.Dispensary Owner Released From Jail

Robbery evolved into a shootout and vehicle chase

The owner of a Harvey West Park medical marijuana business who was arrested on four counts of attempted murder after he allegedly fired a gun at several suspected burglars was released Friday.  

Dep. Chief Jon Bush of Santa Cruz police said Derek Hubbard, 36, was arrested on Nov. 13 based on surveillance footage at the scene on Encinal Street and witness statements.

The incident started when Santa Cruz Police said that an alarm was tripped around 4:30am at Decibel Gardens. Police believe that at least eight masked people were involved in the robbery—no arrests have been reported. 

Hubbard managed to get to the scene before police. Armed with a handgun, Hubbard reportedly fired around eight rounds at the suspects and then gave chase with his car. 

Bush said police believe Hubbard fired at the suspects first and it appears that the suspects fired back at Hubbard at least once.

secure document shredding

Hubbard then reportedly rammed into a white sedan that was later found through an allied law agency on Highway 17. When police ran the license plate, they learned it had been stolen out of the Bay Area.

“This is typical with these incidents, that people will use a stolen car or stolen plates to commit such crimes,” Bush said.

On Friday Hubbard was released from jail and put on house arrest, as ruled by Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Syda Cogliati. Hubbard’s court proceedings continue to develop. 

Bush also said that marijuana dispensaries and growing business crimes occur more frequently than other commercial businesses due to high product value. 

“The owner in this case, when he arrived on the scene, used lethal force, or deadly force to try and stop a property crime occurring,” Bush said. “Not only was it a property crime, but these suspects were exiting his business and did not pose a threat of violence or harm to anybody.”


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Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.
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