PUYALLUP, Wash. - Two heavily armed intruders who forced their way into a home with an illegal marijuana grow operation were shot and killed by the homeowner Thursday morning near Puyallup, officials said.
Law enforcement personnel responded to the scene, a luxury home in the 5900 block of 132nd Street, just after 8 a.m. when the homeowner called to report a break-in, said Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff's Office. The homeowner then called back a few minutes later to say shots were fired.
The arriving deputy found two armed people with masks on their faces on the floor of the home's six-car garage. Medics were unable to revive them.
The homeowner told detectives that he opened fire at the intruders when they forced their way into the home, which houses an illegal marijuana grow operation in the attic, Troyer said.
He said it appears the intruders were after the marijuana and possibly cash.
The 35-year-old homeowner and the homeowner's 9-year-old son were not hurt in the incident.
"In this particular case we have two people dead, multiple shots fired. The homeowner is OK; unfortunately it could have gone the other way. We could have had a dead 9-year-old and a dead homeowner," Troyer said.
Ironically, the deadly shootings came on the first day of marijuana legalization in Washington state.
While it is now legal for adults 21 or over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in Washington state, it is still illegal to grow or sell the drug. The state has until late next year to come up with a system of state-licensed growers, processors and retail stores, with the marijuana taxed 25 percent at each stage.
Marijuana also remains illegal under federal law. That means federal agents can still arrest people for it, and it's banned from federal properties, including military bases and national parks.