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  • Pot-protecting alligators greet U.S. police probing gunshots

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    Published 11/27/2012 18:56:45

    OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - Detectives who responded to reports of a shooting at a home in Washington state found a floor-to-ceiling stripper pole, 15 marijuana plants and two angry, five-foot alligators guarding them, police said on Tuesday.

    The alligators were kept in a room with the marijuana plants and hissed at detectives who opened the door, said Thurston County Sheriff's spokesman Lieutenant Greg Elwin.

    "This was a fairly atypical event," Elwin said. "We see brass poles from time to time, but there were alligators."

    A resident of the house in Olympia, 41-year-old Darren Shore, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after telling detectives he had fired at a car on his property in self-defense out of fear it would run him down, Elwin said.

    A 30-year-old man suffering from gunshot wounds to the arm and back was treated at a nearby hospital for non life-threatening wounds. Elwin declined to release the man's name.

    Shore's story didn't match up with the evidence at hand, which suggested he fired in a premeditated attack as soon as the car arrived on his property, Elwin said.

    Before being taken away, Shore offered to help the detectives secure the alligators. The three of them lured the reptiles into a bathroom with raw chicken parts, Elwin said.

    The alligators, which Shore owned legally, were left with a bathtub full of water and the chicken for food.

    "It was one of those frier assortments, with legs and wings," Elwin said. "The alligators seemed to like them."

    With Shore in jail, the reptiles were left in the care of a woman who also lives at the house, who Elwin identified as an exotic dancer.

    (Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Todd Eastham)

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