Tehama County school shooter targeted 7-year-old boy, says neighbor

The man who went on a shooting rampage in Northern California last week intended to kill the 7-year-old son of his neighbor, another neighbor said.

Kevin Neal killed five people and injured 10 more during a shooting spree in rural Tehama County on Tuesday, when he drove through the town firing at passerby before he arrived at Rancho Tehama Elementary school, shooting into the building. He could not enter the school because staff there had heard the gunshots from a distance earlier in the shootout and put the school on lockdown. No children were killed.

But a neighbor told the Record Searchlight that Neal went to the school with the express intent of killing at least one child, the son of a neighbor he had been feuding with. Neal reportedly killed that neighbor, Danny Elliot, and his mother, Diana Steele, before he drove to the school.

That neighbor, Johnny Phommathep, told the newspaper that he heard Neal explicitly threaten to kill Elliot’s young son.

“I’ma kill you, boy. I’ma learn you. Once I kill you, I’ma go kill your son at school,” Phommathep said her heard Neal tell Elliot.

He did not specify exactly when he heard him say it.

Phommathep’s wife was injured in the shooting, when Neal fired at her car while she was driving three of her children to school. As CrimeOnline previously reported, Tiffany Phommathep was shot five times as she shielded her children from the bullets. The children suffered non-life threatening injuries from the gunfire and shrapnel. Tiffany is expected to recover.


[Feature image: Police handout]