AP source: Tribal killing suspect target of probe

Modoc County Sheriff and Coroner Mike Poindexter ducks under crime scene tape Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 outside the tribal headquarters of the Cedarville Rancheria in Alturas, Calif., where local media reports quote police saying a former tribal leader allegedly killed four people and wounded two others in a gun and knife attack Thursday during an evictiion hearing. (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)

Modoc County Sheriff and Coroner Mike Poindexter ducks under crime scene tape Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 outside the tribal headquarters of the Cedarville Rancheria in Alturas, Calif., where local media reports quote police saying a former tribal leader allegedly killed four people and wounded two others in a gun and knife attack Thursday during an evictiion hearing. (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)

Retured county auditor Mike Tedrick stands in his front lawn Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Alturas, Calif., with the tribal headquarters of the Cedarville Rancheria in the background. Local media report police say a woman allegedly opened fire during an eviction hearing at the headquarters on Friday, killing four and wounding two in a gun and knife attack. Tedrick said he was in his house watching TV with his wife and heard nothing until sirens went by. (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)

Crime scene tape surrounds the tribal headquarters of the Cedarville Rancheria Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 in Alturas, Calif., where police say an eviction hearing turned deadly as a woman who once served as a tribal leader allegedly opened fire, killing four people and critically wounding two others in a gun and knife attack. Cherie Lash Rhoades, a former chairwoman of Cedarville Rancheria, was taken into custody after the bloody attack at the tribal office Thursday afternoon, Alturas police chief Ken Barnes said in area media reports. (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)

Members of the Modoc County Sheriff’s Posse stand guard Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 outside the tribal headquarters of the Cedarville Rancheria in Alturas, Calif., where police say an eviction hearing turned deadly, leaving four dead and two wounded. Cherie Lash Rhoades, a former chairwoman of Cedarville Rancheria, was taken into custody after the Thursday gun and knife attack, Alturas police chief Ken Barnes said in area media reports. (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)

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ALTURAS, Calif. (AP) — A woman suspected of killing four people at the headquarters of an Indian tribe in far Northern California had been under federal investigation over at least $50,000 in missing funds.

A person familiar with the tribe’s situation told The Associated Press on Friday that investigators were looking into whether Cherie Lash Rhoades had taken federal grants to the Cedarville Rancheria tribe.

Rhoades was recently ousted as the tribe’s chairwoman.

Authorities say she killed her brother, nephew, niece and a worker during a meeting on Thursday to determine whether she should be evicted from tribal land.

Its website says the Cedarville Rancheria is a federally recognized tribe with just 35 members. The killings happened in the northeastern corner of California, near the Oregon and Nevada borders.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

A former tribal leader killed her brother, nephew, niece and a worker at the headquarters of a small Indian tribe that was evicting the suspect and her son from its land in far Northern California, police said on Friday.

Cherie Lash Rhoades, former chairwoman of the Cedarville Rancheria tribe, critically wounded two other people on Thursday during a meeting in Alturas about the eviction, police said.

Those killed included the suspect’s brother, 50-year-old Rurik Davis; her niece, 19-year-old Angel Penn; and her nephew, 30-year-old Glenn Calonicco, Modoc County Sheriff Mike Poindexter said.

The other person killed was Shelia Lynn Russo, 47, a tribal administrator who managed evictions and the mother of two teenagers, said her mother, Linda Stubblefield of Taft.

One of the people wounded was alert and talking. The other remained in critical condition, Alturas Police Chief Ken Barnes said.

“I would say it’s strange,” Barnes said. “The whole thing is strange.”

No further details were provided about the eviction of Rhoades.

Barnes said young children were inside the building and on the property when the shooting occurred. After running out of bullets, police said, Rhoades grabbed a butcher knife and stabbed a woman.

Authorities were alerted to the attack when a woman covered in blood ran to nearby City Hall and rang a bell to get into a side door, City Clerk Cary Baker said.

“She was saying, ‘Help me, help me, people have been shot,'” Baker said. The woman was not injured, he said.

Rhoades was taken into custody and booked on suspicion of homicide, attempted murder, child endangerment and brandishing a weapon. Russo’s husband works at the jail, so Rhoades was transferred to an undisclosed location.

Officers arriving after the attack found Rhoades outside the building, running and clutching a knife, Barnes said. A Rancheria employee helped tackle her, and she was quickly subdued and arrested.

A person who answered the phone at a residence listed for Rhoades declined to comment.

The headquarters — a ranch-style building with a pitched brown metal roof — is in a residential area about a block from the police station. The area was cordoned off with yellow police tape.

Investigators found two semi-automatic pistols, but Barnes said he didn’t know if both had been used in the shooting.

Alturas, the seat of Modoc County, is about 55 miles south of the Oregon border and 35 miles west of the Nevada line. The motto of the community of 2,800 people — “Where the West Still Lives” — reflects the area’s wilderness and natural beauty.

The Cedarville Rancheria is a federally recognized tribe with just 35 members, according to its website. The Rancheria owns 26 acres in Cedarville, where many of its families reside.

Stubblefield said Russo had mentioned several times that she had been worried about violence associated with evictions.

“Anytime you evict someone from their home, you’re going to worry about this,” Stubblefield said. “And you’re taking their Indian rights from them.”

Struggling to find words,

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