Former Mayor of Fort Bragg, Jere Melo, Shot Near Pot Garden

Jere Melo, former Mayor of Fort Bragg and a City Council Member currently, was shot around 10:30 am yesterday.  Apparently, he and at least one other forester (Melo worked for the Georgia Pacific Lumber Co.) were inspecting property in the rugged hills near the Skunk Train tracks near Northspur when Melo was shot, according to the Press Democrat, by a guard protecting a pot garden.

Dramatically, the Skunk Train passengers heard the sound of the gunfire.  The other forester with Melo managed to escape the gunman and flag down the “speeder” ( a piece of fire patrol equipment that follows the train at a distance.) Another witness also escaped and notified law enforcement via cell phone.  The passengers were evacuated off the train and it was apparently used to shuttle heavily armed law enforcement to the area (including a swat team) where they began looking for Melo and for his assailant, Aaron Bassler a transient from Fort Bragg, CA. A reverse 911 call was sent to residents in the area warning them to stay indoors and be on the lookout for an armed man dressed all in black between Northspur and Sherwood road.

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Various reports have Melo still missing and others have him critically injured.

UPDATE 9:30am:  Skunk Train will not operate today as “the investigation continues.”  Apparently, the shooter has not been found.

UPDATE 10am:  Humboldt Co. Supervisor Mark Lovelace just announced, “Melo is still missing and his condition is unknown. The sheriff’s SWAT team has been sent to the area to search for Melo and for the suspected shooter, identified as Aaron Bassler from Fort Bragg.” (Mark added to the comments that his information is not from official sources.)

UPDATE 12pm:  The people living in the reverse 911 area have NOT been given the all clear.   Apparently, law enforcement is still searching for the suspect. Also, Calstar medical took “EMERGENCY SCENE FLIGHT IN MENDOCINO COUNTY” about midnight.  Speculation that it may be tied to this incident.

(My earlier account here.)

______

Image from Melo’s campaign information on a League of Women Voter’s site

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65 comments

  • Pingback: Forester Stops Skunk Train “Speeder”—Says Partner Shot « REDHEADED BLACKBELT

  • A speeder is just a self powered railcar mainly used for fire protection or any maintenance of way use. The regular size only haul 2 – 4 people. The crew car size ones much more, and used for many more things. For instance the ones Timber Heriatage Association used yesterday are crewcar size. They were used to maintain the track, bridges, haul loggers, school children, and ambulance. They were called speeders because they were much faster than human powered versions of the day.

  • A speeder is just a self powered railcar mainly used for fire protection or any maintenance of way use. The regular size only haul 2 – 4 people. The crew car size ones much more, and used for many more things. For instance the ones Timber Heriatage Association used yesterday are crewcar size. They were used to maintain the track, bridges, haul loggers, school children, and ambulance. They were called speeders because they were much faster than human powered versions of the day.

  • We were on the train. The train was held at Northspur since the police had closed the tracks while they searched for the shooter. The original plan was to run the train east to Willits and put the passengers on buses back to Fort Bragg. However, the railroad needed to run another locomotive from FB to Northspur to help the train up the steep grade to Willits. The police then decided they would not allow this locomotive through the area. The plan was changed and the train was run west 2 miles to Camp Mendocino (accompanied by FB police with automatic rifles) where buses were waiting to return us to Fort Bragg. The total delay was about 4 hours, but the Skunk people did a great job, keeping the passengers informed and supplying free food and drink. It must have been a logistical nightmare to round up enough buses for over 200 passengers and get them down the steep dirt roads to Camp Mendocino but they pulled it off.

  • We were on the train. The train was held at Northspur since the police had closed the tracks while they searched for the shooter. The original plan was to run the train east to Willits and put the passengers on buses back to Fort Bragg. However, the railroad needed to run another locomotive from FB to Northspur to help the train up the steep grade to Willits. The police then decided they would not allow this locomotive through the area. The plan was changed and the train was run west 2 miles to Camp Mendocino (accompanied by FB police with automatic rifles) where buses were waiting to return us to Fort Bragg. The total delay was about 4 hours, but the Skunk people did a great job, keeping the passengers informed and supplying free food and drink. It must have been a logistical nightmare to round up enough buses for over 200 passengers and get them down the steep dirt roads to Camp Mendocino but they pulled it off.

  • Any word on what kind of shape the shooting victim is in? Was he killed or wounded?

  • Any word on what kind of shape the shooting victim is in? Was he killed or wounded?

  • Does anyone know if Jere Melo was killed, or just injured?

  • Does anyone know if Jere Melo was killed, or just injured?

  • I just got emai from friend that Jere Melo was killed. This is not official, though

  • I just got emai from friend that Jere Melo was killed. This is not official, though

  • I am hearing that he was killed and that his body was left at the site but that doesn’t sound credible. I’m doing what I can to find more information.

  • I am hearing that he was killed and that his body was left at the site but that doesn’t sound credible. I’m doing what I can to find more information.

  • Note 10 am update above. Melo is still missing.

  • Note 10 am update above. Melo is still missing.

  • Kym, I don’t have any inside line on this information. I am hearing the same unconfirmed reports as you are. I am hoping the reports that Jere is dead are not true, but we will all have to wait until there is some official confirmation one way or another.

  • Kym, I don’t have any inside line on this information. I am hearing the same unconfirmed reports as you are. I am hoping the reports that Jere is dead are not true, but we will all have to wait until there is some official confirmation one way or another.

  • Jere Melo was apparently killed according to this breaking update from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20110828/articles/110829536&tc=yahoo

  • Jere Melo was apparently killed according to this breaking update from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20110828/articles/110829536&tc=yahoo

  • Someone just posted this on the Fort Bragg Advocate’s Facebook page: “Yes for those who are truely worried he was comfired dead late this morning. this is not a rumor i am his granddaughter and was we have been called by the police”

  • Someone just posted this on the Fort Bragg Advocate’s Facebook page: “Yes for those who are truely worried he was comfired dead late this morning. this is not a rumor i am his granddaughter and was we have been called by the police”

  • The shooter’s picture was just posted at the Mendocino Sheriff’s website here: http://www.mendocinosheriff.com/

    He remains at large, not far from where I type this now. We’re staying indoors today.

    Thanks for your coverage Kym, L.

  • The shooter’s picture was just posted at the Mendocino Sheriff’s website here: http://www.mendocinosheriff.com/

    He remains at large, not far from where I type this now. We’re staying indoors today.

    Thanks for your coverage Kym, L.

  • Picture of Aaron Bassler posted http://www.mendocinosheriff.com/

  • Picture of Aaron Bassler posted http://www.mendocinosheriff.com/

  • Aaron is a long time local who has been a blight on our community for some time and unfortunately is still at large, the helis and planes are still flying all over the Fort Bragg area looking for him, everyone up Sherwood Road is staying indoors if they have any sense at all. I assume the Sheriff has the canine patrols on his scent as well, and the law enforcement response has been huge, they should be commended for their serious and vast response to this tragedy.

    I’m sick about the loss of Jere, we worked together on city issues and I greatly respected him.
    Derek H.
    Planning Commissioner City of Fort Bragg

    • Thank you. I have heard such good things about Mr. Melo from people across the political spectrum and journalists.

      I’m hearing that the helicopters have stopped and the train is running again. Please let us know if you hear anything that will allow people in the area to feel safe again.

  • Aaron is a long time local who has been a blight on our community for some time and unfortunately is still at large, the helis and planes are still flying all over the Fort Bragg area looking for him, everyone up Sherwood Road is staying indoors if they have any sense at all. I assume the Sheriff has the canine patrols on his scent as well, and the law enforcement response has been huge, they should be commended for their serious and vast response to this tragedy.

    I’m sick about the loss of Jere, we worked together on city issues and I greatly respected him.
    Derek H.
    Planning Commissioner City of Fort Bragg

    • Thank you. I have heard such good things about Mr. Melo from people across the political spectrum and journalists.

      I’m hearing that the helicopters have stopped and the train is running again. Please let us know if you hear anything that will allow people in the area to feel safe again.

  • This is a sad day, my heart aches for his family, Jere was one in a million. What is happening in this community is getting out of hand. RIP JERE

  • This is a sad day, my heart aches for his family, Jere was one in a million. What is happening in this community is getting out of hand. RIP JERE

  • Jere Melo was fatally shot yesterday morning. His body was left at the site until this morning. There were NOT 2 witnesses. My good friend was with Jere, and was lucky to escape alive. He called on his cell phone and ran to the tracks. He is injured, however not from being shot, and extremely traumatized. Please keep both families in your thoughts.

    • Sarah, thank you! Every account I heard was unclear on whether there were 1 or 2 people with Jere Melo. I appreciate the help understanding what happened.

  • Jere Melo was fatally shot yesterday morning. His body was left at the site until this morning. There were NOT 2 witnesses. My good friend was with Jere, and was lucky to escape alive. He called on his cell phone and ran to the tracks. He is injured, however not from being shot, and extremely traumatized. Please keep both families in your thoughts.

    • Sarah, thank you! Every account I heard was unclear on whether there were 1 or 2 people with Jere Melo. I appreciate the help understanding what happened.

  • I haven’t heard helicopters in a while and I can hear the train right now. Does that mean they found him?

  • I haven’t heard helicopters in a while and I can hear the train right now. Does that mean they found him?

  • Pingback: Mendocino Police Release Photo of Suspect in Former Mayor’s Killing « REDHEADED BLACKBELT

  • Pingback: Mendocino Police Release Photo of Suspect in Former Mayor’s Killing « REDHEADED BLACKBELT

  • May everyone stay safe for the duration of the rest of this horrific event. My heart goes out to the Melo family and the others ….

  • May everyone stay safe for the duration of the rest of this horrific event. My heart goes out to the Melo family and the others ….

  • Simone : The train is being used to ferry law enforcement to and from the incident area, according to Robert Pinoli of the Skunk Train, no public trains are running today.

  • Simone : The train is being used to ferry law enforcement to and from the incident area, according to Robert Pinoli of the Skunk Train, no public trains are running today.

  • As of this posting, the sheriff says stay indoors if you are in the alert area, Bassler is still at large and apparently has nothing to lose, so a hostage situation could occur.

    Stay inside, keep the doors locked until you get the “All Clear” robo-call from the Sheriff.

  • As of this posting, the sheriff says stay indoors if you are in the alert area, Bassler is still at large and apparently has nothing to lose, so a hostage situation could occur.

    Stay inside, keep the doors locked until you get the “All Clear” robo-call from the Sheriff.

  • Marzel Klugherz-Zetwick

    This is a great loss to our community.

    • Jere’s loss is a huge one. He was so supportive and kind to both people and animals.
      He gave so much to the entire community. My condolences to his family. He will be greatly missed.

  • Marzel Klugherz-Zetwick

    This is a great loss to our community.

    • Jere’s loss is a huge one. He was so supportive and kind to both people and animals.
      He gave so much to the entire community. My condolences to his family. He will be greatly missed.

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