Woman held in tribal shooting known as bully, feeling pressure of eviction

The Associated Press

This Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 photo released by Alturas Police Department shows Cherie Lash Rhoades. Rhoades, suspected of killing four people at the headquarters of an Indian tribe that was evicting her and her son from its land, 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. (AP Photo/Alturas Police Department)

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Cedarville is a small town of about 1,500 people in the Great Basin, where the Paiute people once roamed with the skills to live in hard country. Now there are cattle on the range. The town is tucked between the foothills of the snowcapped Warner Mountains to the west, and a string of alkali lakes to the east.

The best jobs are working for the Modoc National Forest, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management or the schools. A lumber mill lies rusting and quiet on the edge of town. Downtown has several empty storefronts, but there are nice cafes where one can get prime rib, pizza or an enchilada, a bank, a bookstore, two small markets, a real estate office, a weaver's shop, a gas station, the library, a gunsmith, and other small businesses.

In the residential areas, nicely kept two-story homes mix with vacant houses. There is also a small hospital and dentist offices.

The rancheria is on the western edge of town, by the fairgrounds, announced by a simple wooden sign. Nine small one-story homes are grouped around a small playground. Streets are paved, with new concrete sidewalks.

A few blocks away is the Rabbit Traxx gas station and convenience store, where Rhoades worked. It opened a couple years ago, about the time she was tribal chairman. It sells liquor, cut-rate cigarettes and packaged foods.

Parriott said the land of the rancheria was once part of a local ranch, and Paiutes would camp there in August to take part in the county fair.

Rancheria headquarters, where the shooting took place, is 25 miles away on a winding two-lane blacktop over the Warner Mountains in a residential area of Alturas, a town of 2,500.

Police served a search warrant on Rhoades' house late Friday afternoon. An Alturas police officer who would not give his name refused to say what they seized. He was joined by a sheriff's deputy and a highway patrolman.

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