RANCHO TEHAMA, Calif. — Donations are pouring in for Tiffany Phommathep, 31, who was shot while shielding her children from a gunman in Rancho Tehama, Calif. on Nov. 14.
The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office said Kevin Neal, 44, killed five people, including neighbor Danny Elliott and his mother, Diana Steele, in an apparent act of revenge before he shot randomly into vehicles and at people in this tiny, rural community about 130 miles north of Sacramento.
Johnny Phommathep, a neighbor who lived about 200 feet away from Neal, said Neal threatened out loud that he was going to kill Elliott and then go to the elementary school to kill Elliott’s 7-year-old son.
Phommathep’s wife was on her way to drop off their children at school when Neal pulled up next to her and sprayed bullets into her pickup. She told reporters from her hospital bed that she was hit four times in the back and shoulder and once in the stomach.
She said she asked four people for help, but none did. One woman told her she couldn’t help because she only had a two-seater and she was late for work.
Phommathep then drove one mile to a gas station and screamed again for help. Several people stared and did nothing.
She drove several more miles, until she was able to flag down a sheriff’s car. Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston stopped to help.
“She … crawled out, bleeding,” Johnny Phommathep said. “If it wasn’t for him, my wife wouldn’t be here.”
All of their children were hit, one in the calf, another in the foot, and the third one in the neck with hot metal. All of them have been released from the hospital.
“Multiple times I thought I was going to die. But I got woken up by my kids, I stayed awake,” recalled Tiffany Phommathep.
“I married a tough cookie,” said Johnny Phommathep. “Those are her baby cubs. I told her, ‘You did the best anybody could do.’ I love her for that. She protected our kids.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe account (gofundme.com/4po8vq8) to collect donations to cover medical expenses.
Tiffany Nai Phommathep is of Lao origin, her parents came from Laos.
Her parents are born in the Kingdom of Laos and now a Marxist-Leninist state, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.