RANCHO TEHAMA RESERVE — A year after a gunman took the lives of five residents of Tehama County, a number of civil rights lawsuits have been filed against the Tehama County Sheriff's Office, all of which allege that law enforcement did not take the necessary precautions to prevent the crime.
Catie Barr, of Barr & Mudford, is representing the survivors of the incident and spoke with the Northern California Record concerning the lack of action from law enforcement.
"We're charting new constitutional grounds, but I think that there was obviously a criminal protective order and a restraining order, and if there is a criminal protective order like the one that was issued against [the suspected gunman Kevin] Neal then if they have probable cause to believe he was violating that, then they are required to arrest him," Barr told the Record. "It is our understanding that there was a lot of information including debris of ammunition in his front yard."
Barr explained that according to the sheriff's office, they had been conducting surveillance on Neal but claimed that there was no evidence that he was in violation of his restraining order. According to SacBee.com, law enforcement had been called to the shooter's home 21 times in the year leading up to the shootings.
Catie Barr Courtesy of Barr and Mudford
"There were quite a few complaints that weren't listened to, regarding Mr. Neal and the danger that he posed to the community, and I think that it was enhanced by the fact that he knew that there was not going to be a response from law enforcement," Barr said.
Barr explained that her firm had only just filed the complaint and that there was still a lot of information that they were trying to gather.
"I know that he was a terror in the area and people were afraid of him and didn't have any way of protecting themselves," Barr said.