The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

January 22, 2014

Westmoreland County shooting site included pot operation, police say

GREENSBURG — State police say they found a sophisticated marijuana growing operation in the Westmoreland County home of a man jailed on charges he shot his “best friend.”

So far, police have only charged 32-year-old Eric Fennell, of Hempfield Township, with criminal homicide. They say he shot 27-year-old Fidel Velez early Tuesday, a shooting Fennell acknowledges but says was an accident.

Now police say Fennell and his girlfriend drove Velez to the hospital because they feared police would find the marijuana growing in the home had they called 911.

Police say Fennell first claimed Velez shot himself, then told police the gun accidentally fired while Fennell was holding it and Velez was working the slide used to cock the gun.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for Fennell who has a preliminary hearing Jan. 31.

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