US Police continue search for a motive after a shooting spree left five dead in a northern California town, terrifying residents as the gunman opened fire on an elementary school.
An official with the Tehama County Sheriff's office said the shooter was among the dead. None of the slain were children "as far as we're aware of", assistant sheriff Phil Johnston told reporters.
The alleged assailant was killed by "law enforcement bullets", Johnston said. He added that officers had recovered a semiautomatic rifle and two handguns believed to have been used by the shooter.
After police responded to a call at around 8am local time, Johnston said, the suspect engaged in a 45-minute spree that saw him conduct "several random drive-by shootings of residences".
Greater bloodshed was averted, Johnston said, by "the quick thinking and staff at our elementary school" who swiftly locked down the school after hearing approaching gunshots.
After the shooter rammed his vehicle through a school fence and strode onto the campus armed with a semiautomatic rifle, Johnson said, the shooter "gave it up" upon encountering locked rooms and departed.
"This incident, as tragic and bad as it is, could have been so much worse," Johnston told reporters. He added that the actions of staff "saved countless lives and children", although he said "one or two students" were injured when the assailant fired into classrooms.
After departing the school, Johnston said, the believed assailant crashed into another car and then stole the vehicle of someone who engaged him. He then opened fire on a woman who was driving with her children, "severely" injuring her. Officers later engaged and killed the suspect, Johnston said.
The suspected shooter acted alone, Johnston said, and he reiterated an earlier statement that the assailant was targeting people "at random".
"We don't know what the motives are for this individual to go on this shooting spree", he added.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team