Two Yuba County deputies who were shot multiple times at a Rastafarian church’s marijuana farm in Northern California on Tuesday, are expected to survive, authorities said.
The deputies, whose identities were not released, underwent surgery for their injuries and were listed in fair condition Wednesday, according to the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department.
The suspected gunman, who has not been identified, was found dead on the remote property in Oregon House, a small community northeast of Sacramento, following the shooting.
Trouble on the small pot farm in the 9000 block of Marysville Road erupted just after 8:30 a.m., Heidi Lepp, a reverend at Sugarleaf Rastafarian Church, told KRCA-TV.
The man was a new worker and had been acting erratically, she said. He was armed with a handgun and pulling out marijuana plants from the ground, Lepp told the news station.
“He was acting irritable and clearly was very disturbed,” she told the station.
Sheriff Steven Durfor said the deputies were called to the farm. After they arrived, the man ran off and hid in a mobile home on the property.
The deputies — 10-year and 14-year veterans with the Sheriff’s Department — entered the residence, but they didn’t immediately see the man, he said.
After they cleared the residence, Durfor said, the man emerged and shot multiple rounds at the deputies who returned fire, he said.
One deputy was struck twice — in the lower pelvic area and thigh. The other deputy was hit in the arm.
A third deputy, who had arrived earlier and was near the back of the residence, heard the gun battle and notified dispatchers.
“The 22-year veteran entered the residence not once, but twice to extract the two injured deputies from the residence and move them to a safe zone away from that residence,” the sheriff said.
The deputy was not injured.
Meanwhile, law enforcement personnel from multiple agencies, including SWAT team members, surrounded the area and evacuated nearby homes.
“They made multiple commands to the residence without any response from the suspect,” Durfor said.
Members of the SWAT team fired tear gas into the home and deployed a robot to get a closer look inside.
By 2 p.m., SWAT members entered the home and found the suspect dead from gunshot wounds. He was likely killed during the gun battle with deputies, he said.
Durfor said he was thankful the deputies’ injuries weren’t more serious.
“They went up there and they did their job and took care of business,” he said.
The Sheriff’s Department is investigating the shooting and the suspect’s ties to the property, Durfor said.
The rural foothill property is between 20 and 40 acres, Lepp told KRCA-TV. Church members, according to Lepp, use marijuana as a sacrament.