Murder suspect killed in Mendo

10/06/2011

A 36-day hunt through the forests of Mendocino County for a man suspected of murdering former West Marin resident Matt Coleman and Jere Melo, a Fort Bragg councilmember, in August ended last Saturday when a Sacramento County SWAT team shot and killed him near a logging road six miles outside Fort Bragg. The Mendocino County Sheriffs Office, which coordinated with over 40 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies for the operation, embedded teams along trails and logging roads after a burglary was reported on September 30 near Northspur. At 12:23 p.m. on October 1, the Sacramento team spotted Bassler, who was armed with a Norinco SKS 7.62 caliber rifle, walking toward their location on a logging road about 20 to 25 feet above him and 40 yards away. They fired seven times into Bassler’s chest as he pointed his firearm in the direction of the team. A round was loaded into the chamber of his weapon, the trigger was in the “fire” position and his right index finger was pointing straight out above the trigger. “I fully support the manner in which this ended,” Mendocino Sheriff Thomas Allman said. “No more lives will be endangered by Aaron Bassler.” Coleman was a former counselor at the Clem Miller Environmental Education Center in Point Reyes National Seashore.