Four people were killed and nearly a dozen wounded, including two children, when a gunman carrying a semi-automatic weapon and two handguns went on a rampage Tuesday, randomly picking his targets at a school and other locations across a small Northern California community.
Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston told reporters that the assailant was killed by police following the mass shooting, which began around 8:00 am at a home in Rancho Tehama Reserve and continued at several locations in the community, including the elementary school.
He said no children were among the dead and the motive for the assault was unclear, although it may be linked to a domestic dispute and a history of disagreements with neighbors.
He said one child was shot and wounded at the school. Another suffered non-life-threatening injuries while riding in a car with his mother, who was severely wounded.
Johnston said the gunman, who has not been identified, went on his shooting spree after stealing a neighbor's vehicle and then tried to gain access to the school but was unsuccessful as it was on lockdown.
He said the suspect, who was wearing a military-style vest, left the school to continue on his rampage and crashed the vehicle at one point. He then stole a second vehicle and was killed in a shootout with police.
One of the four victims was a woman the gunman had previously been accused of stabbing, Johnston said.
The Tehama County Assistant Sheriff told reporters that three weapons -- a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns -- had been recovered from the scene.
He added that some 100 law enforcement officers responded to the shooting.
The shooting coincides with a flareup of the long-running debate on America's epidemic of gun violence and the ready accessibility of high-powered weapons, less than 10 days after a gunman shot dead 26 people at a church in Texas.