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Man Protecting Marijuana Patch Shot to Death By Police

August 10, 1993

MOUNT VERNON, Ky. (AP) _ A man who vowed to die before he would let police cut down his marijuana plants was shot to death after a daylong standoff, authorities said.

The standoff with Gary Shepherd, 45, began Sunday after members of the Governor’s Marijuana Task Force, conducting an aerial search, spotted about 55 plants in the back yard of a home near Mount Vernon.

Troopers landed a helicopter and told Shepherd they were going to cut down the plants, said Trooper Gilbert Acciardo, a state police spokesman. Shepherd went into his home and came out with a rifle, Acciardo said.

A special-response team showed up and found Shepherd sitting in a lawn chair holding the rifle.

″He was pretty much sitting there, probably about six or seven hours,″ said Rockcastle County Deputy Sheriff Darrell Doan. ″He didn’t talk to us at all.″

Shepherd was shot several times in the head and chest as he raised his rifle toward the troopers, authorities said. But Mary Jane Jones, 42, who lived with Shepherd and their young son, said he never pointed the gun at anybody, and that police made no serious effort to negotiate with him.

A state police statement issued Monday said Shepherd told police they would ″have to kill me″ to get at his pot.

Jones said Shepherd had deep convictions about marijuana use and wanted to discuss those with police. Jones was standing on the porch of their home during the shooting and was grazed by a bullet. Their son, who also was on the porch, was uninjured.

State Police Capt. Rodney Brewer said the two officers involved in the shooting have been put on administrative leave pending an investigation.

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