Man dies during armed marijuana grow robbery in Fresno County, deputies say

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A chaotic scene in the foothills Monday morning left one man dead. Deputies believe the man was trying to steal marijuana. It happened at Dunlap Road and Buck Canyon Road in Fresno County.

Investigators are interviewing suspects and victims as they work to figure out whether this homicide was justified. The victims were growing 200 mature marijuana plants on their property.

Around 8:45 Monday morning, Fresno County Sheriff's deputies say some residents who were growing marijuana noticed armed robbers stealing their illegal crop.

Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said, "What had happened is the residents there on the property saw a group of people in their marijuana garden attempting to steal some of the plants."

The victims, who live on Buck Canyon Road, in the community of Miramonte told investigators the pot thieves were shooting and jumping into cars to leave, when one of the suspects was run over by a pickup truck, believed to be driven by one of the victim's family members.

"There's a lot to play out here," said Botti. "This could come down to self-defense, but at the same time, when you have an illegal substance- it's kinda like inviting these people into your backyard."

Two suspects walking near the local post office were detained. A few others were also captured and questioned. Deputies spent several hours looking for two remaining suspects who may have gotten away.

As a precaution, Dunlap Elementary School was on lockdown for about 45 minutes. The man who was killed has not been identified yet. An autopsy is set for Tuesday.

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