Gunman's family 'appalled' by California rampage

2017-11-15 20:01
Phil Johnston, the assistant sheriff for Tehama County, briefs reporters on the shootings near the Rancho Tehama Elementary School on November 14, in Corning. Law enforcement says that five people, including the shooter were killed, and several people including some children were injured and taken to area hospitals. (Rich Pedroncelli, AP)

Phil Johnston, the assistant sheriff for Tehama County, briefs reporters on the shootings near the Rancho Tehama Elementary School on November 14, in Corning. Law enforcement says that five people, including the shooter were killed, and several people including some children were injured and taken to area hospitals. (Rich Pedroncelli, AP)

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Raleigh - The mother of a gunman who shot 14 people, killing four, during a rampage in Northern California said he called her a day earlier and told her that he was finished feuding with the small rural community where he lived.

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

Neal's mother said y phone from Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives and where Neal grew up before moving to California. He has been was working as a pot farmer and had recently married his longtime girlfriend before he died in a shootout with police on Tuesday.

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.

'Nowhere to go'

In her last few talks with her son, Neal's mother said he sounded desperate and despairing over his relationship with his neighbours, 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 neighbours before he sought seemingly random victims elsewhere, including an elementary school, where he was locked out.

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

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

'Struggled with mental illness'

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 neighbours 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.

"We're stunned and we're appalled that this is a person who has no business with firearms whatsoever," Orr said. "Our deep, deep sympathy for the victims and it sounds trite but our hearts are breaking for them."


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