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Surveillance Image Released Of Fugitive NorCal Murder Suspect

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Surveillance image shows man who authorities say is Aaron Bessler with a automatic rifle vandalizing a cabin. (Mendocino County Sheriff's Office)

Surveillance image shows man who authorities say is Aaron Bessler with a automatic rifle vandalizing a cabin. (Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office)

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FORT BRAGG (CBS/AP) – Surveillance cameras have captured an image of the fugitive suspected of killing a city councilman in Mendocino County and a land trust manager, according to authorities.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said it believes the picture is of Aaron Bassler, for whom authorities have been scouring area forests since the shootings in August.

Deputies have been searching a 400-square-mile area for weeks, and have installed 40 cameras to aid their search.

In the photo, Bassler appears to be holding a high-caliber rifle and vandalizing a cabin.

Aaron Bassler

Aaron Bassler (Mendocino County Sheriff's Office)

Bassler is suspected of fatally shooting 69-year-old Fort Bragg City Councilman Jere Melo on Aug. 27 and 45-year-old Mendocino Land Trust land manager Matthew Coleman, who was found dead on Aug. 11.

Authorities believe they are closing in on Bassler.

Mendocino County officials have postponed a local foot race because of the manhunt. The Mendocino Coast Hospital hosts an annual Health and Wellness Fair that includes 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer runs. The Noyo River Run, scheduled this year for Oct. 16, would have taken runners through areas currently being combed by law enforcement in the search for Bassler.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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