A criminal complaint filed Monday in Modoc County Superior Court charges former Cedarville Rancheria chairwoman Cherie Lash Rhoades with four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. She is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.
Modoc County Undersheriff Ken Richardson was responding to reports of a shooting at a tiny Indian tribe’s headquarters and arrived to find an ousted former tribal council chairwoman stabbing someone in the parking lot.
Former Tribal Council Chairwoman, Charged With 4 Counts of Murder
Cherie Lash Rhoades is accused of killing four people, including three of her relatives, at a tiny American Indian tribe’s Northern California headquarters had been evicted from tribal housing because Rhoade’s was suspected of stealing from the tribe, the tribe’s lawyer said Monday.
Jack Duran, the attorney for Cedarville Rancheria said, Rhoades was suspended as tribal chairwoman just three weeks before the gun and knife attack, pending a federal investigation into allegations that she embezzled at least $50,000 in federal grant money.
When the shooting broke out Rhoades was attending the meeting in Alturas, CA to appeal her eviction. During the meeting Rhoades became enraged with anger and opened fire with a semi-automatic 9mm pistol killing four people and leaving two more injured. Police have not officially determined the motive for the shooting, but a nephew who lived with Rhoades, Jacob Penn, said she snapped under the pressure of her brother’s attempt to evict her.
Rhoades killed her brother Rurik Davis, 50, who had been named interim chairman by the tribal council, authorities said. She also killed her niece Angel Penn, 19; her nephew Glenn Calonicco, 30; and Shelia Lynn Russo, 47, during the attack. They were all members of the tribal council that evicted Rhoades, and Russo was the tribal administrator.
District Attorney Jordan Funk is seeking the death penalty in case, because the complaint carries the special circumstance of multiple victims.
Cherie Lash Rhoades Former Tribal Council Chairwoman, Charged With 4 Counts of Murder.
The Associated Press Contributed to this article.