Alert staff, school lockdown, credited with stopping mass school shooting in Northern California

Although four people were killed, and 10 others were wounded by a gunman targeting a Northern California elementary school on Tuesday, authorities said the incident could have been more tragic.

According to Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston, when school administrators heard gunshots ringing out nearly 1/4 mile from the school, the school immediately went into lockdown mode without the prompting of police. This, Johnston said, prevented an even worse tragedy at the school.

“The shooter took his vehicle and rammed their fence and gate and entered the (school) grounds on foot with a semi-automatic rifle,” Johnston said. “It appears he couldn’t make access to the room and he gave up and reentered the vehicle.”

Johnston confirmed that no children from the school were killed, but one was wounded. 

Johnston said that after being thwarted at the school, he went on a rampage in the community, as there were seven different shooting locations throughout Rancho Tehama.

The Corning Union School District commended the effort of its employees. 

"School staff is commended for their courageous and professional response to this terrible incident. The school was able to go on lockdown very quickly and effectively, which prevented any further injury or violence," the district said in a statement.

Rancho Tehama Elementary School educates students Kindergarten through Grade 5.

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