Crime - Sacto 911

Man accused of illegal pot grow fatally shot in Butte County standoff

A man accused of operating an illegal marijuana growing operation was fatally shot Tuesday night following a standoff with Butte County sheriff’s deputies.

Mark Aaron Jensen, 56, was outraged when he was found in violation of the county’s marijuana cultivation ordinance and had threatened code enforcement and law enforcement officers, as well as a passing motorist, according to a Butte County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Tuesday’s standoff occurred in the 1900 block of Durham-Dayton Highway in the community of Durham when sheriff’s SWAT officers and a crisis negotiation team attempted to serve a felony arrest warrant charging Jensen with threatening public officers.

The arrest warrant stemmed from incidents that began Monday, when Butte County code enforcement officers served paperwork at Jensen’s residence because marijuana was being illegally grown there, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Jensen began calling the county code enforcement and sheriff’s offices, making threats against officers, the news release said. Deputies attempted to contact Jensen by phone Tuesday in an effort to negotiate his surrender, but he did not answer the calls.

The Sheriff’s Office was informed that Jensen was becoming increasingly agitated and had several firearms, including a rifle. The SWAT officers and crisis negotiation team were sent to the residence in an attempt to get him to surrender.

Before the teams arrived, Jensen brandished a rifle at a motorist who happened to pull off the road in front of his residence, the news release said. The motorist, who called 911, reported that Jensen threatened to shoot her if she did not immediately leave the residence.

The law enforcement teams approached Jensen’s home in an armored vehicle and attempted to communicate with him over a loudspeaker, but Jensen, who was inside, did not respond, the news release said. The teams eventually backed away from the residence and began developing plans to deploy a bomb squad robot with an on-board camera and loudspeaker to establish communication with Jensen.

About 7:30 p.m., before they could deploy the robot, Jensen came out of the home armed with a handgun and walked into the middle of the roadway. He waved the gun around in a threatening manner and then pointed it at deputies in the area, the news release said.

Fearing for his safety and that of other deputies, Deputy Matt Calkins, a 10-year veteran of the department, fired a single shot, striking Jensen, the Sheriff’s Office reported. SWAT medics attempted life-saving efforts, but Jensen died at the scene. The handgun Jensen pointed at deputies was recovered and found to be loaded, the news release said.

The Butte County Officer Involved Shooting and Critical Incident Protocol Team is investigating the shooting. The team is made up of detectives and investigators from state and local agencies throughout Butte County, and works with the Butte County District Attorney’s Office to conduct investigations in such cases. Deputy Calkins has been temporarily reassigned to administrative duties pending completion of the investigation, the news release said.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy