California shooting survivor: "No one would help me"

Lester Mason
November 18, 2017

Feitelberg started a fundraiser on GoFundMe hoping to get some help to pay for attaining custody of her grandson, getting counseling for him, in addition to clothes, schooling and other necessities.

Stories of heroism are emerging after staff members at the Rancho Tehama Elementary School were able to lockdown the building before a gunman on a deadly shooting rampage was able to enter.

She's the mother who was shot by Kevin Neal on Tuesday morning as she was driving her children to school.

"I'm prior military", Phommathep said from the hospital, where his family is recovering, his voice cracking. "I've been through combat. It's just a little different when it's your wife and kids and you can't do anything about it".

Her husband Johnny said he is extremely proud of his wife for her bravery.

Police at the scene where a gunman went on a shooting spree at Rancho Tehama Reserve, near Corning, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.

All three children in the vehicle were injured in the shooting. She was shot five times, four near her heart and once through her hip, cutting up her intestines in three places. Another bullet tore through her torso, lodging in her intestine. As shots rang out, she threw herself on top of her 10-year-old son sitting in the passenger seat, shielding him from the bullets. He was shot twice in the calf. Six-year-old Alejandro Hernandez was shot in the chest and foot. "A 7-year-old should never have to go through what he's gone through. I got my kids in the vehicle, was dropping them off, made a stop at the stop sign", said Phommathep. "She said the gun felt like it was a thousand pounds, and it was like there was lava in the back of her shoulder".

Students were outside playing and waiting for the bell to ring when gunshots could be heard. She was bleeding and losing consciousness.

"I didn't know what was happening and this boy was like, 'Get down, get down!' He did not want some people to get hurt".

Unable to find willing aid, Phommathep got back in the auto and drove five miles before spotting a sheriff's vehicle.

While the NBC piece repeats Tehama County assistant sheriff Phil Johnston's claim on Wednesday that Neal was not prohibited from owning firearms, one that has since been contradicted by court records, it did not repeat his claim from the same press conference that Neal's home-built guns were, in fact, illegal.

Gage was inside a school when a gunman opened fire on Tuesday. Source Supplied
Gage was inside a school when a gunman opened fire on Tuesday. Source Supplied

"I'm supposed to be the anchor, the rock of the family, in one swoop, I nearly lost my whole family", said Phommathep."If anything, she exceeded what I could have exceeded". "If it wasn't for him, my wife wouldn't be here". Nobody helped. One man said he would call 911 but there wasn't more he could do. "If we can lock down and we can eliminate ourselves as an apparent target, our kids can go home at the end". "Or run out of ammo", said Phommathep.

The gunman was no stranger.

Johnny and Tiffany and their four sons moved to Rancho Tehama from Sacramento a few years ago, to get out of the city. It's nearly like "we threw a dart in the middle of nowhere" to choose where to live, Johnny Phommathep said.

"In the middle of the night, they'd get into screaming matches", Phommathep said.

Later he said their two children attend the school.

Law enforcement officials have said Neal's rampage appeared random.

A legal secretary in Cohen's office said in an email that the district attorney believed that Neal "didn't pick the school randomly".

Phommathep said it seemed as if Neal was baiting authorities, "testing their response time to see how fast they come". They did not confront the assailant nor did they use a weapon to fend him off. "He said he's going to kill your kid".

The next morning, at around 7:45 a.m., Neal headed out into the tiny community of 1,500, armed and ready to kill, according to authorities.

Phommathep said one of his boys was in the same class as Elliott's son. Luckily, Neal bypassed her classroom door. He said she huddled on the floor during the gunfire, sending out emails. She had been critically wounded in the shooting, but she was conscious and was up and walking. One woman told her she "couldn't help me because she only had a two-seater and she was late for work", Phommathep said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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