Marijuana garden owner in Fresno charged in shooting of thief
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Police on Wednesday arrested 47-year-old Phayvanh Dydouanghphan for shooting a man who had apparently stolen marijuana from his backyard garden.
Dydouanghphan is a medical marijuana patient and is allowed to grow pot for his personal use. Several other people, who live in the house in the 900 Block of Belmont, are also said to be medical marijuana patients. Their backyard garden appears to have hundreds of plants. They tower above the six foot fence that surrounds the property. Early Wednesday morning, four people in a red pickup knocked down part of the fence and made off with several large plants. Police say Dydounghphan fired at the pickup. The victim, a 40-year-old man was shot in the head. At 11PM Wednesday night Fresno Police said he was not expected to live.
Wednesday evening relatives of Dydouanghphan were busy mending the fence around the marijuana garden. His brother, who wouldn't tell us his name believes the shooting was justified.
When asked how the family felt about what happened he said, "We feel pretty good, because the government gives us rights."
When asked if he felt the shooting was justified, he responded; "Self defense. Self defense. You gotta protect your home. You can't let somebody come to your house and shoot you, you're gonna shoot back."
When asked if he knew the thief had a gun he said; "Yeah, of course. They a thief. They are gonna have a gun."
Police have not said whether the alleged thief had a weapon. But it appears he was shot while fleeing. Attorney and Action News Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi says that doesn't sound like self defense.
"You have a right to protect yourself on your property if you fear your life is in danger. It's pretty clear in this case, the person doing the shooting didn't think his life was in danger, especially if they're driving away in a pickup truck." Capozzi said.
Fresno Police have questioned a woman who was driving the pickup truck. They are looking for three men who ran away after she stopped at nearby Roeding Park to seek help for the wounded man.
On September 8, 2010, at approximately 6:38 am, solid waste employees were flagged down by a person inside Roeding Park. The person told them their friend had been shot. Officers discovered a 40-year old Caucasian male inside of a vehicle who was suffering from a gunshot wound to the upper body. The victim was transported to the Central Regional Medical Center. He is currently listed in critical condition and is not expected to survive his injuries.
On-scene investigation and subsequent follow-up investigation by Homicide Detectives Ray Villalvazo and Mark Yee determined that a theft of marijuana plants occurred at a residence located at 919 W. Belmont. It was revealed that four residents had marijuana cards and were allowed to grow marijuana plants. The residents had over 200 marijuana plants that had grown to full length with some being as tall as eight feet.
This morning, the 40-year-old victim and several accomplices went to 919 W. Belmont to steal some of the marijuana plants. They entered the resident's back yard and took a small amount of plants from the yard. The victim and accomplices loaded the plants into a truck and left the area. The victim, a passenger, was inside the truck. The truck was traveling eastbound on Belmont Avenue from Durant when it drove in front of 919 W. Belmont. At that point, Phayvanh Dydouangphan, 47, a resident of 919 W. Belmont and one of the marijuana card holders, shot at the victim. The victim was struck while seated inside the truck. The truck drove into Roeding Park and came to rest inside the park. The firearm used in the shooting has been recovered.
The Street Violence Section's Homicide Unit is handling the shooting investigation while the Department's Major Narcotic Unit is investigating the marijuana grow. Dydouangphan was arrested for the shooting. Dydouangphan has had no contacts with law enforcement.
There were also four adult Caucasian males that were involved in the theft but fled the scene prior to officer's arrival. These subjects need to be identified and interviewed.
If anyone has any questions, please contact Homicide Detective Ray Villalvazo at 621-2407 or you can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 498-STOP.
marijuana, medical marijuana, shooting, fresno county, fresno, fresno police department, local, gene haagenson
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