More details emerge in 2 Nevada City homicides (VIDEO)
Special to the Sierra Sun
Authorities have identified a man as a person of interest in one Nevada City homicide, and have also released the name of a victim in an unrelated homicide investigation.
Zachery Isaiah Minissale, 34, from Nevada City, has been identified as a person of interest in the alleged homicide of Jessic Clayton Robiere, 30, a United Kingdom man who was living around Nevada County at the time of his death. Minissale was named in a press release put out Monday evening by the Eureka County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada.
Minissale died last week in a shootout with deputies, Eureka County has said.
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Also on Monday, authorities identified Raul Iturralde, 43, from Nevada City as the alleged victim in a separate homicide case. Russell Harvey Rippetoe, 57, has been formally charged with murder in connection with Iturralde’s death, after being arrested at a Nevada City address last week on suspicion of homicide.
Last Wednesday, Minissale was killed in a shootout by Eureka County sheriff’s deputies after he had allegedly shot and wounded a Nevada public transportation worker earlier that day, in what authorities believe was a random act of violence. That same day, authorities in Nevada County found Robiere dead from multiple gunshot wounds in Minissale’s Nevada City residence on Bodie Ridge Road.
Robiere appeared to have been dead for less than 48 hours when he was found by deputies last Wednesday, according to sheriff’s Lt. Sean Scales.
While the Sheriff’s Office declined to state what weapon was used to kill Robiere, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation, Minissale had a Smith & Wesson .45-caliber revolver on his person when he was killed by deputies, according to Eureka County authorities.
Authorities have established that Minissale and Robiere knew each other. However, the extent of their relationship is unclear, and there is no information yet as to a possible motive Minissale may have had for the alleged homicide.
Robiere, who had a listed address in Truckee at the time of his death, may have been “couch surfing” at different residences in Nevada City, including Minissale’s home, though this has not been confirmed, Scales said. Minissale actively lived at the Bodie Ridge Road residence, and there is no evidence to indicate that he rented the home out regularly, Scales added.
BODY CAM FOOTAGE
Body camera footage released Monday shows Eureka County deputies exchanging deadly gunfire with Minissale for over a minute before the suspect was killed. The confrontation occurred after officers had engaged in a vehicle pursuit of the suspect, which ended after one of the pursuing deputies was able to use tire deflation spikes to disable Minissale’s vehicle, a white Ram cargo van.
In the video footage, Minissale’s van can be seen coming to a halt, and Eureka County deputies are heard calling on the suspect to surrender. Instead, Minissale opened fire on the officers, resulting in a minute-long exchange of gunfire that ended when Minissale was apparently struck twice by bullets fired by Undersheriff Tyler Thomas, according to Eureka County Sheriff Jesse Watts.
Medical aid was provided to the suspect, but he was pronounced dead about an hour after the shooting ended, Watts said.
Eureka County deputies originally initiated a pursuit of Minissale shortly after 10 a.m. June 16 after Minissale reportedly shot and wounded a Nevada Department of Transportation employee in a construction zone on Highway 278. The employee, identified only as a male adult, was hit by bullets in the right chest area and near his ear, but survived, and was later reportedly in stable condition. Watts said Tuesday that the employee has since been released from the hospital.
Minissale apparently shot the worker after the employee attempted to stop him from driving through an active work zone on Highway 278, but Watts described the suspect’s actions as “random,” saying that there appeared to be no obvious motive for the shooting.
No Eureka County deputies were wounded during the firefight with Minissale, and the deputy who shot the suspect, Thomas, has since been placed on administrative leave, per the department’s protocol in investigating all officer-involved shootings, Watts said.
On Monday, Rippetoe was formally charged with first-degree murder in the death of Iturralde, per documents filed by the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office.
Rippetoe was originally arrested for homicide on Thursday at his address on the 26000 block of North Bloomfield Road, where he lives in his trailer.
At the time of his death, Iturralde also lived on the same property on North Bloomfield Road as Rippetoe, and the men apparently both worked at an illegal marijuana growing operation on the property, according to Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh. Iturralde had just recently moved to the Nevada City address from Texas, Walsh added.
Local law enforcement originally received a tip last week from an unknown source, indicating that Rippetoe had killed Iturralde after an argument between the two men had escalated. The homicide apparently took place on or around June 12, according to prosecutors.
It appears as though Iturralde and Rippetoe became acquainted through working together at the marijuana grow at the North Bloomfield Road property, and there is no other information available yet as to their relationship, Walsh said.
While no body was originally located when Rippetoe was arrested Thursday, investigators who searched the area around Rippetoe’s trailer were able to locate the body of a deceased male adult just two days later.
The located remains, which appeared to have been buried recently, have not yet been identified as those of Iturralde, although there is some evidence they are his, according to sheriff’s Lt. Sean Scales. It could be days or even weeks before the deceased male is identified, as an autopsy of the body is still in progress, Scales said.
Rippetoe appeared at the Nevada County courthouse Monday for an arraignment, and is scheduled to next appear in court on July 1 to enter a plea, records show.
Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union, a sister publicaiton of the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at swyer@theunion
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