KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
At least five people are dead in what authorities are describing as a shooting rampage in a rural community in Northern California. Another 10 were injured. A gunman opened fire at several different places in the Rancho Tehama community earlier this morning, including an elementary school before he was killed by authorities. NPR's Nathan Rott is here with me in the studio. He's following the story. Hey, Nate.
NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: Hey, Kelly.
MCEVERS: We are just several hours out from this incident, so there's still a lot we don't know yet, I understand. But from what you have reported, what can you tell us about what happened?
ROTT: So it sounds like all of this started around 8 a.m. this morning in this rural community about two hours north of Sacramento. That's when authorities started getting phone calls about an active shooter, shots fired at multiple places in Rancho Tehama, including the community's elementary school.
I talked to a woman, Tiffany Rodgers, who runs a coffee shop not far from the school, who says that her husband ran in around 8, saying that he heard gunshots outside. That's not terribly uncommon, she says. It's a rural area. But the number of gunshots was alarming. So they both went out, and she described hearing more than a hundred rounds being fired and people, including children, screaming.
Authorities say that two police officers engaged the gunman not long after. It's unclear where exactly they engaged him, if it was at the school or somewhere else - but that the gunman was shot and killed in that exchange and that they were able to recover three weapons, a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns from the scene.
MCEVERS: Is it known yet who the gunman was or if there was a motive?
ROTT: We have no idea. Well, I shouldn't say we have no idea. Authorities seem to. The Tehama County Sheriff's Office - the Tehama County Sheriff's Office, I should say, say that they believe they've identified the shooter, but they're not saying who he is outside of being an adult male. Here's a clip from the county's undersheriff, Phil Johnston from a presser earlier today.
(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)
PHIL JOHNSTON: He has had prior contacts with law enforcement. We're still looking into those issues. We are aware of reports of a domestic violence incident (inaudible) this subject yesterday.
ROTT: Now, Johnston didn't elaborate on those reports, but that sounds familiar to the mass shooting that we were talking about just a week ago in south Texas where the shooter did have a history of domestic violence that authorities believe was part of his motive. Authorities are not saying that here. It sounds like there was an initial incident, an initial shooting that happened, and then the gunman just started targeting random people in the community. They're investigating seven different scenes where the shootings took place.
MCEVERS: Wow. And the victims - I understand that the five people dead do include the shooter, right?
ROTT: Yes, the gunman is included in that count. We don't know who the other victims are at this point. The sheriff's office says that 10 people have been hospitalized, including some children. We just heard that at least three of those people have since been released, so that's good news. At least one kid was shot at the elementary school and was transported to a nearby hospital. Another child was shot with her mother in a truck on a roadway outside of town or into the town.
At a presser earlier, the authorities said that those numbers could change as they investigate all these different crime scenes. I mean, we're talking about a very rural area, seven different scenes. And so it's possible that there were other victims that we don't know about. There were a hundred law enforcement officers on the scene. FBI is there, other federal agencies. So we're sure we're going to get more information as the day goes on and as investigators continue to look at this.
MCEVERS: NPR's Nathan Rott, thank you.
ROTT: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.