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Suspect in Fort Bragg killings photographed

September 27, 2011 |  7:27 am

Fort Bragg Councilman Jere Melo 
The suspect in two killings near Fort Bragg, Calif., on the run for four weeks, has been photographed breaking into a vacation home in the area, a Northern California newspaper reported.

Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that one of the surveillance cameras his department had set up in the mountains east of Fort Bragg had taken a picture of Aaron Bassler carrying an assault rifle and breaking into a cabin.

Bassler, 35, is wanted in the August murders of Matthew Coleman, 45, a land restoration worker, and Jere Melo, 69, a Fort Bragg councilman and former mayor. Bassler's father said his son is schizophrenic and delusional.

He has been on the run since Melo's death on Aug. 27, as teams of deputy sheriffs and state and federal agents have combed the hills for him.

Allman told the Press Democrat that several vacation cabins in the area have been broken into in recent weeks, and that at least one rifle and one shotgun have been stolen. Allman told the newspaper that he believes that Bassler remains in the mountainous areas between Fort Bragg and the town of Willits, about 30 miles east.


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Photo: A picture of Fort Bragg City Councilman Jere Melo is seen along with Vice Mayor Meg Courtney, left, Councilman Doug Hammerstrom, rear left, and Mayor Dave Turner, right, during Labor Day festivities in Fort Bragg. Credit: Kent Porter / Santa Rosa Press Democrat