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Fort Bragg Councilman Jere Melo killed while investigating pot operation

Fort Bragg City Councilman Jere Melo killed after discovering remote pot operation
Aaron Bassler Mendocino County Sheriff

(CBS/AP) FORT BRAGG, Calif. - Police say Fort Bragg City Councilman Jere Melo was shot and killed in the woods of Mendocino County after stumbling onto a remote marijuana operation.

The sheriff's department says Melo was shot around 10 a.m.  on Saturday  just as he and another man walked through a rugged area of timber company land about four miles outside of Fort Bragg.

Fort Bragg is about 160 miles north of San Francisco.

The man walking with Melo escaped and called for help on his cell phone.

Officers from several departments responded and began hunting for a suspect.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Fort Bragg Mayor Dave Turner says Melo worked for Campbell Timber Management and was investigating a report of a transient when he discovered a man living and growing marijuana on the property.

The manhunt is now on for the suspected gunman, Aaron Bassler, whom they describe as a transient.  The sheriff's department said its SWAT team has been deployed to the area. Bassler is considered armed and dangerous.