Fort Bragg City Councilman Jere Melo, 69, was shot and killed Saturday morning as he and another man hiked into the woods about four miles from town, near Highway 1. They were investigating a report of a marijuana field along the Noyo River, in the rugged woodlands that are owned by Campbell Timber Management, the company Melo worked for. The mayor of Fort Bragg, Dave Turner, says Melo discovered a man living and growing marijuana on the property. Melo's coworker, who was with him at the time, managed to escape and call for help after Melo was shot.
The suspect's name is Aaron Bassler, 35, a transient who's been identified by Mendocino County sheriffs as having had numerous earlier run-ins with the law, including "crashing a truck into a Fort Bragg middle school tennis court." Bassler's on the loose, and considered armed and dangerous.