Police Knew 'Madman' Had Illegal Guns Before Shooting Spree In California

“You have to understand we can’t anticipate what people are going to do.”

New details are emerging about Tuesday’s deadly shooting rampage in and near rural Rancho Tehama Reserve that killed six people (including the gunman, 44-year-old Kevin Janson Neal) and wounded at least 10. 

At a Wednesday press conference, described as tense by The Associated Press, police defended their decision not to arrest Neal for violating a court order that banned him from having guns. Neighbors had previously complained about Neal repeatedly firing off hundreds of rounds from his home. Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said that police responded to neighbors’ calls on numerous occasions. However, Johnston said that Neal wouldn’t open the door, so the police just left.

“He was not law enforcement friendly. He would not come to the door,” Johnston said. “You have to understand we can’t anticipate what people are going to do. We don’t have a crystal ball.”

Johnston also told reporters the shooter illegally manufactured the guns he used Tuesday, and the handguns police recovered were not registered to him.

When asked about Neal’s motive, Johnston said, “Madman on the loose. The case is remarkably clear. We will move forward and we will start the healing process.”

Also on Wednesday, the body of Neal’s wife was discovered under the floorboards of their home. She had been shot several times. Police believe her murder kicked off the shooting rampage. According to CNN, authorities think he killed her Monday night.

"We believe that's probably what started this whole event,” Johnston said.

The morning after killing his wife, Neal shot a woman whom he knew and was involved in a dispute with. Then, he shot at people on the street and in cars. Neal also engaged in several drive-by shootings, aiming at people sitting inside their homes.

“This individual shooter was bent on engaging and killing people at random,” Johnston said. At some point in the morning, Neal entered the elementary school, Rancho Tehama School. Neal was unable to get into any classrooms because the building was on lockdown after gunshots were heard, The New York Times reported.

Still, children were among the wounded.

[Photo: Tehama County Sheriff's Office]

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