Jessie Sanders, the head custodian at Rancho Tehama Elementary, Rancho Tehama Reserve, California, is being hailed as a hero by the school district superintendent and the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office after diverting the attention of Kevin Neal, a shooter, who had already killed his wife and neighbor, with intentions of killing students at the school, according to CNN.
The Corning Union Elementary School District superintendent, Richard Fitzpatrick, credits Sanders with distracting the gunman long enough for the kids to get to safety, according to CNN.com.
Shortly before Neal arrived, the school went on lockdown, potentially saving many. However, not all of the students had made it inside after being dropped off when he arrived. Teachers at the school began frantically herding the students into classrooms.
That’s when Jessie Sanders, the head custodian at Rancho Tehama Elemantary, ran toward the gunfire and yelled “Why don’t you shoot this way instead?” at the gunman, Neal reportedly fired 10 rounds at him before his gun jammed and a bullet grazed his arm. The list of victims included Sanders’ best friend, according to the Tehama County sheriff Office.
Before moving to the school, Neal killed his neighbor who had a restraining order against Kevin at the time, before rampaging through the town, targeting randoms and working his way through Rancho Tehama Elementary, according to Google News.
Tehama County Police found Kevin Neal’s wife’s body under the floor of their home. “She was an obvious victim of several gunshot wounds,” stated the Tehama County Assistant Sheriff in a public statement. Neal had been out of an assault with a deadly weapon charge on bail during the time of the incident according to Tehama County Sheriff’s Office.