A Man Says He Risked His Life To Stop The California Shooter From Firing At A School

"I would've rather died then tell my family that I didn't try."

The death toll from Tuesday's shooting in northern California has risen to six, but according to multiple local news outlets, it may have been much worse if not for the quick thinking of a local man named Jessie Sanders. ABC News reports the shooting occurred over several hours and in multiple locations, including at Rancho Tehama Elementary School, just before classes were scheduled to begin.

According to KTVU, Sanders learned of the shooting from his sister while it was still in progress, and made a beeline for the school. "The dude was shooting through the windows," Sanders said of what he saw when he first approached the building. Thinking of the students and teachers inside, Sanders knew he needed to distract the armed individual as quickly as possible.


"Why don't you shoot this way instead?" Sanders recalled asking the gunman, per an interview with Sacramento station ABC 10. The gunman complied, and Sanders told the outlet he even shouted "ha ha" at the shooter after he missed several times in an effort to antagonize him. 

After attempting to run Sanders over with his car, the shooter once again pointed his gun at him and grazed him with a bullet, but Sanders wasn't deterred. "At least I knew he wasn't at the school no more," Sanders told KTVU of the gunman, who he knew.

Sanders, who explained to ABC 10 that many of his own relatives were inside the school, added, "I didn't think, I did."

Though many have been quick to laud Sanders for his swift actions, he's not looking for praise. "I don't feel like a hero," he concluded to ABC 10. "I just feel like I couldn't live with myself. I would've rather died then tell my family that I didn't try."

And believe it or not, Sanders likely wasn't the only person who saved lives on November 14. As the shooter approached Rancho Tehama Elementary School, the building quickly went into lockdown — a decision that most definitely spared the close-knit community plenty of heartache. 

"School staff is commended for their courageous and professional response to this terrible incident," the school district told CNN in a statement. "The school was able to go on lockdown very quickly and effectively, which prevented any further injury or violence."


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