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Alturas Shooting

Four people were killed and two were injured in a shooting Thursday afternoon in Alturas.

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FOOTHILL FARMS-

Months after the deadly mass shooting at the Cedarville Rancheria tribal office in Alturas, family members of the suspect, Cherie Rhoades, say the crime was premeditated.

“She’s a horrible woman,” Cherie Rhoades’ step-daughter Deborah Powers said. “She knew she was gonna kill them. She knew it. She said it here.”

Powers is the daughter of Marvin Rhoades, Cherie’s husband of 15 years. Marvin and Cherie were married in Alturas in 1999.

“She said she was gonna kill all of them, all of them in the tribe. I wish I would have called them people,” Powers said.

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Cherie Rhoades faces charges after killing 4 and injuring 2 on February 20.
Courtesy: Modoc County Sheriff’s Office

But Powers didn’t call anyone. Not police, or any of the victims who were shot to death in the tribal office: Rurik Davis, Angel Penn, Glen Calonnico and Shelia Russo.

Powers claims Cherie Rhoades visited her home in Alturas back in October of 2013. Her 86-year-old father, Marvin, had been living there for years, while his wife carried on in Alturas. Powers says Cherie, her son Jack Stockton, and and his wife Erin Stockton began discussing the alleged misappropriation of funds within their tribe.

READ MORE: Man Details Alleged Embezzlement by Accused Alturas Shooter

“She went on that it pretty much was embezzlement charges. I said, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty big charges,'” Marvin’s grandson, Brian Wall, told FOX40.

“She comes from the bathroom and says, ‘I got a 9 millimeter. I got two of them. One at home and one in my car. They’re not gonna get away with nothing,'” said Powers.

Powers and Wall both told FOX40 they thought Cherie Rhoades was just being a loudmouth.  They said Cherie bullied her way through life, and intimidated people.

“She said she would but I didn’t, I never believed it,” Marvin Rhoades said.

Marvin Rhoades says he never believed Cherie’s alleged death threats because he believed in his wife.

“As I’m walking out, she’s still ranting and raving about blowing them away. I’m just like, ‘Oh my god, really?'” Wall said.

That makes three people who claim to have heard Cherie make death threats against tribal members, months before the tribal shooting, and chose to remain silent.

But what about the other people present during this alleged conversation?

“Jack knew what was gonna happen. He knew. He didn’t show up for that meeting. He took the money from his mom. He knew what it was for. He knew,” Powers said.

Powers said Jack knew he should take his mother seriously because she never lied to him.

FOX40 reached out to Jack Stockton for a comment. We have not heard back from him.

“This case is too serious and affects too many people in the community to be tried anywhere else but in a court of law [...] I am asking that the public non pre-judge this case, Ms. Rhoades,” Cherie Rhoades attorney, Antonio Alvarez, said in a statement to FOX40.

“I cried and I feel sorry for the girl that got killed holding her baby. There was no reason for her to kill all those people. This was over embezzlement. I know she did it,” Powers said.

Alturas Police say the tribal shooting is caught on multiple cameras.

Modoc County District Attorney Jordan Funk said the Cedarville Rancheria tribal shooting is not a case of identity, but rather, whether or not the court will seek the death penalty as a punishment for the crime.

ALTURAS-

The widower of an Alturas tribal shooting victim is speaking out about the motive behind February’s gun and knife attack that left four dead and two others seriously injured.

“I want people to know that my wife’s heart was in the right place. It wasn’t about exposing fraud and evicting people. That just happened,” Philip Russo said.

He and his wife, Shelia Russo, moved to Alturas from Bakersfield eight months ago.

“We would travel far and wide for her work. Shelia loved it,” Russo said.

Shelia was the Tribal Administrator for Cedarville Rancheria, a 35 member tribe of Northern Paiute Indians in Northern California. Russo works at the Modoc County jail.

“We were still newlyweds,” Russo said.

Philip called FOX40 News a week after our coverage of the shooting in February. He invited us into his home in Alturas, to learn more about his late wife.

“She gave me this card for Valentine’s Day. As I look at it, it talks about, I don’t know what I would ever do without you. I know it’s a stupid cheesy card, but that’s what we always said to each other,” Russo said, fighting back tears.

Less than a week later, Phil Russo’s wife was shot to death during an eviction appeal hearing for longtime Tribal Chairwoman, 44-year-old Cherie Lash Rhoades, and her son, Jack Stockton. Rhoades is the only suspect in the mass shooting.

VIDEO: Armed with Guns, Butcher Knife, Woman Kills 4 at Tribal Office

“Cherie Rhoades had always tried to intimidate tribal employees with violence, tribal members with violence,” Russo said.

Russo said Cherie Rhoades, her son Jack Stockton, and his wife, Erin Stockton were hoarding tribal grants.

“My wife told me everything about her job. Every detail, every move, we talked about it,” Russo said.

Shelia told her husband that Rhoades would not let her use the federal grants for their intended purposes. Shelia eventually fired Erin Stockton, the tribes Chief Financial Officer, because the accounting was so poorly done.

“She went into Erin’s office and started to go through the records, just started to peel back the onion. And she started noticing Cherie’s name on some of these purchases,” Russo said.

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Cherie Rhoades faces charges after killing 4 and injuring 2 on February 20.
Courtesy: Modoc County Sheriff’s Office

Russo said his wife discovered that Rhoades had been using the grant money on personal purchases, hotel stays, extravagant gifts and $30,000 cash payouts for her friends. Shelia Russo believed drug tests had been doctored in order to make some of the tribal members fail upon retesting so that the remaining tribal members would get a larger chunk of federal grant money.

Russo said his wife even thought the sale of the tribal building for $300,000 was done unethically.

FOX40 investigated and found internal documents substantiating some of Shelia Russo’s concerns and allegations.

Shelia Russo turned her findings over to federal authorities, and they started an embezzlement investigation into Cedarville Rancheria.

“They throw a $50,000 figure out there, but thats probably half of what is out there. And that’s only for 2012. Cherie was the Tribal Chairwoman for probably the last 10 years,” Russo said.

Shelia told her husband she believed hundreds of thousands of dollars could have been embezzled over that time.

“My wife had the savvy to take Cherie’s firing power of out her hands,” Russo said.

Months ago, Shelia approached the tribe’s Executive Committee about Rhoades. Shelia told Philip whenever anyone questioned tribal finances in the past, Rhoades promptly fired them. Shelia thought Rhoades would fire her if she got the chance.

The Executive Committee voted to make the entire tribe vote on firing Shelia, if anything happened in the future.

“As my wife was in Erin’s office, continuing to go through the books, Cherie and Jack showed up. They said, ‘You’re fired, you’re out of here,’ and my wife was like, ‘Wait a minute, you don’t have the right to fire me.’ So Cherie said, ‘Fine, you’re on administrative leave,’ and Shelia said, ‘You don’t have the right to do that either,'” Russo said.

This was the first time anyone in the tribe challenged Rhoades, and succeeded.

“Cherie Rhoades actually tried to shove my wife back into the building,” said Russo.

Russo said Shelia went to local authorities for help, but they said Shelia’s allegations about Rhoades were federal offenses.

“They were forced to take matters into their own hands,” Russo said.

That’s when the tribal members signed a petition to recall Rhoades. Months later, they evicted her along with her son.

The day after the eviction hearing, Rhoades showed up at her appeal hearing at the Cedarville Rancheria tribal office, where she is accused of killing four people and attempting to kill two others. Four of the six victims were  close relatives of Rhoades, including her own brother.

Relative Describes ‘Horrible’ Alturas Shooting

Crime scene investigators inside a tribal office in Alturas after a deadly shooting.
February 2014

“We only have one suspect. We have five or six live witnesses who were present in the room,” Modoc County District Attorney Jordan Funk said.

One of those witnesses was a victim herself: Rhoades’ niece, Monica Davis.

“Monica said, ‘Yes, I’m shot,’ and Cherie said, ‘I would have killed you too if i didn’t run out of bullets,'” said Russo.

The only thing Funk would say about the crime scene, was how people were positioned inside the tribal office. Funk said right before the shooting, Rhoades was kneeling on a chair with her hand in her pocket. Funk says Rurik Davis, Angel Penn, Glenn Calonico, Shelia Russo, Melissa Davis and Monica Davis were seated at a long table in front of Rhoades. He says multiple other people were in the room.

Funk said this is most likely not a case where they need to identify a suspect. He said  it is a case where they will need to determine whether or not they should seek the death penalty.

“Capital cases frequently drag out. We want to avoid that here. We want justice for the victims,” Funk said.

The Modoc County Undersheriff  told FOX40 News he was the first on scene at the tribal office, minutes after the shooting. He said when he arrived, Rhoades was in the parking lot, stabbing one of the victims in the chest with a butcher knife.

He said Cherie fumbled and dropped her knife, and that’s when he tackled her. The Undersheriff said the crime was caught on camera from surveillance mounted outside the tribal office, inside the tribal office, and on his body camera.

Russo watched in court, weeks later, as Rhoades pleaded not guilty.

“I go for Shelia. We had each others’ back. So I go and I stare. I look at her. She won’t look at me. It’s pretty apparent to me that she won’t look at me,” Russo said.

The Russo family is accepting donations to help pay for funeral expenses and loss of work following Shelia Russo’s death. You can donate at any U.S. Bank under “Shelia Russo Donation Account.” You may also call the Alturas Branch of U.S. Bank at (530) 233-4116

4 Dead, 2 Injured after Shooting at Eviction Meeting on Reservation

VIDEO: Armed with Guns, Knife, Woman Kills 4 at Tribal Office

Sacramento-area Tribal Members React to Deadly Shooting at Tribal Office

SACRAMENTO –

The Sacramento American Indian community reacts to the deadly actions of 44-year-old, Cherie Rhoades with disdain.

Rhoades, a former Cedarville Rancheria tribal chairwoman, opened fire at a tribal meeting in Alturas on Thursday afternoon, killing four and injuring two.

The four people dead included Rhoades’ brother, 50-year-old Rurik Davis, her niece 19-year-old Angel Penn, her nephew 30-year-old Glenn Calonicco, and 47-year-old tribal administrator, Sheila Ross. The two injured victims were taken to a Redding hospital. One remains in critical condition.

The shooting happened when Rhoades was evicted from tribal housing, not because she was being “disenrolled” or ousted from the tribe.

“It’s offensive to me as a California Indian, that she is being called a tribal leader,” Cindy La Marr, Executive Director of Capitol Area Indian Resources, said. “I don’t look at this person as a tribal leader. A tribal leader conducts themselves in an appropriate manor, honors traditions, respects their family, and that doesn’t seem like the type of person she was.”

The Cedarville Rancheria is one of over 100 Rancherias in the State of California. Rancherias are now made up of descendants of homeless Indians during the Gold Rush era. It is a federally recognized tribe that receives shared revenue of just over $1 million annually, to aid economic development, healthcare, and welfare.

A new investigation revealed Cherie Rhoades was involved in a federal $50,000 embezzlement case, stealing funds from the tribe. But some said that was just the beginning of her slew of problems.

“I had heard that there was embezzlement of over $300,000,”  La Marr said.

La Marr told FOX40, she spoke to tribal members from Cedarville, who believe Rhoades also had unresolved family issues and personal problems.

“To kill your own niece and nephew, you have to have problems. To come to a meeting with guns, there are problems.”

California Connection
02/21/14

Modoc County Tribal Office Shooter Booked into Jail

cherie

Cherie Rhoades faces charges after killing 4 and injuring 2 on February 20.
Courtesy: Modoc County Sheriff’s Office

ALTURAS -

Officials have released the mugshot of Cherie Rhoades, the woman who is accused of shooting at family members and others in the Cedarville Rancherita Tribal Office in Modoc County this week.

Investigators say Rhoades opened fire during an eviction hearing, in which her future to remain on the reservation was being debated.

Four people were killed, and two were injured.

She was initially being held at the Modoc County jail, but was moved for safety reasons according to officers. It was also revealed one of her victims was married to a jail employee.

ALTURAS-

A woman who opened fire inside a tribal office in Northern California killed relatives, including a brother and niece.

Officers say three of the four people killed were relatives of Cherie Rhoades, the fourth was the spouse of a jail employee. Two sisters were shot and survived. It is not clear at this time if these two were also related to Rhoades.

The shooting Thursday night happened during an eviction hearing at the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Office. Rhoades opened fire, then allegedly chased the survivors with a knife.

READ: Officers detail attack at Tribal Office

A woman ran from the shooting and banged on city hall. FOX40 spoke with people inside who say the woman was frantic.

Rhoades was initially taken to the Modoc County jail, but is now being held in an undisclosed location “for her own safety” according to officers.

She faces charges including homicide, attempted murder, brandishing a weapon and child endangerment.

ALTURAS-

Investigators worked through the night and into Friday morning, trying to find clues as to why four people were shot dead, and two others left injured.

An eviction hearing for 44-year-old Cherie Lash Rhoades was being held Thursday night inside the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Office in Alturas, in Modoc County.

Police say Rhoades opened fire during the hearing, killing a 19-year-old woman, 30-year-old man, 35-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man. Two others, sisters, were shot at and injured.

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Investigators at the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Office in Modoc County.

“She had exited the building and had armed herself with a large kitchen knife and was chasing the victims she had shot down the street,” Chief of Alturas Police, Ken Barnes said.

Both girls were flown to a hospital in Redding; one was critically injured, the other is doing ok and is giving statements to investigators.

Barnes mentioned a judge was listening to the eviction hearing over the phone, and heard the shooting.

Police say the crime scene is so large it will take at least another full day to proess all the evidence.

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File photo

ALTURAS (CNN)-

Four people were killed Thursday afternoon and two others were injured at a Native American tribal office in Alturas, California, police chief Ken Barnes said.

Cherie Rhoades, 44, was attending a tribal eviction meeting at the Cedarville Rancheria tribal office Thursday around 3:30 p.m. when she opened fire, Barnes said.

When Rhoades ran out of ammunition she grabbed a butcher knife from the kitchen and attacked another person, stabbing them, Barnes said.

A person at the meeting ran out of the building covered in blood and went to the Alturas police station to alert officers, Barnes said.

Police said they found Rhoades outside the building, running with a knife in her hands. She was taken into custody.

The deceased victims were identified as a 19-year-old woman, a 45-year-old woman, a 30-year-old man and a 50-year-old man.

Rhoades, a former tribal leader, was at the hearing because she was facing eviction, police said.

The shooting happened in Modoc County, which is in Northern California on the Oregon border.

Autopsies on those killed are scheduled for Friday.

The two who were injured by gunshots were transported to out-of-area hospitals and are in critical condition, Barnes told reporters.

“At this time, there doesn’t appear to be any threat to the community,” he said.

By Dana Ford and Carma Hassan

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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File Photo

ALTURAS-

Four people are dead and two others are hurt after shots were fired Thursday afternoon at a meeting at the Cedarville Rancheria, according to media reports out of Modoc County.

The Modoc County Record reported that the meeting was about evicting people from the Rancheria when the woman opened fire.

The woman reportedly began stabbing someone when she ran out of ammunition. She has since been taken into custody, the Modoc County Record reported.

Stay with FOX40 and FOX40.com for the latest information as soon as it becomes available.

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