Authorities were contacted about 8 a.m. regarding "multiple shots fired" in Rancho Tehama, a small area about 135 miles north of Sacramento, according to Phil Johnston, an assistant sheriff in Tehama County.
Law enforcement officers shot to death the gunman, who was among the five people who died in a series of shootings at seven or more locations, according to Redding, California, newspaper the Record Searchlight.
Enloe Medical Center spokeswoman Nicole Johansson told the Associated Press that the hospital was treating at least four victims of the incident, including three minors.
Tiffany's husband, Brian Rodgers, said another witness reported seeing a white pickup drive through the school gate and start shooting.
At least three people have died and a number of primary school students have been wounded after a string of shootings in northern California. A second child and a female adult were shot in a truck, authorities said. "I don't believe it because I wake up, take my kids, feed them cereal and put them in the truck and says 'Let's go to school like a normal day'".
The subject appeared to be "randomly picking targets", Johnston said. The gunman had a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns.
Wounded students were medevaced to nearby hospitals.
The deputy said officers were called to at least five crime scenes. They lived near the unnamed man and said he had been shooting a lot of rounds lately. "We made it aware that this guy is insane and he's been threatening us".
Gov. Jerry brown issued a statement on the shooting, saying: "Anne and I are saddened to hear about today's violence in Tehama County, which shockingly involved schoolchildren".
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