California authorities have upped the body count of Tuesday’s shooting spree in Rancho Tehama Reserve to five with the discovery of the body of killer Kevin Neal’s wife below the floorboards of their house, according to Fox News.
Neal died from police gunfire after driving around the small unincorporated community in Northern California shooting at people. He killed four other people and injured 10 others including a child. Two of his victims were neighbors with whom he reportedly had a dispute.
The Associated Press reported that in his last conversation with his mother, who lives in North Carolina, Neal apparently told her, “Mom it’s all over now. I have done everything I could do and I am fighting against everyone who lives in this area…All of a sudden, now I’m on a cliff and there’s nowhere to go.”
Neal was out on bail awaiting a trial in January on charges of assault from an incident earlier this year. His mother had posted the $160,000 bail and reportedly spent more than $10,000 on attorney’s fees.
Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnson told reporters Wednesday that the two rifles used by Neal in the rampage were “manufactured illegally by him at his home.” Because of his pending criminal charges, he was prohibited from possessing firearms. The guns, Johnston said, “were obtained in an illegal manner; they were not registered,” Fox News reported.
There are two images emerging of the Rancho Tehama Reserve community, one of a close-knit community of neighbors and friends with a rural standard of living and low median income, and the other that is Wild West.
In a report published by KTVU News, former Tehama County Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Pflager alleged that the community is home to marijuana growers and armed ex-felons, where trouble frequently develops between the pot farmers.
“There’s a lots of violence out there,’’ he said. “The people out there know how to grow marijuana and they do it very well. But there’s also a lot of disturbances between people and there is usually a weapon involved. There are a ton of guns out there in the hands of the wrong people.”
But KTVU, the Fox affiliate, also heard from Rancho Tehama Community Church Pastor Stephen May, who said, “The Rancho Tehama community has some really neat people in it. We do have some homeless, some guys who have been in prison and a lot of people who just want to get away from things. But in the midst of that is a great little community church and it’s really gorgeous up here.”