Fort Bragg Suspect Wanted in Second Murder, Was Growing Opium Poppies
Aaron Bassler, suspected of shooting Fort Bragg city councilman Jere Melo last Saturday, remains at large, and now his father has come forward to tell reporters that his son is schizophrenic, and that he was likely responsible for a second murder that occurred 30 miles away on August 11. James Bassler says his son had refused psychiatric treatment, and had moved into the woods after going broke four months ago. Furthermore, investigators have found two small poppy fields in the woods where Bassler was confronted by Melo and another witness who survived. They say the fields aren’t “sophisticated” and look like they were for personal use.
But SFist commenter Steve Nottingham called that one on Monday, suggesting that this wasn’t an investigation of a marijuana farm, as originally reported by the AP and Chronicle, but more probably poppies.
The elder Bassler says that Aaron appeared briefly out of his seclusion a few weeks ago, and that his ex-wife had driven him to a location in Westport where a property manager was found dead from a high-caliber rifle shot on August 11. Melo was also killed with a high-caliber rifle. Investigators are still trying to determine if the shootings are linked.