Guns

Man Kills California Councilman Jere Melo Over Marijuana Farm

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

A manhunt is on in Northern California for the man who shot and killed a local city councilman when the lawmaker stumbled upon the man's illegal marijuana farm.

Jere Melo was a councilman from the town of Fort Bragg and was its mayor from 2000-2004. He also works for a timber company, and on Saturday he and a co-worker were investigating a report of a man living on the company's property. They found him and his marijuana farm, reports the San Francisco Chroncile.

The man opened fire, hitting and killing Melo. His co-worker was not hurt; he was able to get away and call for help.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has identified a suspect, a man named Aaron Bassler. He is described as a transient who has a long history of run-ins with the law in Fort Bragg.

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Melo was a longtime fixture in Fort Bragg. He moved there in 1966 and entered government in 1996.

"You can't turn anywhere in the city and not see what Jere's done for us," said Mayor Dave Turner said. "We can't even fathom all the ways we're going to miss him."