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Gunfire exchange over marijuana plants leaves one injured
mj plants
Merced County Sheriffs detectives found marijuana plants and shell casings in a dirt roadway near a Delhi residence where gunfire was exchanged and one person injured during a robbery. - photo by Photo Contributed

A Delhi man is in critical condition after he was shot by assailants who were bent on stealing his marijuana plants.

The victim, identified by the Merced County Sheriff’s Department as Jose Rosales, 21, was shot in the upper part of his body at least once during the Wednesday morning robbery. He has undergone at least two surgeries and was listed in critical condition at a Modesto hospital.

The shooting occurred around 5 a.m. Wednesday in the 10000 block of Cortez Avenue. Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area after receiving several reports of shots fired.

The first deputies arriving at the scene found Rosales wounded and sitting on his front porch.

The sheriff’s department stated Rosales had 13 marijuana plants growing in his backyard. Rosales had seen individuals peeking over the fence at the plants and suspected a theft was imminent, sheriff spokesman Sgt. Delray Shelton said.

Rosales had set up a camp area outside near the plants and was staying there overnight. He had also armed himself with a handgun, according to the sheriff’s department.

Rosales was awoken when the thieves climbed over the fence and there was an exchange of gunfire between Rosales and the robbers.

Some of the plants were located in a dirt road behind the residence. Shell casings were also found at the scene.

The sheriff’s department did not have any suspect information available.

Authorities are asking anyone with information regarding the incident, to contact the Merced County Sheriff’s Detective’s Division at 385-7472. All information will be kept confidential.