Sophisticated marijuana operation found at shooting suspect's home

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State police in Westmoreland County say they found a sophisticated marijuana growing operation in the 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 with homicide. They say he shot 27-year-old Fidel Velez early Tuesday, a shooting Mr. Fennell acknowledges but says was an accident.

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

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

Mr. Fennell faces a preliminary hearing Jan. 31.

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