Shooting at Home Pot Grow Doesn't Qualify Under Make My Day Law?

At this hour, Denver police officers are investigating a shooting following what's described as an attempted burglary at a marijuana home grow in South Denver.

The scenario suggests that this could be the first reported Make My Day shooting involving a pot grow.

However, officers on the scene suggest that the incident may not qualify under the law, which allows individuals to use lethal force against home invaders.

And there's currently ongoing debate about whether the grow operation was legal — although the owner insists that it is.

The location of the incident was 746 South Wolff Street, an area captured in the following interactive graphic. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View on Google Maps."

According to reports from 7News and Fox31, the owner of the home was operating what he contends is a legal marijuana grow.

After he had numerous plants stolen approximately six months ago, he was reportedly on alert for theft.

Then, early this morning, he heard noises near his garage

There, he confronted three individuals — and when they fled, he opened fire.

One of the individuals appears to have been struck in the shoulder, possibly while jumping over a fence. At least that's the working theory right now, based on someone arriving at a local hospital with such a wound at approximately 5 a.m.

Around that time, reporters were arriving on Wolff Street and tweeting photos from the scene, including 9News' Noel Brennan....

...and 7News' Lindsay Watts:

A short time ago, Watts added this interesting piece of information:

Of course, police officers won't be the ones to determine if the incident qualifies under Make My Day. That's the call of the Denver District Attorney's Office.

But if the possible intruder was shot while running away, the scenario might be comparable to a shooting that took place in Colorado Springs circa 2010.

As we've reported, Bryson Dewberry stole a bottle of vodka from a liquor store owned by Chang Ho Yi and took off running. Yi followed and shot Dewberry with a .357 revolver after the latter had jumped into a car. The bullet traced a path from Dewberry's torso to his jaw before blowing a hole through his cheek.

Yi, who didn't immediately report the shooting, was eventually arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, because, as we noted, "the state's Make My Day law permits business owners and homeowners to shoot in self-defense, but not if they're under no personal threat and are simply protecting their property." But prosecutors decided against charging him because of the muddy circumstances.

A couple of years after the incident, Dewberry sued Yi for shooting him, citing at least $142,000 in medical bills. In 2014, a jury hearing the case determined that 65 percent of the blame for what happened to Dewberry and just 35 percent to Yi, who wasn't required to pay anything.

It's too soon to tell whether the latest case will follow a similar trajectory, but there's certainly that possibility. Look below to see a Fox31 report from the scene of the Wolff Street shooting.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts