Police are still processing what they called a horrific crime scene at Cedarville Rancheria tribal headquarters near Altura, California, after 44-year-old Cherie Rhoades gunned down her brother, niece and nephew at an eviction hearing.
Four people in all were killed, including the tribal leader, Rhoades’s brother, the Associated Press Reported. Two were critically wounded.
Altura police identified the deceased as Angel Moonstar Penn, 19; Glenn Phillip Calonico, 30; Shelia Lynn Russo, 47, and Rurik Daniel Davis, 50. Russo was not related to Rhoades, AP said.
The two wounded survivors were sisters, the Los Angeles Times reported, and they were flown to hospitals in Redding, about 130 miles away. Altura police said in an e-mailed statement that “as of this morning, one victim was still listed in critical condition and the second was alert and talking.”
Rhoades was taken into custody.
“There are no public safety concerns and we have no information indicating there was any other suspects involved at this time,” the police statement said. “Rhoades was being held at the Modoc County Jail on charges of homicide, attempted murder, child endangerment and brandishing a weapon. She has been moved to an undisclosed facility, for her safety.”
Nearby Alturas Indian Rancheria closed their tribal headquarters on Friday out of respect after the Thursday February 20 shooting.
The carnage began at about 3:30 p.m., according to police and witness accounts, when former tribal chairwoman Sherie Lash, also known as Sherie Rhoades, pulled out a 9-millimeter shotgun during a hearing about the potential eviction of her and her son from tribal lands.
A judge who had been remotely attending the hearing via phone could only listen, KTXL-TV reported.
A witness escaped from the offices and ran down the street, covered in blood, to summon police, KRCR-TV reported. When officers arrived they found the 44-year-old Rhoades outside the building, clutching the butcher knife she had grabbed from the kitchen when she ran out of ammunition.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and that the investigators from the California Department of Justice and the California Highway Patrol Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team are helping local police process the crime scene. The victims were scheduled to be autopsied on Friday, according to News-10.
"We're trying to get this thing resolved as quick as possible," Alturas Police Chief Ken Barnes told News10-TV. "So it's, it's a huge impact on our community."