FORT BRAGG, Calif. – A suspect in the killings of a Fort Bragg councilman and a county land trust official was shot and killed Saturday after a massive manhunt in the redwood forests of Northern California, authorities said.

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Ramos said Aaron Bassler, 35, was shot and killed around noon outside Fort Bragg.  He wouldn’t elaborate, except to say that his agency’s SWAT team was involved in the final confrontation.

Councilman Jere Melo, 69, who also worked as a security consultant for a local timber company, had been investigating reports of an illegal marijuana farm when he was ambushed by Bassler, authorities said, on Aug. 27.

Police said Bassler was cultivating some 400 poppy plants and was holed up in a makeshift bunker when he fired on Melo.

Bassler was also wanted in the shooting of Matthew Coleman of the Mendocino County Land Trust. The former Fish and Game Department employee was found dead next to his car Aug. 11 up the coast from Fort Bragg.

Bassler eluded authorities for more than a month. He exchanged gunfire with Alameda County deputies Thursday, when police noticed he was clad in black and had a high-powered rifle that was seen in a surveillance photo. It was the same weapon he is accused of using to kill Melo on Aug. 27.

Bassler’s father, James, was out of town Saturday. His stepmother, Helen, said she was devastated but did not want to comment further.