DA: Deputy killed armed man in self-defense Sniper Calkins was almost 130 yards away from Jensen

Butte County District Attorney’s slide

by Dave Waddell

A Butte County sheriff’s sniper was nearly 130 yards away from a drunken, pistol-waving Mark Jensen when the officer shot him dead with a rifle Aug. 17 in the roadway in front of his Durham residence.

The distance between the two men was about the same as from the back of one end zone to the back of the other end zone on a football field.

Jensen never fired his .45 caliber Glock semi-automatic, but the sniper, deputy Matt Calkins, peering through his rifle’s scope, believed Jensen was pointing the handgun at him and fired in self-defense, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey ruled this week. Calkins was in a prone position behind a tree in an orchard wearing camouflage clothing, including a dirt-colored helmet, when he pulled the trigger on his .308 caliber rifle. read more

Desmond’s dad: Meeting set with AG Civil rights attorney reached out to Xavier Becerra

photo courtesy of the Phillips family

by Dave Waddell

A prominent lawyer representing the family of Desmond Phillips, a mentally ill young black man killed March 17 by Chico police, has arranged a face-to-face meeting with state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to discuss the shooting, according to David Phillips, Desmond’s father.

The meeting will be held Nov. 9 at the AG’s office in San Francisco and include David Phillips and his attorney, John L. Burris of Oakland, Phillips said.

“Mr. Burris was the one who got the meeting with Xavier Becerra,” David Phillips told ChicoSol this week. “The purpose is to present our evidence … to have those officers fired and brought up on murder charges.” read more

Student activist’s grisly killing still unsolved Marc Thompson’s dad: Son was ‘destined for greatness’

photos courtesy of Thompson family

We will never be the same because of you,
We will never be the same without you,
You will be remembered.

–From a poem by film director Lee Mun Wah in remembrance of Marc Anthony Thompson

by Dave Waddell

Marc Thompson had a big smile – broad and gap-toothed — and an even bigger personality. He made a mark on people, “like a blazing star across the midnight sky,” in the words of activist Lee Mun Wah, one of Thompson’s mentors. And he had dedicated his young life to fighting against a litany of social injustices.

Then, three years ago this month, he was brutally killed, his body found in his burned-out car in a remote area about 28 miles northeast of Oroville. Thompson’s parents, still devastated and mystified over the murder, continue to question whether the Butte County Sheriff’s Department did enough to apprehend his killer or killers. read more

DA: No crime by shooters in Rushing death Peaceful Ventura man behaved bizarrely in Chico

Tyler Rushing

by Dave Waddell and Leslie Layton

Tyler Rushing, who died during a chaotic confrontation in close quarters with Chico police, most likely succumbed to an earlier “devastating gunshot” wound from a private security guard responding to a burglary.

That’s the conclusion of Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey in a 17-page report made available to ChicoSol and other news media prior to a press briefing by Ramsey this morning.

Ramsey also wrote that a medical examiner was taken aback after multiple toxicology reports turned up a “moderate” amount of marijuana in Rushing’s system but no other drugs. read more

Parents plead for police restraint "Bullets are not the answer," says Tyler Rushing's father

photo by Dave Waddell

The father of Tyler Rushing, Scott Rushing (center), talks with concerned Chico citizens.

by Dave Waddell

Scott Rushing stood Sunday across Main Street from the title company building in which his son, Tyler, was shot to death July 23 by Chico police.

“I guess you could call it his mausoleum,” said Rushing, before conducting a moment of silence in memory of his only son and other victims of law enforcement killings in Butte County. Rushing said he found it “particularly abhorrent” that his son’s body was Tased and handcuffed after the fatal shooting.

A bit earlier, Rushing, along with his wife Paula, had spoken to a group of about two dozen gathered at the corner of Fourth and Main streets – City Hall serving as a backdrop – and he made a tearful plea for police restraint in dealing with people in mental crisis. (See video at right.) read more

Fewer officers enroll in Butte crisis training Chico PD, though, ups CIT involvement after shootings

photo by Karen Laslo

Chico Police Chief Mike O’Brien

by Dave Waddell

In a year of three deadly officer-involved shootings within five months in Butte County, overall attendance is down markedly among law enforcement personnel in Butte College’s annual Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) academy.

However, the Chico Police Department, involved in two of those fatal shootings, is sending three officers to the CIT academy, after having almost no presence there in recent years.

The academy, which begins Monday at the Chico Fire Training Center, provides instruction in de-escalation techniques and in dealing with the mentally ill. For its first seven years, the 40-hour training was conducted by Andy Duch, a recently retired Butte County sheriff’s captain. Duch quit the CIT post in protest shortly after Chico police shot and killed Desmond Phillips, a 25-year-old mentally ill black man, in his West Fourth Avenue living room on March 17. read more