Mom Who Used Her Body As Shield During School Shooting Had Calls For Help Ignored By Bystanders

A North Carolina mother was injured while shielding her son during a school shooting perpetrated by one of their neighbors. Although passers-by ignored her cries for help, she was able to get herself and her children to safety.

On November 14th, Kevin Janson Neal killed his wife and two of his neighbors before embarking on a 25-minute shooting spree through Rancho Tehama Reserve. After a joyride in a stolen Ford F-150 pickup, Neal drove to the nearby elementary school, ramming the gates to get in. Prevented from entering any of the classrooms by the quick lockdown procedures, he shot at the outside of the building for six minutes. He was killed in a shootout with police.

As Phommathep reached into her glove box to get her handgun, Neal drove away towards the local school. She then “floored it as hard as she could,” towards a gas station, where the family yelled for help. Four people completely ignored her, including one woman who told Phommathep that she couldn’t help because “she only had a two-seater and she was late for work.”

After failing to recruit help at the gas station, the family drove until they were able to flag down a sheriff’s car and get assistance. They were taken to the hospital, where Johnny Jr. and Jack were both given minor treatments and Phommathep underwent a four-hour surgery.

Neal, who killed five people and injured more than twelve during his shooting spree, was well-known to the Phommathep family. He frequently got into fights with a mutual neighbor, Danny Elliott, where he would threaten to kill Elliott’s seven-year-old son. Several times, Neal’s neighbors had to contact authorities about him firing guns after dark on his property. The fights had escalated in recent months, and Elliott’s girlfriend had taken out a restraining order against Neal.

During the shooting, Neal killed both Elliott and his mother Diana Steele before heading to the elementary school where Elliott’s son went. Although the town’s Assistant Sheriff said he was “unsure” why Neal went to the school, a spokesperson for District Attorney Gregg Cohen said that the DA’s office believes Neal went there looking for Elliott’s son.

The Phommathep family are still recovering from their wounds, both physical and emotional. Johnny Jr. and Jack were both treated and released, but Phommathep herself is still in the hospital, recovering from her surgeries. She is expected to remain in physical therapy for a year but is enthusiastic about getting better so she can be with her children. “I married a tough cookie,” Phommathep’s husband told reporters. “Those are her baby cubs. I told her, ‘You did the best anybody could do.’ I love her for that. She protected our kids.”

Emily Pollock

For more news like this, click ‘NEXT POST.’ And why not ‘SHARE’ on Facebook?

More From Bestie