Calif. Murder Fugitive Killed by SWAT Team

Aaron Bassler had hiding in forests since allegedly killing two people
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2011 5:43 AM CDT
Calif. Murder Fugitive Killed by SWAT Team
This Feb. 2011 file photo shows Aaron Bassler. Bassler, 35, was suspected of killing a city councilman on Aug. 27 and one other person several weeks before, before being killed yesterday.   (AP Photo/Mendocino County Sheriff)

(Newser) – A 35-year-old fugitive suspected in killing two people in Fort Bragg, Calif., was shot seven times and killed by a three-man SWAT team yesterday, reports the LA Times. Aaron Bassler, reportedly a schizophrenic, is thought to have killed the manager of a local conservation group on Aug. 11 and local councilman Jere Melo on Aug. 27. Since the killings, Bassler had been living in densely forests around Fort Bragg, breaking into cabins for supplies and forcing authorities to close popular hiking trails in the area.

"It was a burden on everybody, just knowing that there was somebody out there that was willing to kill," said the mayor of Fort Bragg. "Everybody understood that he was out in those woods." Police had gotten close to Bassler several times, with a police dog grabbing his backpack once. They closed in on the fugitive last week, exchanging gunfire with Bassler on Thursday. "This was the only possible outcome for the scenario," said the son of the councilman Bassler killed. But, one resident tells the AP, I'm not high-fiving people. I have the utmost sympathy for his victims, but also for the law enforcement agents who had to do what they had to do." (Read more fugitive stories.)

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