Friday, February 21, 2014
ALTURAS, Calif. (AP) — A former tribal chairwoman allegedly opened fire Thursday at an American Indian tribal headquarters in northern California, killing four people and wounding two others in a gun and knife attack, police said.
Alturas Police Chief Ken Barnes said 44-year-old Cherie Lash Rhoades was taken into custody after the bloody attack at the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Office in Alturas, about 55 miles south of the Oregon border and 35 miles west of the Nevada line.
Barnes said in a report carried by KRCR-TV that the four dead include a 19-year-old woman, a 30-year-old man, a 45-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man. The police chief said one victim is the tribe's leader.
Tribal members were meeting about evicting Rhoades and her son from property at the Rancheria which, according to its website, is a federally recognized tribe with 35 members, the police official said.
The station's report said that Rhoades allegedly pulled out a gun and shot four people in the building and a fifth person who tried to flee. After running out of ammunition, she grabbed a butcher knife and stabbed another person.
One person escaped the building, covered in victims' blood, and ran to the Alturas police station to alert the authorities, the station reported.
When officers arrived, Barnes said, the suspect was outside the building, running and clutching a knife in her hands, but she was quickly subdued.
Authorities said she faces murder and attempted murder charges.
Police said the stabbing victim and one of the shooting victims — both women — were taken to a Redding hospital where they were in critical condition, the Redding Record-Searchlight reported.
The bodies of the deceased are still in the building, authorities said.
Alturas, the seat of Modoc County, is a town with a population of about 2,800 and is known for its remote wilderness and natural beauty.
Officials said Rhoades is a former leader at the Cedarville Rancheria. The Rancheria owns 26 acres in Cedarville, Calif., and many of its families reside there, according to the tribe's website.
The tribal office in Alturas hosts tribal events and activities like council meetings, youth tutoring and holiday celebrations.
Information from: KRCR-TV.