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Rip off attempt on marijuana grow op turns into gun battle

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    LAKEBAY, Wash. – An attempted invasion robbery at a home on Key Peninsula that housed a large marijuana grow operation turned into a gun battle between the owner and the robbers Thursday night. One robber is dead, at least two other people are wounded and as many as four people may be on the run in the neighborhood.

    It happened around 8:30 p.m. near Tiedman Road and Herron Road in Lakebay. Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Detective Ed Troyer says there is a "substantial" marijuana grow operation in the home.

    Troyer says as many as seven people may have been involved in the invasion.

    "The homeowner was armed. We have a large amount of suspects, not just a few. We believe possibly up to six, seven suspects came to the residence to do a drug rip or residential robbery. The homeowner fired and there was a large gunbattle," said Troyer.

    Two suspects and the homeowner were shot. One of the suspects died at the scene. The alleged getaway driver and the homeowner were wounded. Their conditions were not immediately known.

    Troyer says handguns and shotguns were used and there are 50 to 100 rounds of spent ammunition at the scene.

    Another three to four suspects are on the loose. Some of them may be armed. They may also be wounded.

    People in the neighborhood are being urged to stay inside, lock their doors and not answer the door.

    "...the part that we're concerned about is we still have three, maybe four suspects at large. We don't know if they've been shot or not. (They were) on the side of the road. They took off on foot and (are) armed. We want the neighbors in this area to keep their doors locked," said Troyer. "We're sure they're just trying to get away after what happened. But, we don't want anyone else to become a victim. We don't want them going to look for refuge somewhere and someone unintentionally becoming a victim. So just be alert, call 9-1-1. We have a ton of people out here that will get to your location very quickly."

    "This is unbelievable," said neighbor Diana McGee. "It could be the neighbor kids. I'm not sure which house it is, but it's our road."

    A woman at a nearby gas station said she heard as many as 15 gunshots.

    Deputies have closed off Tiedman Road at Herron Road. The Washington State Patrol says it is assisting the sheriff's department.

    Stay with KING 5 News for the latest on this developing story.

    KING 5's Chris Daniels and Drew Mikkelsen contributed to this report.

    by KING 5 News
    Posted on October 7, 2010 at 8:59 PM


    There is a brief news video embedded on the news story linked above.

    Also news video of a sheriffs department press conference here: http://www.king5.com/video/featured...ence-on-home-invasion-shootout-104553559.html


  1. veritas.socal
    Sad that the homeowner got shot. Shoulda spun the robbers with a gram of L, for each one. Anyone who robs someone and the tables get turned.. They deserve at least to get shot... Sorry, just keepin it real
  2. AdamM
    This could be a good story for more American cannabis reform. forcing legalization to avoid this again... Or not.
  3. Terrapinzflyer
    Prosecutor Says Lakebay Home Invasion Shooting Death Was Self-Defense

    TACOMA, Wash. -- The Pierce County prosecutor said no charges will be filed against three men in the shooting of another man who was killed inside a Lakebay home.
    Rhett Whitchurch, 44, of White Center, was shot and killed just inside the front door after he and others attempted an armed, home invasion-style robbery of a home, prosecutor Mark Lindquist said.

    Police said Whitchurch and team of men, including 27-year-old Justin Hill, were armed with guns and other weapons when they attacked the home around 8:30 p.m. with 22-year-old Julia Jones acting as their driver Thursday.

    The three men who lived at the home were also armed and returned gunfire, killing Whitchurch, police said.

    One of the homeowners was shot in the shoulder during the shootout and Hill was shot in the leg, police said.

    Lindquist said the killing of Whitchurch was justifiable homicide because the homeowners were defending themselves.

    "Whitchurch was shot and killed by residents who reasonably believed Whitchurch, who was armed, intended to commit a felony and posed a great danger," Lindquist said.

    The investigation into a marijuana growing operation and other alleged drug activity of the three men who live at the home is ongoing and charges may follow, prosecutors said. The three men are in police custody during the investigation.

    Hill and Jones were arraigned Monday.

    Jones was charged with first-degree attempted burglary and was ordered held on $500,000 bail.

    Hill was charged with first-degree assault, first-degree attempted burglary and unlawful possession of a firearm. The first two charges carried weapons enhancements. He was ordered held on $750,000 bail.

    According to investigators, the attempted robbery stemmed from a drug deal in which the buyer was unhappy with the drugs received.

    Prosecutors said James Scott agreed to sell Oxycontin to Julia Jones. When Jones discovered the oxycontin was a "new" type that can't be smoked or injected, Jones, Justin Hill and Whitchurch went to the Key Peninsula home for a refund, brandishing weapons. The gunfight that followed left Whitchurch dead.

    October 11, 2010
  4. Terrapinzflyer
    so somewhere between 4 and 7 heavily armed people going storming in over some prescription pills they are having trouble abusing. FFS!

    Stuff like this just does absolute wonders for the image of drug users and any hope for reform...
  5. fatal
    in fairness if you swim in the waters of selling bad drugs to dope addicts you can drown in shit like this. He did kind of rip them off.

  6. veritas.socal
    well, in the interest of fairness, as swiFatal put it....lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.
    if you are a pot grower, and if you must sell something to make it till harvest...keep it prankster, not gangster.
    and for krishnas sake, ya dont sell it out of your growhouse, which NOBODY should know about anyways...
  7. Euthanatos93420
    It's all in the spin.
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