The shooter was killed by police, who recovered a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns. A number of students had been airlifted to nearby hospitals.

New York Police officers are seen in New York, US, November 11, 2017.
New York Police officers are seen in New York, US, November 11, 2017. (Reuters)

A gunman carrying a semi-automatic weapon and two handguns opened fire at multiple locations across a small northern California community on Tuesday, killing four people before he was slain by police.

At least 10 other people were wounded, including two children at an elementary school near the small town of Corning, about 100 miles north of Sacramento, where the suspect was slain, according to police and local media.

Shots were fired at Rancho Tehama Elementary school and some people were injured there but no students or staff members died, Corning Union Elementary School District administrative assistant Jeanine Quist said.

Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston told the KCRA news network that the assailant, was killed by police following the shooting, which began around 8:00 am at a home in Tehama County and continued at the Rancho Tehama Elementary School.

Area resident Brian Flint told a local newspaper the suspected gunman was a neighbour of his, a former convict in his 50s "who has been shooting a lot of bullets lately, hundreds of rounds, large magazines."

"We made it aware that this guy is crazy and he's been threatening us," he told the Redding Record Searchlight.

"I know that we have medevacked (airlifted) a number of students, I know that the school has been cleared, I know that we have the children that were attending school in a safe location at this time," Johnston, of the Tehama County Sheriff's Office told reporters.


Some 100 law enforcement officers responded to the shooting, and students at the school have been safely evacuated, he added.

The Redding Record Searchlight said among the wounded was a six-year-old who suffered two gunshot wounds and another child shot in the leg.

It said initial reports indicated the shooter had barricaded himself inside a building before being shot by police.

Katrina Gierman, who lives near the school, told the paper that she heard the gunshots and had barricaded herself in her home with her newborn son.

"I have the right to bear arms, and I will protect my son if I have to," she said.

The elementary school is located on the outskirts of Corning, an olive oil-producing town of around 8,000 people about 100 miles (160 kilometres) north of the state capital Sacramento.

The shooting coincides with a new flare-up of the long-running debate on America's epidemic of gun violence and the ready accessibility of high-powered weapons, less than 10 days after a gunman shot dead 26 people in a church in Texas.

More than 33,000 people die annually in the United States from gun-related deaths - two thirds of them suicides - according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Source: AFP