FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A home invasion robbery in Merced County has left one man dead and two wounded. Deputies said the intruders wanted marijuana but ended up in a gun battle with the victims. Authorities are still searching for other suspects who left the scene.
Deputies said the famiily fought back when criminals forced their way into the home Monday morning. A 29-year-old suspect was shot to death and a 27-year-old has serious injuries. The 55-year-old homeowner was also wounded during the chaos.
Deputies said a mother, father, and adult son were inside this home off Franklin Road when several people pulled up in a car and knocked on the front door claiming to have mechanical issues. Moments later, the armed suspects forced their way inside, but one of the residents managed to grab a gun. "Just shortly after 2:00 a.m., dispatchers with the sheriff's office received a frantic 911 call reporting a home invasion and shots fired,' said Sgt. Delray Shelton, Merced County Sheriff's Office.
Sergeant Shelton said one suspect died at the scene, and another was taken to the hospital in serious but stable condition. But it appears they also fired back. "The male homeowner was also wounded and being treated at a local hospital and is expected to survive."
Investigators believe the suspects picked this place because it's been known for marijuana sales. Authorities investigated it in the past for serving as a medical marijuana disepensary, which is not allowed in Merced County. "We used to have people just pull in our driveway and park to come over here. There were so many people coming and going-- it wasn't funny," said Grant Ford, neighbor.
Ford said he likes the family and thought the drug sales had stopped-- but, deputies tell Action News they did find several pot plants still growing inside the home.
Deputies said it's not clear if the victims could face any charges for the marijuana. Right now, the county ordinance allows people to grow up to 12 plants per property. But the suspect who is in the hospital is expected to be booked into jail when he recovers.