A man shot at a property with hundreds of marijuana plants within the Stanislaus National Forest is in stable condition at a hospital in Modesto after sustaining a single gunshot wound on Saturday night, Sgt. Andrea Benson with the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
“We are not going to be specific about which one for his safety,” Benson said in an email.
The shooting occurred before 8:48 p.m. on Saturday near the intersection of Forest Road 1NO1 (also called Buchanan Road) and Forest Road 2N11, which is near the Hunter Creek off-highway vehicle area in the Mi Wok Ranger District of the Stanislaus National Forest.
It was reported by the Sheriff’s Office that the victim was shot by a group of people in camouflage clothing and camouflage masks who fled in his off-road vehicle.
The location is less than 10 miles from the town of Tuolumne via Buchanan Road.
The Sheriff’s Office has reported no arrests. They sought information from the public on Monday afternoon when they first reported details of the shooting.
According to Acting Stanislaus National Forest Deputy Supervisor Beth Martinez, the shooting occurred on private property within the boundaries of the forest.
“There are a number of private lands within the Stanislaus National Forest administrative boundary,” Martinez said.
Officials at the Tuolumne County Assessor's Office said there were four to five privately owned parcels near that intersection, many of which were about 40 acres in size.
Many are registered to out-of-state owners, with one owned by a Tuolumne County resident and a resident of the Bay Area. They range in value from a few thousand to more than $10,000.
According to a Google Map aerial view taken in 2019, one property appears to have multiple greenhouses on it.
Benson said the victim was living on the property in a travel trailer and acknowledged that large tents containing hundreds of plants were found at the site by authorities.
Benson said a specific location of the grow would not be released because the Sheriff’s Office was concerned with theft and people contaminating the area.
“Typically I am sure in marijuana eradication cases more information regarding the condition of the site and specifics of the location is shared but in a case such as an active investigation certain details are not released at this time,” she said.
According to Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office logs, at 8:48 p.m. a caller said their renter “called him frantic saying he has been shot.”
It was unknown who shot him, the log said and indicated the victim was a 40-year-old man.
When deputies arrived, a man at the property came out of a travel trailer covered in blood, but was conscious and walking.
Benson said the victim reported three to four men, but was not sure who shot at him or how many times.
Bullet holes were also located in the side of his travel trailer.
The victim was airlifted to a Modesto area hospital.
According to Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office logs from Monday, a be-on-the-lookout notice was issued for a black and white two-seater Ranger Polaris with front-end damage.
The log note said the vehicle, which was on Buchanan Road on Sept. 7, was stolen during an attempted homicide.
The year of the vehicle and the vin number were not known, it added.
Earlier in the logs on Monday, a log not indicated “follow up” at the intersection identified as near the site of the shooting.
Martinez said, to her knowledge, the Forest Service has not provided the Sheriff’s Office with any assistance or resources.
She said her office is not concerned about public safety in the forest despite the shooting and a fatal shooting of a Watsonville man at the Deadman Campground near Kennedy Meadows Resort & Packstation in July.
According to the Forest Service website, the area ranges in elevation from 2,500 feet at Hunter Creek to 5,800 feet at Duckwall Mountain.
On Tuesday, Benson said detectives were still gathering evidence at the site and contacting the property owner.
On Wednesday, she said no additional information was available to release.
The Sheriff’s Office has not commented on what kind of firearm was believed to have been used in the shooting or if any marijuana was stolen.
Guy McCarthy contributed to this report.