Fort Bragg Slaying Suspect Spotted Near Mother’s Home

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Aaron Bassler (Mendocino County Sheriff)

Aaron Bassler (Mendocino County Sheriff)

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FORT BRAGG (KCBS) – Authorities in Mendocino County are continuing the search for a man suspected of killing two people, including a Fort Bragg city councilman.

Dozens of law enforcement officers searched for 35-year-old Aaron Bassler east of Fort Bragg on Sunday after he was spotted near his mother’s home.

He is suspected of killing Fort Bragg City Councilman Jere Melo and Mendocino Land Trust manager Matthew Coleman last month.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

Bassler has a history of minor crimes and his father, James Bassler, said he is not mentally stable.

“I believe my son is really mentally ill,” he said. “His wires are crossed and there’s parts that don’t work at all.”

Bassler gives credit to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department for emphasizing safety in the search for his son.

“They may have caught him just yesterday if they would have charged into the woods and forced some sort of fire fight,” Bassler said. “But they’re smart enough not to do that.”

Bassler said he hasn’t spoken to his son for four months and had to limit contact to protect the rest of his family.

Melo, who was also the former mayor of Fort Bragg, was shot to death by a high-powered rifle on August 27.  Authorities said Bassler may have also killed Coleman on August 11 outside Westport.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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