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Northern Mendocino County--
Two smalls town did their best over the weekend to maintain Mendocino county residents' dubious reputation for independence and violence. Both towns are in the northern part of the county where a gentler spirit, evident in other parts of the county, does not seem to have reached yet.
In the first incident, the shooter could offer no explanation for his behavior; in the second incident, the victim said he thought he knew why.
The trouble in Laytonville began on Friday evening with drinking. It's not uncommon for workers at a labor camp to have a few beers after a hard day's work. At the Alder Springs Vineyards labor camp on Bauer road in Laytonville, Julian Deluna, 19, of Laytonville, Octavio Rodriguez, 21, of Laytonville, and others were drinking beer outside the camp shacks.
Beer has a marvelous effect of easing the pains of labor and supplying fluids to a body deprived of fluids during the day. In moderation, some medical doctors even recommend it. But at the labor camp at Alder Springs Vineyards, the drinking went on and on and on.
Now alcohol has a different effect on different people, which is not an explanation of what happened, for no one seems to really understand it. Maybe, however, alcohol affected Octavio Rodriguez in one of those different ways that is not described as "beneficial" by the medical profession.
For about 10 PM, and without provocation according those present, Rodriguez walked to a nearby pickup truck, grabbed a 22 caliber rifle, fired several rounds into the air, then pointed the rifle at his group of drinking companions and fired. True, he fired a single shot, but that one shot struck Julian Deluna in the upper leg. Or so it is alleged in the Sheriff's report.
Rodriguez then ran off, or, as the Sheriff's report puts it, "The suspect fled the location on foot."
Deluna was transported by ambulance to Howard Memorial Hospital, and two hours after the incident Sheriff's deputies located Rodriguez: The usual caution was not necessary. He was found asleep in an outbuilding at the labor camp. He was arrested "without incident" and transported to the Mendocino County Jail. Later he admitted that he had held the rifle and may have fired it, but he could not remember, according to the Sheriff's report, who he fired at or why.
As of Wednesday Rodriguez is still in jail for attempted murder with bail set at $100,000.
According the Sheriff's Office, Rodriguez still has no explanation for the shooting. In such incidents, sometimes the best explanation is alcohol.
In an incident in Covelo on Saturday afternoon, there were more whys to be found.
The incident was a drive-by shooting on East Lane in the Round Valley Area, not unknown to shootings and violence. Back in October, Elvin Peters was shot in the legs by an unknown assailant. Peters is the brother of Arylis Peters, who shot and killed Eugene Britton back in May in the Covelo High School parking lot. Immediately following that incident, Arylis' and Elvins' brother Leonard was shot and killed by Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies, one of which, Bob Davis, was shot and killed by Eugene "Bear" Lincoln. So it's alleged.
In the current Covelo shooting, no one was in fact hit, although, according to the Sheriff's report, "numerous rounds of ammunition" were fired.
The intended target seemed to be the dwelling of Mark Kappl, 42, of Covelo, but not Kappl himself. The shooter was allegedly Kappl's wife Annette, 35, of Covelo, and Larry Whaley, 42, of Covelo. In addition to shots fired into or near the dwelling, obscenities were shouted in the direction of Mark Kappl prior to the shooting, according to witnesses.
The two Kappls are married but estranged, and according to the Sheriff's report, the victim reported that the cause of the shooting was "possibly related to the estranged relationship."
Annette Kappl and Whaley were arrested in downtown Covelo and booked into Mendocino County Jail with bail set at $5,000 each. They were charged with firing a weapon into an occupied dwelling. The weapon, a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, was recovered by deputies from a nearby residence.
While the incident seemed serious but the bail low compared to that set for Rodriguez, Captain Murray of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said, "That's what the court set."
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