Michelle McFadyen was driving to the store with her husband when the couple strayed into the path of a shooting rampage in their small Northern California town.
The gunman, identified by authorities as Kevin Neal, killed Michelle McFadyen, 55, and wounded her husband, Troy McFadyen, 47, both people he randomly picked to shoot after killing his wife and two neighbors. He killed another man at random and wounded at least eight others, including a 6-year-old child shot in the chest at the town’s school.
Neal swerved his vehicle to try and ram the McFadyens’ car head-on, Troy McFayden’s nephew, Eric McFadyen, said Thursday. After running them off the road, Neal parked his vehicle, walked toward them and fired into their car, he said.
“They started running for their lives and that’s when he killed Michelle, and shot my uncle in the legs,” Eric McFadyen said.
Neal walked up to his uncle “to finish him” but his uncle pleaded with him and told him to save his bullets because he would bleed to death. Michelle McFadyen was already dead, he said.
“For whatever reason the guy turned around and that’s when they think he went to the school and started shooting at kids,” Eric McFadyen said.
Shortly after, Eric’s father got a call from Troy.
“He just kept saying, ‘They shot Michelle, she is dead. She is right at my feet, they shot me. I need you here brother, I need you here,'” Eric McFadyen said.
Michelle was a child protective officer and had worked with troubled kids. He’s a pile driver who has worked construction all his life. The couple had been together for at least 15 years, Eric McFadyen said.
“She was his rock,” he said.
Troy has gone through at least two surgeries and doctors were able to save one of his legs, but he has a long recovery ahead and is still re-living Tuesday’s horror, said Eric McFadyen, who has set up a GoFundMe page to help him.
“My father says he goes through times where he is crying his eyes out, and then angry, and then crying his eyes out and he keeps repeating, ‘please don’t shoot my sweetie,'” Eric said.
The Tehama County Sheriff’s Department released the names of all of the victims killed on Thursday night.
Along with Michelle McFadyen, the dead were Danny Lee Elliot, 38, Diana Lee Steele, 68, Joseph Edward McHugh III, 56, and 38-year-old Barbara Ann Gilsan, who was the gunman’s wife.
The victims killed and injured ranged in age from 6 to 68.