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.