Marijuana Grower Shot by Butte County Sheriff’s Deputy in Dispute Over Cultivation Ordinance
Press release from the Butte County Sheriff’s Department:
On Tuesday, August 22, 2017, members of the Butte County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) SWAT and Crisis Negotiations Teams responded to a residence on the 1900 block of Durham-Dayton Highway to serve a felony arrest warrant charging Mark Aaron Jensen, 56, with threatening public officers. The arrest warrant resulted from an incident originating on Monday, August 21, 2017. During that incident, Butte County Code Enforcement Officers served paperwork at Jenson’s residence due to marijuana being illegally grown, in violation of Butte County’s Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance. Jensen, was outraged and began calling the county Code Enforcement and Sheriff’s Offices, making threats against officers.
BCSO deputies attempted to make contact with Jensen by telephone on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 in an effort to negotiate his surrender. Jensen, however, would not answer the calls. BCSO then received additional information that Jensen was becoming increasingly more agitated and was armed with several firearms, including a rifle. As a result, the BCSO SWAT and Crisis Negotiation Teams were sent to the area in a further attempt to secure Jensen’s surrender and take him into custody. Before the teams could attempt contact, Jensen brandished a long gun at an uninvolved motorist, who by happenstance had pulled off the road in front of his residence. According to the motorist, Jensen threatened to shoot her if she did not immediately leave the area. The motorist fled and called 9-1-1.
BCSO SWAT and Crisis Negotiation Team members approached Jensen’s residence in an armored vehicle and attempted to establish communication with him over a loudspeaker. Jensen, who was in his house, would not respond. After a period of time, the team backed away from the residence and developed an alternative plan to deploy the Bomb Squad robot closer to the house and utilize its on-board camera and loudspeaker to establish communication with Jensen. At approximately 7:30 p.m., before the robot could be deployed, Jensen came out of the residence, armed with a handgun, and walked into the middle of the roadway. Jensen waved the gun around in an angry manner and then pointed it at deputies in the area. Fearing for his safety and the safety of other deputies, Deputy Matt Calkins, a ten year veteran, fired a single shot, striking Jensen. SWAT team medics immediately attempted life-saving efforts; however, Jensen died at the scene. The handgun Jensen pointed at deputies was recovered from his person and found to be loaded.
The Butte County Officer Involved Shooting and Critical Incident Protocol Team has been activated to investigate this deputy involved shooting. The Protocol Team is comprised of detectives and investigators from state and local agencies throughout Butte County. The team works closely with the Butte County District Attorney’s Office to conduct complete, thorough and independent investigations in cases of this nature. Further details related to this matter will be released by the Butte County District Attorney’s Office when the investigation is completed.
Deputy Calkins has been temporarily reassigned from field operations to administrative duties within the office, pending completion of the investigation.