Three dead in California school shooting

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A series of shootings in rural northern California have left five people dead - including the gunman, authorities say.

The shooting happened at or near an elementary school in Rancho Tehama around 8:00 am. local time.

Johnston said he was told the suspected shooter was killed by law enforcement gunfire.

Two hospitals said they were treating a total of seven gunshot victims, including at least three children.

"One of the teachers came running out of the building and told us to all run inside because there was a shooter coming", Ferreira told Redding, California, television station KRCR. "They went around the community shooting at the schools!" Another child was shot while driving with a woman, who also was wounded, Johnston said.

The shooter is understood to have been killed by law enforcement authorities.

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Local news reports said the incident began as a domestic dispute that escalated.

Matray says although the shooting occurred before school started, there were already kids on campus. Police recovered a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns from the scene.

An official at the Corning Elementary School District confirmed the elementary school in Rancho Tehama is on lockdown.

The FBI has confirmed it will assist in the investigation. Johnston said the school had been cleared by 10 a.m. but he did not have any information about the victims there. Flint said he and his roommate told authorities that their neighbor was acting "crazy" and threatening them.

"The insane thing is the neighbor has been shooting a lot of bullets lately - hundreds of rounds, large magazines", Flint said. "We offer our condolences to the families who lost loved ones and unite with all Californians in grief".