BREAKING: At least 3 dead in shooting in Tehama Co. it started at a home and moved to the school. Shooter shot and killed by police. pic.twitter.com/xIKvyIxq4y— Sara Stinson (@SaraStinsonNews) November 14, 2017
The Californian gunman who killed four people and injured at least 10 others — including children — has been identified as 43-year-old Kevin Janson Neal, who sometimes go by the name of Smith.
Turns out, the school wasn’t the only place where he went on a shooting rampage.
Neal began his rampage near his home in Rancho Tehama Reserve at 7:52 a.m. Tuesday morning. The shooter first killed a man and a woman with whom he reportedly had a dispute. He then stole a truck from his neighbor and performed drive-bys near homes and pedestrians.
Photo of neighborhood where it all started. pic.twitter.com/hdrXwopJ3y— Jim Schultz (@JimSchultz_RS) November 15, 2017
The elementary school went on lockdown after the mass shooting that encompassed seven scenes. Neal tried to get inside the building but couldn’t because of the quick lockdown — so he shot at people in classrooms through the windows. Two of the children in the school were wounded critically, including a 6-year-old boy who got two bullets, one in his leg and another in his chest, and another child who was shot in the right leg. They are in critical condition but expected to recover.
Officials say the gunman was wearing a load bearing vest — similar to what soldiers wear to carry their ammo,” reported CBS News.
However, this isn’t the first time Neal has shown his propensity towards senseless violence. There were plenty of indications that the man was a ticking time bomb, considering the fact he was already in trouble with the police before the massacre — but the criminal justice system let him walk free.
Neal was already being prosecuted for assault with a deadly weapon and a stabbing that he committed earlier this year.
On Jan. 31, 2017, Neal shot at his neighbors — reportedly the same ones he killed during this massacre — and attacked them with a knife. He opened fire on his neighbors as they walked along a wooden fence. He then jumped the fence, stabbed one of them and stole the other’s cell phone. In February, Neal was arrested on charges of second-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of an assault weapon, discharge of firearm with gross negligence, misdemeanor battery and, two counts of false imprisonment by violence. Court documents said Neal had an AR-15 Bushmaster rifle, the very same type of firearm that has been used in most of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States.
Despite the severity of his charges, the court let him out on a bail of $300,000, according to Tehama District Attorney Gregg Cohen. He was hit with a restraining order following his arrest which should have prevented him from owning firearms for some period of time.
He was expected to stand trial in January 2018.
The California mass shooter was already out on bail for previous gun crimes - and had violently threatened his neighbors with guns.https://t.co/0rusANoiJX— Imraan Siddiqi (@imraansiddiqi) November 15, 2017
But that’s the price of freedom, right? pic.twitter.com/OvjBagHx65
It isn’t confirmed how Neal was able to get his hands on the firearm when his restraining order forbids him to own any. But it certainly seems like the justice system and lax gun control laws have let another killer slip through the cracks.
The fact that Neal was able to post a $300,000 bail means he must have been a man of some means — or at least have a very generous benefactor. Nevertheless, he was able to get out despite the seriousness of his alleged crimes. The current bail system is beneficial to the rich who are able to get away with committing heinous crimes but harmful to the poor who are left to rot for minor transgressions just because they do not have enough money to post bail.
According to a 2010 report, a murder is committed every ten days by suspects out on bail. This seems to be the case with Neal who used the broken bail system to commit even more senseless violence.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Tehama County