COPPEROPOLIS — A car fire on lower Telegraph Road Wednesday led to a shocking discovery in Copperopolis.
Detectives were back out at the scene Thursday combing the area for clues into the county’s first homicide of the year.
Just after 7 a.m., Calaveras County sheriff’s deputies were sent to a vehicle fire at the intersection of lower Telegraph Road and Highway 4.
Flames reached 15 to 20 feet in the air, burning part of a tree and leaving melted metal and car parts behind at the scene.
“The fire department arrived on scene, they extinguished the fire and located a body in the vehicle,” said Calaveras County Sheriff’s Sgt. Greg Stark.
Deputies say a Cal Fire captain spotted a man hiding out in a field off Highway 4 and notified detectives still at the scene. When they tried to approach the man, he started making threats.
“He made statements that he had a weapon and that was going to use it on himself and/or deputies. They created a perimeter and called for the SWAT team,” Stark said.
Highway 4 was shut down during the hourslong standoff.
“The SWAT team deployed Knox, our K-9, who was able to pull the suspect into a position of advantage where the SWAT team moved in and placed him under arrest,” Stark explained.
Deputies identified the suspect as David Joseph Fagundes, a man wanted out of Washington state on probation violations.
They say investigators found evidence linking him to the deadly car fire.
“It’s being investigated as a homicide,” Stark said.
Deputies are waiting on an autopsy report to confirm the victim’s identity and determine the cause of death.