San Diego

Suspect Sought in Deadly Shooting at Illegal El Cajon Pot Shop

The shooting happened late Thursday night at a business called "Douglas Greens" on Douglas and Van Houten avenues

Police searched Friday for an "armed and dangerous" suspect who fatally shot a man at an illegal marijuana dispensary in El Cajon.

Gunshots were reported coming from the business near the intersection of West Douglas and Van Houten avenues at about 11:40 p.m. Thursday.

The business is located at 350 West Douglas Ave. The address is linked to a pot dispensary called "Douglas Greens."

Witnesses told police they heard two men arguing when one person whipped out a handgun and shot the other. 

The El Cajon Police Department arrived on scene and found a person with gunshot wounds collapsed on the ground inside the store. The man was pronounced dead shortly after, ECPD said. 

The suspect took off from the dispensary on a blue motorcycle. He was wearing a black shirt with the word "security" on it but police did not disclose if they believed him to be employed by the dispensary. 

ECPD described the suspect as 6 feet tall with a medium build. He was wearing tan pants when he fled the scene. As of 10:40 a.m., he remained at large. Officers were also still investigating whether the victim was an employee or a customer of the store. It was not clear if the two men knew each other. 

An area outside the business was shut down for the investigation. Police said they would be there for several hours. Officers could be seen going door-to-door throughout the morning, speaking with employees and possible witnesses at neighboring businesses.

NBC 7 spoke to a man who works at a different business near the scene of the shooting. He said the pot shop had just moved in less than two weeks ago after the shop's former address -- 306 West Douglas Ave. -- was raided by police.

Police confirmed a search warrant was recently served at that location, and that the pot shop has moved around several times.

Bill Miles, who is overseeing a construction project across the street from the shop, told NBC 7 he was surprised to hear about the deadly shooting.

"Most generally, the marijuana crowd is pretty quiet, subdued," Miles said. "But here, lately, we've been seeing a different crowd coming in."

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells said illegal marijuna dispensaries often bring along other criminal activity.

“We’ve closed over 50 of these dispensaries; 16 in the past year. We’ve always contended that there is a strong criminal element with these illegal dispensaries and this horrible crime seems to support that. Even in places that allow dispensaries there are illegal ones popping up because much of the pot sold in California is black market to avoid the taxes,“ Mayor Wells said.

The city of el Cajon does not issue business permits to marijuana-related businesses.

Police have not yet released the name of the man killed in the shooting. Check back for updates as this story develops.

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