that case is Kevin Neal.

Neal’s mother said her son told her the neighbor was slightly cut after Neal grabbed a steak knife out of the hand of the neighbor who was threatening him with it.

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A law enforcement officer at one of many crime scenes after a shooting in Rancho Tehama, Calif on Nov. 14, 2017. (Elijah Nouvelage/AFP/Getty Images)

Police had also visited Neal’s house a day before the shootings on a domestic violence call, authorities said, but gave no details.

The head of the area’s homeowners association said neighbors had been complaining about Neal firing guns excessively on the property, which sits at the end of a dirt road.

Neal’s sister, Sheridan Orr, said she had not talked to her brother in months, but he had struggled with mental illness and at times had a violent temper. She said she believed he was addicted to drugs.

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A Tehama County Coroner’s van enters the Rancho Tehama Elementary school grounds after a shooting in Rancho Tehama, Calif on Nov. 14, 2017. (Elijah Nouvelage/AFP/Getty Images)

“We’re stunned and we’re appalled,” she said. “This is a person who has no business with firearms whatsoever … Our deep, deep sympathy for the victims and, it sounds trite, but our hearts are breaking for them.”

Orr added, “If we can do any good to make people realize there must be some gates on people like this from getting guns,” she paused. “This is the same story we’re hearing more and more.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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