Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat

An eight-month investigation has determined a Calaveras County sheriff's deputy was justified in the fatal shooting of an Arnold man in March.

The Calaveras County District Attorney's Office reviewed the March 15 shooting of Kevin Charles Duey, 44, who had been serving time on a DUI conviction with an alternative sentencing program ankle monitor, by Cpl. Tom Oldham.

Oldham responded that morning to multiple calls of a man roaming the Blue Lake Springs subdivision with a gun, lying in the road while firing it and possibly attempting to burglarize homes, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The DA's report stated the man, later identified as Duey, appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, waved a pistol in the face of an Ebbetts Pass gas truck driver and was scrambling up an embankment toward a Dawyn Drive home when Oldham located him by following the sound of gunfire.

The report said Oldham identified himself to Duey, who pointed a handgun at him, at which point the corporal shot and killed him.

"The results of the autopsy corroborated statements that Suspect Duey pointed his handgun with his right hand at Corporal Oldham, which caused the rifle bullet to travel in the diagonal direction into and through Suspect Duey's torso. This was consistent with Suspect Duey's body facing away from Corporal Oldham while being turned slightly to his right, looking over his right shoulder, with his right arm raised and extended outward towards Corporal Oldham," the report stated. "This positioning would have placed the right side of Suspect Duey's body towards Corporal Oldham, forcing the deputy to take a shot that entered the posterior (back) … in this position Suspect Duey was able to pose a deadly threat with the handgun to Corporal Oldham."

Surviving relatives of Duey have filed a claim against the county, claiming the shooting was not, in fact, justified.

"The investigation revealed that the actions of Suspect Duey placed the citizens and those in vehicles travelling through the area, and Corporal Oldham at risk of serious bodily injury or death," the DA's report stated. "The decisive actions of Corporal Oldham likely saved the lives of innocent persons who were home at the time of the incident."

The investigation furthermore concluded that, based on autopsy toxicology results, Duey was under the influence of both methamphetamine and alcohol. A methamphetamine pipe was found on his body at the shooting scene, and among 14 rounds fired from his weapon, several struck nearby homes, the report said.

Oldham was initially placed on administrative leave in accordance with department policy following the shooting but subsequently returned to work as a bailiff in the county courthouse. An attempt to reach Sheriff's Office representatives Friday for a statement on whether he will now return to normal patrol duty was unsuccessful.