Kevin Janson Neal, who on Tuesday went on a killing spree that left four people dead and 10 injured in northern California, also shot and killed his wife the prior night, officials say.
Neal, 44, fatally shot his wife late Monday, Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said at a press conference Wednesday. The next day, he went on a shooting spree that included an attack on a local elementary school in Rancho Tehama Reserve, California. Police ultimately shot and killed him.
Authorities found the body of Neal’s wife, whose name has not been released, concealed in the floor at the shooter’s home.
“We’re confident that he murdered her ― shot her at some point late probably Monday, and literally put her body in the floor and covered her up,” Johnston told reporters.
The gunman’s killing of his wife fits a troubling pattern. A recent HuffPost investigation found that in 59 percent of mass shootings between 2015 and early November 2017, the perpetrator killed an intimate partner or family member during the massacre or had a history of domestic violence.
Following Tuesday’s shooting, neighbors told authorities they’d heard what sounded like a domestic violence situation on Monday, but had not called in a report to the sheriff’s office. Neighbors said they had heard yelling and gunshots on previous occasions.
Neal, who was out on bail for assault with a deadly weapon, called his mother late Monday.
“Mom it’s all over now,” he reportedly told his mother. “I have done everything I could do and I am fighting against everyone who lives in this area.”
One of his guns, a semiautomatic weapon that fired multi-round clips, was illegally manufactured by the shooter himself at his home, according to Johnston.
“He can get parts through a variety of sources, and they come together and they can build them in their shop or in their garage,” Johnston said.
The assistant sheriff also reported that the two handguns recovered were not owned under Neal’s name.
When asked if there’d been any attempts to recover guns from Neal’s home after his arrest and numerous complaints from neighbors, Johnston described Neal as “not law-enforcement friendly.”
“He would not come to the door,” Johnston said. “Actually, his house was arranged in a way that we couldn’t detect him being there, and on at least two occasions, officers put the house under surveillance hoping he would come back out.”
Authorities have no clear motive yet in the case.
“You have to understand, this individual was going down the street picking targets,” Johnston told reporters.
Neal’s attack on Rancho Tehama Elementary School did not kill any children, but did injure seven students with wounds ranging from minor to life-threatening. One child who was shot at the school is still in critical condition.
Johnston called the school’s lockdown “monumental” in saving lives, as the shooter was unable to get inside, became frustrated and left to find other targets.
“I really, truly believe we would have had a horrific bloodbath in that school if that school hadn’t taken the action, and when they did,” Johnston said. “Early onset, the sound of gunfire away from the school and they went on lockdown.”