(RALEIGH-DURHAM, N.C.) — The sister of the suspected gunman who went on a shooting rampage at several northern California locations Tuesday said his mental health had been deteriorating for years.
In an emotional interview, North Carolina resident Sheridan Orr told ABC Raleigh-Durham station WTVD that her brother, Kevin Neal, suffered from paranoia.
“It was always something,” Orr said. “His mental health had slipped.”
She added: “He clearly had no business with firearms and refused to get any help. He wouldn’t even go to government clinics when we would arrange it because he was afraid of the government getting his numbers. It was full-on paranoia and delusion.”
Neal was shot and killed by police Tuesday after allegedly initiating multiple shootings that morning that killed four people and injured several more. Authorities later determined that Neal’s wife had also been killed — likely the night before — which may have sparked the rampage.
In the past, the family had received calls from Neal allegedly threatening to hurt himself “all the time,” Orr said. He would say worrying phrases such as “I just can’t take it anymore,” and “I’m just going to run into the woods,” Orr said.
Orr said she never thought her brother would do anything like what happened this week, however.
Neal grew up in Cary, North Carolina, and attended East Carolina University, WTVD reported. He moved to California 12 years ago, but his mother and sister remained in North Carolina.
At the time of the shooting, Neal was out on bail for a January arrest, in which he was charged with assault of a deadly weapon, authorities said. His mother had posted his bond and spent $10,000 in lawyer fees from that incident, WTVD reported.
Police believe that Neal was looking to kill people during the string of shootings, which included him firing about 30 rounds into an elementary school in Corning, California, about 130 miles north of Sacramento.
WTVD spoke with Orr just an hour after a California sheriff notified the family of Neal’s death in the driveway to her home, where she apologized to the loved ones of the victims of the shootings.
“We’re so sorry, and we can’t imagine what they’re dealing with,” she said. “… I just don’t know what to say other than our hearts break.”
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