A gunman in California fired at random victims on Tuesday, killing four people at multiple locations and injuring at least one child at an elementary school, police said.
Authorities have not named the shooter but said he was killed by law enforcement officers after firing shots in numerous places in a rural area in northern California, including Tehama elementary school.
“It was very clear at the onset that we had an individual that was randomly picking targets,” said assistant sheriff Phil Johnston, the Associated Press reported.
Two hospitals were treating a total of seven people, including at least three children, according to the AP, which reported that one student was wounded at the school and another child and a woman were hit while driving.
Officials said there were calls of “multiple shots fired” around 8am local time in Rancho Tehama, an area three hours north of San Francisco.
“That evolved to multiple victims and multiple shots at the elementary school,” Johnston told reporters earlier.
Johnston said police were investigating at least five crime scenes, adding: “The school has been cleared. We have the children that were attending school in a safe location.
“We are spread thin,” he said.
Johnston also told reporters that he was “aware” of a domestic violence incident involving the suspect, which neighbors had reported.
Authorities said they recovered a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns.
The shooting happened the same day that family members of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting victims were in court in a case challenging gun companies for marketing and selling an AR-15-style rifle. That weapon was used to kill 20 children and six adults in December 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut, in one of the worst mass shootings in America.
The families face an uphill battle due to a 2005 law that protects gun manufacturers from liability when their weapons are misused by criminals.
The northern California shooting happened less than two weeks after a gunman used an AR-15-style rifle to kill 25 people, including many children, at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. In Las Vegas weeks earlier, 58 people were killed and hundreds more injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.