Sep 212010

A 17-year-old shot while reportedly taking part in a Sept. 14 robbery at a legal-marijuana garden died Monday, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department reported.

The boy’s name and the nature of his injuries were not disclosed in a release, the Visalia Times-Delta reports.

Two men were arrested Monday on charges of robbery and kidnapping in connection with the crime, which is believed to have been gang-related. The suspects were identified as Gustavo Gonzalez, 21, of Porterville and Jorge Mendoza, 31, of Poplar.

A fourth person believed to have taken part in the Lindsay-area crime, Carlos “Chucks” Hernandez, remains at large, officials said.

According to the release, the robbery occurred at 11:26 p.m. at Road 244 and Avenue 216. Detectives called to the scene of the shooting found the wounded 17-year-old and the other suspects, all of whom were armed with handguns, officials said.

The robbers reportedly fled the marijuana garden with stolen marijuana and were confronted by an armed neighbor, Geoustin Craven. The juvenile grabbed Craven, 21, and was shot with a single bullet, according to the release.

The operators of the marijuana garden were identified as Jacinto Gomez, 21, and Justin Jolly, 22. Gomez suffered an abrasion to his elbow during the incident, officials said.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Detective Joe Torres or Sgt. Gary Hunt at 559-735-1898 or 800-808-0488.

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