Tehama County prosecutors have been by no means informed that the gunman who killed 5 individuals in a rampage this week had for months earlier than commonly fired off weapons at his dwelling regardless of a choose’s order that he flip in his weapons, the district legal professional stated Friday.
Neighbors of the gunman, Kevin Janson Neal, 44, stated they complained to police for months about him firing weapons and threatening them, with one resident even submitting papers in court docket.
Tehama County Dist. Atty. Gregg Cohen stated Friday that had prosecutors recognized concerning the complaints, his workplace might have filed a movement to extend Neal’s $160,000 bond or filed misdemeanor costs for violating the court docket order that barred him from having weapons.
“I wasn’t aware of the fact that he was continuing to shoot,” Cohen stated. “We would need some kind of report, some kind of proof that it was happening. Just someone saying he didn’t turn in all his guns.”
Cohen didn’t badign blame for the communication breakdown however stated that the primary he had heard of the neighbors’ complaints was Wednesday, a day after Neal’s rampage.
“That is the first time,” he stated. “I don’t want to throw the sheriff’s office under the bus.”
Tehama County sheriff’s officers have stated they investigated the stories of gunfire however might by no means discover Neal or catch him within the act, regardless of at the very least twice putting his trailer underneath surveillance.
The revelations come amid questions within the small city of Rancho Tehama about whether or not extra might have been carried out about Neal’s conduct within the months earlier than the killings.
On Tuesday, Neal took a semiautomatic rifle he’d manufactured in his storage and two pistols that have been registered to another person and killed three of his neighbors and a lady on the road in a cross-town rampage that ended with deputies taking pictures him to dying in a gun battle.
Neal had killed his spouse the night time earlier than and hid her physique underneath the ground. After killing his neighbors on Tuesday, he drove to a close-by elementary faculty the place certainly one of his neighbor’s youngsters attended and shot into a number of buildings.
Neal’s penchant for firing weapons and threatening neighbors was well-known on this rural nook of Northern California.
In February and once more in March, a neighborhood court docket had ordered him to show in all of his weapons as a part of a brief restraining order granted to residents who claimed Neal was harbading them.
Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston stated Wednesday that his division tried to cope with Neal’s gunfire.
“Our officers would go up there and investigate those cases and could not come up with one shooting or a firearm,” Johnston stated in an interview Friday. “We highly suspected he was, but we needed to see it to make an application for further action against this individual.”
In the roughly one dozen taking pictures stories Johnston stated have been generated between Neal’s arrest in February and the shootings on Tuesday, none particularly cited seeing Neal with a gun. Deputies repeatedly pulled over Neal and neighbors and searched their automobiles for weapons, however by no means discovered any, he stated.
Neal filed paperwork displaying he had turned in a single pistol and claimed he had no extra. Johnston stated that was suspicious.
“We were concerned. People lie to the court and lie to police all the time,” he stated.
One of the weapons utilized in Tuesday’s bloodbath was registered to Neal’s spouse, Barbara Glisan, Johnston stated.
“The spouse is supposed to certify that they keep firearms locked away from the restrained party,” Johnston stated. “There’s no authority in place to ensure that…. I think it should be reviewed legislatively and see if we can tighten it up.”
But, he stated, “a criminal element always finds a way.”
“I’m very sad for our community. I honest to God wish there would be some way that we could prevent these things from happening in our country.”
Court information present that neighbors continued to complain about gunfire and different issues with Neal for a lot of the yr. Another choose issued the identical weapons order in October.
Some specialists stated they consider extra might have been carried out to implement these orders.
“I’m always a little hesitant to second-guess law enforcement, but if they received credible reports that Neal was shooting on his property … then that seems as though they would have had probable case mandating an arrest,” stated Kelly Behre, director of the Family Protection and Legal Assistance Clinic at UC Davis, in an electronic mail.
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eight:30 p.m.: This article was up to date with feedback from the Tehama County badistant sheriff.
This article was initially printed at four:50 p.m.