Small community devastated by mass shooting

Mayor: "I guess our little community lost its innocence."

Small community devastated by mass shooting

ALTURAS, Calif. - The people of Modoc County are stunned. Their small community is getting national attention after a mass shooting Thursday in Alturas.

"I just walked outside to check on my son because he was playing on the playground. She started shooting everybody," said one witness.

The city of Alturas is doing everything they can to deal with the aftermath. The picturesque town in the northeastern-most corner of California has to relive the tough scene, when many of them were just steps away Thursday afternoon.

Alturas Police Chief Ken Barnes identified the woman accused of killing four people and injuring two more as 44-year-old Cherie Lash also known as Cherie Rhoades from Cedarville, California.

"There were two semi-automatic handguns located and recovered at the scene, and one kitchen knife," said Barnes.

According to police, Lash was attending a tribal eviction meeting at the Cedarville Rancheria tribal office around 3:30 p.m. when she opened fire.

"All of [the victims], as far as I know, are affiliated with the tribe in some way," said Modoc County Sheriff Mike Poindexter.

A mass shooting, in a city with less than 3,000 residents.

"Modoc County is a large county but there's not many people," said Alturas Mayor John Dederick. "They were a part of our community, and that's a big loss."

The victims were identified as:

Rurik Davis, 50, Lash's brother and current tribal chairman.

Angel Penn, 19, Lash's niece.

Glenn Calonico, 30, Lash's nephew.

And 47-year-old Sheila Russo.

About a dozen people were inside at the time. One woman was able to flee, getting about a block away to notify officials.

"She just started screaming for help," said City Clerk Cary Baker. "She starts telling us that there's been a shooting, she's shooting people, people are dead."

Around the corner, at a local theater, Sadie Camacho was trying to maintain control. With about 50 kids under her watch during a rehearsal.

She sprung into action.

"We started to hear some commotion going on outside," said Camacho. "My first instinct was to lock down the theater and make sure that the kids were safe."

They were and Lash was eventually detained by police outside the office.

"[Lash] was still active and threatening people when law enforcement had arrived," said Dederick.

Since then it has been all hands on deck. Baker has been fielding calls from all over the country, filling in as the public information official for the city. Much of the tribal community has shut down. Many are trying to restore normalcy to an area that lost so much more than just its people.

"I guess our little community lost its innocence," said Dederick.

Lash was arrested on charges including murder, attempted murder, child endangerment and brandishing a weapon.

Police said this was an isolated incident and Lash acted alone.

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