Thomas Miller, an officer with the Ceres Police Department for over a year, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into Sunday evening's fatal shooting that occurred inside Beyer Park in Modesto.
Miller, who was in the park off-duty meeting a female friend, fatally shot and killed a man who brandished a BB gun at him.
Killed in the 10:21 p.m. shooting was Jason Moland, 29, who was aspiring to join the ranks of law enforcement.
When Modesto officers arrived they found Miller over the mortally wounded man administering cardio pulmonary resuscitation. He later died at a Modesto hospital.
The initial reports were that Miller and the woman were approached by Moland. A confrontation ensued between the two men and then Moland produced and pointed the gun at Miller, who was armed.
The circumstances surrounding Miller meeting the woman in the park or any possible connection to Moland have not been made public. Miller is married, as was Moland.
Ceres Police Department spokesman Lt. Chris Perry said his agency is not commenting on the shooting since it is a matter being investigated by Modesto Police.
During his time as an officer Miller has been involved in a number of incidences that are noteworthy. Earlier this month Miller was involved in a Tasering of wanted suspect Deanna Webb at the Hatch Road Prime Shine after she refused to surrender.
In October, Miller was injured when he was accidentally bitten by a police canine during a pursuit and arrest of parolee Brandon Blas.
Moland, who was a loss prevention officer at Winco Foods store in Modesto since 2006, reportedly had applied for a sheriff's deputy position and had passed the agility test, written exam and interview panel.
Ceres Police Department spokesman Lt. Chris Perry said it's normal for off-duty officers to carry a gun and that some agencies require it for protection these days when officers are being targeted for random killings.
"We are still looking into the relationship between the three that are involved in this incident and looking at any type of motive that led up to this shooting," said Modesto Police Department spokesperson Heather Graves.
Investigations are being conducted by Modesto and Ceres police as well as the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office.