Alturas tribal slayings: 3 victims were suspect's relatives

Three of the four people killed Thursday by a woman at a Northern California Indian tribe headquarters were her relatives, law enforcement said Friday.

Modoc County Sheriff Mike Poindexter said Cherie Lash Rhoades, a former chairwoman of the Cedarville Rancheria tribe, killed her brother, Rurik Davis, 50, her niece, Angel Penn, 19, and her nephew, Glenn Calonicco, 30, when she opened fire at a meeting called to evict her and her son from the rancheria.

In addition to her relatives, suspect killed Shelia Lynn Russo, 47, and critically injured two others, who remain hospitalized, authorities said.

Rhoades was arrested Thursday as she ran from the scene with a knife in her hand, police said. They said one of the victims was attacked with a butcher knife.

The shooting took place in Alturas, near the Oregon border, where the tribal headquarters are located. The rancheria has about 35 members.

Lilly Toaetolu Gonzales, a Modoc County public health specialist, said she knew Rhoades' son and did not blame him for his mother's actions.

"You have to know the history and it just boiled over today," Gonzales wrote on her Facebook page. "I will continue to pray for all the families affected, just can't stand seeing the hatred and ignorance that most likely led to this tragedy continue."

Melody Sheline, who identified herself as on a web post as the longtime companion of one of the dead, said the shooting stemmed from "years of hate from her and her son."


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Twitter: @mauradolan

Times staff writer Scott Gold in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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