Five people have died in reservation shootings in California after a man’s rampage Saturday night took a devastating toll on the Tule River Indian Reservation in Portersville.
The five dead in the reservation shootings include the shooter, 31-year-old Hector Celaya, along with three of his children and his mother. Others in the family were wounded in the shootout.
The five dead in the shooting include at least one of Celaya’s daughters — Alyssa, 8, whose name was tattooed on the shooter’s leg.
Linea, 5, was wounded at some point during the shootout, but it is not clear whether Celaya shot her or the girl was struck during a shootout with police during which she was in the car with her father and her sister was fatally wounded.
The man responsible for five dead in the reservation shootings was cornered in citrus orchards 30 miles away from the reservation, about six hours after the deadly incident that has shaken Tule River residents. Celaya opened fire on police, who returned fire. The suspect was then transported from the scene, injured but alive.
Tribal council secretary Rhoda Hunter spoke of Celaya, who had once worked at the reservation’s casino, expressing some sympathy for his hardships but not excusing the gravity of the killings. Hunter said:
“He had a real hard life … But all of us do, we all have a hard time. But we try not to let it get the best of us.”
Sixty-year-old Irene Celaya, mother of the shooter and among the five dead in the reservation shootings, was a friend of Hunter. The secretary said the nature of the killings was a doubly difficult blow for the tight knit community of just 800 or so residents:
“We’ve had a lot of deaths here, but nothing like this. Not murder. No, not murder.”
Tule River Indian Reservation fire department member Shelby Charley Jr. echoed the sentiment, saying that the faces of the five dead in the reservation shooting will haunt residents for a long time to come:
“This is a once in a lifetime kind of deal … It’s one of those calls you could go your whole career and not walk into. This is one of those calls that will stick with you for the rest of your life.”
The five dead in the reservation shooting are being mourned today by Tule River Indian Reservation members, and the shooter died of wounds sustained in the shootout after initially surviving the volley of bullets.