A Rancho Tehama Reserve pastor a is asking for prayers of healing for his community following a shooting rampage that claimed six lives, injured 10 others, and left the shooter dead.
“I think many of them are in shock, really not understanding that such a tragedy has hit close to home,” said Pastor Stephen May of the Rancho Tehama Community Church.
Sometime after 7 a.m. Tuesday, May recalls arriving to his church to begin the day when he heard gunshots outside.
Police say a domestic incident launched the shooter into an hours long killing rampage, indiscriminately firing through the small town of 1,500 people about 120 miles Northwest of Sacramento.
The gunman shot out the windows of the pastor’s truck, but May was inside the church during the shooting and was unharmed.
However, he worried for his son, a teacher’s aide at the elementary school where two children were shot. His son was found to be OK physically. School staff attended a group counseling session Wednesday to begin mending mental scars.
Armed with two pistols and a semi-automatic rifle, the shooter would hit seven locations including the school before being shot to death by police.
Residents describe Rancho Tehama as a tight knit community where everyone knows everyone. May’s church was preparing for a food drive to help fill the bellies of about 100 homeless in their area. The Pastor says the church hopes to bring together the mourning community to begin the healing process.
“I’ve learned in ministry that you never know what you’ve got to be prepared for,” said May.
The church is hosting a candle light vigil at the Rancho Tehama Recreation Hall at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Counselors will also be available to help the community cope.