Crime

Charging decision expected Tuesday for Turlock man arrested in officers-involved shooting in Merced County

Law enforcement investigates scene of officer-involved shooting in Snelling

Law enforcement officers investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting on Snelling Road in Merced County, Calif., on Friday, March 10, 2017. Kevin William Mayhew, 40, of Turlock, fled Thursday while Turlock Police served a search warrant.
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Law enforcement officers investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting on Snelling Road in Merced County, Calif., on Friday, March 10, 2017. Kevin William Mayhew, 40, of Turlock, fled Thursday while Turlock Police served a search warrant.

Prosecutors expect to decide Tuesday morning whether there is enough evidence to charge the 40-year-old son of a Stanislaus County Superior Court civil judge with attempted murder in connection with a police chase last week that ended in a hail of gunfire.

Kevin W. Mayhew remained in custody Monday at the Merced County jail on allegations of attempted murder of a peace officer, authorities said. Bond was set at $4 million.

Mayhew also could face additional charges, including evading police for leading officers on the nearly hour-long chase, which ended around 9:20 p.m. on Snelling Road, about a quarter of a mile from Highway 59.

Detective-Sgt. Chuck Hale, with the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, said investigators planned to file initial reports by the end of business Monday with the Merced County Distinct Attorney’s Office.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Harold Nutt said prosecutors would review those reports and make a filing decision before noon Tuesday. Mayhew would be arraigned Tuesday afternoon, if charges are filed as anticipated.

The Merced Sheriff’s Office is leading the shooting investigation. Hale said the “full investigation” wouldn’t be completed for at least several weeks, due to the large number of officers and deputies involved. The exact number of shots fired during the gunfight remains unclear, but authorities have said more than a dozen gunshots were exchanged.

Due to the complex nature of the crime scene in Snelling, the California Department of Justice was called in to assist gathering and processing the evidence.

Turlock police are leading the investigation into the police chase.

“Our main focus is the shooting investigation,” Hale said Monday in a telephone interview.

Mayhew, the son of Stanislaus Superior Court Judge William Mayhew, was under investigation in connection with an October 2016 homicide case in Turlock. Police were preparing to search for evidence in that case Thursday night at a home in the area of Hawkeye Avenue and Quincy Road and other locations when, according to police, Mayhew sped away from them in a car. Officers said Mayhew led them on a lengthy chase that finally ended near Snelling when he allegedly opened fire on law enforcement.

Six peace officers returned fire — three Merced County sheriff’s deputies, two police officers from Merced, and one from Turlock. Mayhew initially was believed to have been struck multiple times and was reported to be in “very critical condition.” Authorities later learned, however, that Mayhew was struck just once; the injury was described as a grazing wound.

He was booked into the Merced jail early Friday and placed in a special isolated “safety cell” “for his own protection” because authorities feared he could harm himself, Undersheriff Jason Goins confirmed Monday.

It wasn’t immediately clear Monday when the names of the six peace officers involved in the shooting would be released. Authorities with the Sheriff’s Office and Merced Police Department said it likely would happen early this week. The officers and deputies from those agencies remained on paid administrative leave Monday pending review, a standard procedure in use-of-force cases.

The Turlock Police Department did not respond Monday to telephone calls seeking comment. The status of Turlock’s homicide investigation also remained unclear Monday.

Turlock police have said Mayhew was a “person of interest” in the Oct. 31 slaying of Juy Anthony Castelo, who was shot to death by a homeowner after breaking into a house on North Thor Street. Police said they were searching for weapons possibly tied to that case. They also said numerous firearms were found in Mayhew’s car following Thursday’s shootout with law enforcement.

Rob Parsons: 209-385-2482

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