Nevada City, California

From the Mercury News of October 1, 2007

Nevada County marijuana shootout leaves one dead

A homeowner apparently engaged in a gun battle with two masked men who tried to break into his marijuana garden, killing one of the alleged assailants and ending up seriously wounded himself.

Nevada County sheriff’s deputies say the Saturday night shootout started when two masked men armed with assault rifles broke into Dusty Beck’s home in North San Juan, just north of Nevada City.

Beck fatally shot one of the assailants with a shotgun, the sheriff’s department said. Investigators did not immediately name the 31-year-old Yuba County man who died at the scene.

Beck, 43, was shot once in the leg and twice in the abdomen. A hospital spokeswoman said he was recovering after surgery at Sutter Roseville Medical Center, where he was taken by helicopter.

The second robber fled, said Nevada County Sheriff’s Det. Ray Kress.

Kress and sheriff’s Lt. Bill Evans said the robbers apparently wanted the nine marijuana plants they found on Beck’s property. Beck has previously reported similar theft attempts, Evans said.

“A guy loses his life over nine pot plants,” he said.

Lt. Joe Salivar said Beck is unlikely to face homicide charges because he was apparently defending himself during a home invasion. Narcotics officers were assisting with the investigation, but will leave it to the district attorney to decide whether Beck should face drug charges, Salivar said Monday.

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