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Cops respond to shooting, find hissing alligators guarding pot plants

Thurston County Sheriff's Department / AP

Two 5-foot alligators were found at a home where a man was shot on Monday. Police say they're guard gators, meant to protect the resident's marijuana plants, but the man's neighbor says they're just pets.

When police responded to a shooting Monday at a Washington state home, they found marijuana plants being guarded by two, hissing, 5-foot-long alligators.

At the center of the living room was a stripper pole, because the alleged shooter’s girlfriend is an adult entertainer, police told The Olympian newspaper.

Darren C. Shore, 41, who lives just north of Centralia, Wash., was arrested at the scene on suspicion of shooting Ryan Lemcke, 30, in the bicep.


According to Shore’s account of what happened, Lemcke said he would help him move a hot tub in exchange for Vicadin pills. Shore says he disapproved of the deal and informed Lemcke’s stepmother about the drugs.

Lemcke then allegedly sent Shore a text message saying he was headed back to Shore's home, according to the Olympian. Shore told police that, fearing for his life, he armed himself with a pistol and waited for Lemcke.

At the hospital, Lemcke denied those accusations to police. Lemcke said he drove over to Shore’s house to smooth out relations after he sent Shore an angry text message.  

Both men agree that Shore stepped up to Lemcke’s truck when he arrived and started shooting, catching Lemcke in the bicep and grazing his shoulder. Lemcke said he put his car in reverse and drove off.

Shore called police to report the incident, and when police arrived, he helped them to corral the alligators into the bathtub. According to the Seattle Times, the animals were left with some raw chicken.

Shore was then booked on $200,000 bail.

In court Tuesday, the judge said he believed the circumstances could result in a first-degree assault charge. Formal charges must be filed by Thursday, according to the Olympian.

Shore’s mother said that her son uses marijuana for crippling back pain, KOMO News reported. Marijuana in Washington state was legalized during the last elections, allowing residents of the state to possess up to one ounce of pot.  

"Darren's always been a kind person, and this it totally out of character for him," Ellie Pierson-Sutter told reporters outside the courthouse.

As for the guard gators, neighbor Greg Garrison told KOMO News that those are just pets.

“The alligators aren’t for protection,” he said, “because they’ll run from you.” 

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