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Report: Councilman shooting suspect tended opium
Report: Suspect in shooting of councilman tended opium while living for months in Calif woods
By The Associated Press

FORT BRAGG, Calif. (AP) ' Authorities say a suspect in the shooting of a Northern California city councilman had been tending opium poppy plants while living for months in the woods.

Mendocino County sheriff's officials told the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa on Monday ( that 35-year-old Aaron Bassler was the sole tender of about 100 opium poppies.

Bassler is suspected of shooting 69-year-old Fort Bragg City Councilman Jere Melo on Saturday. He remains at large.

Melo, a forest land manager, was shot in a rugged area outside Fort Bragg while searching for marijuana farms with a friend.

Sheriff's Capt. Kurt Smallcomb said Melo was unarmed when he was shot several times in the torso. His friend had a weapon and returned fire before escaping aboard a passing train.


Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat,

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