A gunman killed four people in a remote Northern California community on Tuesday morning, but a much bigger death toll was averted when the killer was unable to break into an elementary school.
The staff at tiny Rancho Tehama Elementary School west of Corning moved quickly when they heard gunfire nearby just before classes were set to begin, Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said.
Doors were locked and students dashed inside and hit the floors underneath desks and tables.
The shooter, who was killed by police at another site, rammed a stolen pickup through the school’s locked gate, walked into the schoolyard, and fired his rifle through windows and walls.
He tried doors but the buildings at the Rancho Tehama Reserve school were secure. Only an outside bathroom was open, but the gunman found no one there.