Hours later, Neal opened fire at various locations Tuesday, including at the Rancho Tehama elementary school, where he crashed his vehicle through a locked gate and marched toward the classrooms. All those killed were adults but authorities have said that children were among the wounded. He said that was likely the shooter engaging a target on the way to the school.
The Rancho Tehama area remains on lockdown, according to a statement on the school district's website, posted by the LA Times. He then stole their truck and sought victims elsewhere, seemingly at random, including an elementary school, where he was locked out.
The gunman had an ongoing dispute with his neighbors.
A man who saw the crash pulled over to help, and Neal shot at him. In January, Neal was arrested for assaulting a neighbor with a knife.
The family finally found help from Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston, who was able to secure medial assistance for the dying woman and her wounded children.
The neighbor he was accused of stabbing obtained a restraining order against him in February, writing to the court that Neal fired guns to scare people in her house and alleging that he was "very unpredictable and unstable" and that he had "anger issues", according to court documents.
Neighbors reportedly told police that they believed there had been a domestic violence incident at the house on Monday, when investigators say they believe she was killed.
Kevin Neal Courtesy of CBS Newspath
"We had information that he was at least focused on the school for some reason, whether it was someone that worked there or Gage", Cohen told the newspaper.
The gunman, Kevin Neal, was killed in a shootout with police. The day before the shootings, he had been the subject of a domestic violence call. They said he had also been stockpiling ammunition. "He'd go off the hinges", she said. He told her something was happening near the school.
"You can have probable cause even if officers don't see a gun or hear shots", she said.
Reached via social media, Gierman described the community as one where "everything is 20 [minutes] out" - the "freeway. walmart ... doctors everything". It's not clear when they will operate on the more serious wound to his upper chest and right arm, she said.
The 31-year-old mother was shot four times in the back and once in the hip.
On Tuesday morning, Phommathep was dropping off three of her four children at school.
"I really don't know what his motive was", Johnston said.