5 dead in Calif. Indian reservation shootings

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 10, 2012 at 3:52 am •  Published: December 10, 2012
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"This is a once in a lifetime kind of deal," Charley said. "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."

Charley said his crew immediately discovered a woman and man dead of gunshot wounds, then quickly discovered a young boy with critical wounds. Thick fog grounded helicopters in Fresno and Bakersfield, so rescue workers had to drive the gravely injured boy 40 minutes to the nearest hospital in Visalia.

Minutes later, sheriff's deputies found a third body in an outbuilding that had been set up as a makeshift bedroom. Authorities said the bodies of Irene Celaya and her 61-year-old brother Francisco Moreno were found in the trailer. The body of their 53-year-old brother, Bernard Franco, was in the shed.

The wounded boy was identified as Celaya's 6-year-old son, Andrew.

Deputies found Celaya by tracking his cellphone. A chase ensued, though Celaya never exceeded the speed limit and sometimes slowed to 15 mph, police said.

He eventually pulled over in a rural area deep in the heart of citrus country outside the tiny community of Lindsay, about 30 miles from the reservation. Celaya opened fire, prompting deputies to return fire, Douglass said.

She did not say how many shots were fired, but said Celaya fired his gun "multiple times." Celaya was shot during the exchange of gunfire, Douglass said.

Police said Celaya was "known to law enforcement" and "known to use drugs," though Douglass could not provide details.

On the steps of Mater Dolorosa Catholic Church, Hunter said she has never known such tragedy. The church bell echoed through the reservation Sunday as news of each death made its way to tribal authorities.

"This is so horrible. We will be doing a lot of praying," Hunter said.

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Associated Press writer John S. Marshall contributed to this report from San Francisco.