Medical marijuana theft attempt ends in deadly shooting in Phoenix park

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A man looking to buy -- and then steal -- medical marijuana is dead after a shooting in a Phoenix park.

It happened Thursday night in El Reposo Park near Seventh Street and Southern Avenue.

According to police, a 19-year-old man responded to a Craigslist ad. He and the seller, a 54-year-old man, negotiated over the phone and then arranged to meet at the park just before 10 p.m.

The suspect approached the seller's vehicle on foot.

"When the seller asked to see the suspect's medical marijuana card, the suspect pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the victim in an attempt to rob him of the marijuana," Sgt. Trent Crump said in a news release.

When the suspect became distracted for a moment, the seller, who was sitting in the back seat of his car, pulled out a gun of his own and fired several times.

The suspect returned fire, hitting the vehicle at least once.

The victim and several witnesses fled the scene. Responding officers detained and questioned them. Everybody has been released pending further investigation.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, died at a local hospital.

It is not clear if the man who was trying to sell the medical marijuana will face charges.

"Based on what he's told us, there's certainly the justification from a self-defense standpoint," said Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Steve Martos. "However, there is still some things that we have to do in order to confirm or to definitively say that he was in fact in fear for his life."