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Undersheriff's body camera captures Alturas crime scene

Published On: Mar 06 2014 09:25:30 PM CST   Updated On: Mar 06 2014 09:00:00 PM CST
ALTURAS, Calif. -

Modoc County Undersheriff Ken Richardson’s body camera was recording when he rushed into a tribal office in Alturas, following the deadly February shooting.

"He had it on when they cleared the building. We were in an active shooter type situation,” said Modoc County Sheriff Mike Poindexter.

The Sheriff recalled the tense moments after shots were fired at the Cedarville Rancheria.

"We had one in custody already in the parking lot. We don't know that that's the shooter for sure, in fact, until we clear the building," explained Poindexter.

Four people were found shot dead inside the tribal office. Two others, also hit with gunfire, were still breathing.

"It's the initial footage, the first time law enforcement entered the building. So it's invaluable," stated Poindexter.

The video camera technology isn’t new. But one of the 16 Modoc County deputies who wear the chest cameras was able to capture the aftermath of the most violent crime the tiny town of Alturas has ever seen.

"It's audio-video evidence and it's worth its weight in gold," Poindexter explained about the Cedarville Rancheria crime scene footage.

That color video has since been handed over to the Modoc County district Attorney’s office, to further build the case against Cherie Lash Rhoades, the woman investigators says pulled the trigger.

"Can't dispute facts as it is happening, unfolding in front of our people. And it's recorded in both audio and video. It helps tremendously. We can go back and look at it. We can take stills," said Poindexter.

The cameras were given to the Modoc County Sheriff’s office through the help of a local non-profit group called T.E.A.C.H.

Deputies also wear the cameras inside the Modoc County jail. The Sheriff explained how that video evidence has also become beneficial when coming into contact with AB 109 offenders.

"A picture's worth a thousand words. A moving picture is worth twice that. And they've been very valuable," explained Poindexter.