Medical marijuana owner shoots man outside of Spokane store

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by SHAWN CHITNIS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 6:20 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 11 at 3:30 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Authorities said the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary shot a man outside of his store on Market and Freya late Sunday night.

Other employees in the medical marijuana business said they are worried about the safety of their own business and patients.

The owner told deputies he was inside his business when has saw a shadow outside. He went outside with a shotgun to investigate and found a man.

Officials said the two exchanged words and the owner shot the other man in the abdomen with the shotgun.  The man was unarmed.

Detectives are trying to determine exactly what caused the business owner to fire his gun. The victim was taken to Sacred Heart and underwent surgery.

It is unclear if there will be charges against the store owner. Detectives will decide on charges after they investigate further and speak with the victim as well as another person who was inside the store during the shooting. Detectives are looking into if there is surveillance video in the area.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said there has not been a rise in crimes involving dispensaries.

"I haven't heard about a whole lot of cases where we investigated, where it's been a medical marijuana so I think the ratio is about the same,” said Lt. Steve Barbieri with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

People in the medical marijuana business said they are taking more steps to protect their stores.

“Oh it's disheartening for all of us, we trying to be as safe as possible. We've all upped our security just to be safe in general,” said Jennifer Lorz with Northside Alternative Wellness Center.

Lorz’ store in Hillyard is one of many dispensaries with several layers of security.
Staff said the incidents make them worry about helping patients get the medicine they need.

"It causes a lot of concern for our medical community, we hate to see things like this in terms of safety,” said Lorz.

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