Saginaw Man Briefly Dies After Shooting at Unauthorized Cannabis Grow Site

July 4th, 2024 Legal & Crime
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A Saginaw man, Jerry Bryant, survived a gunshot wound to the chest at an unauthorized cannabis cultivation site but was left with a severed spinal cord. The alleged shooter, Owen M. Pipkins, his roommate and coworker, is now facing charges of attempted murder.

The preliminary hearing for 51-year-old Pipkins took place on Monday, July 1st, before Saginaw County District Judge David D. Hoffman. Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa J. Hoover presented the case, with Hampton Township Public Safety Department Officer David Wheaton as the primary witness.

Wheaton, formerly a Saginaw Police detective, testified about responding to the incident at a commercial building at 2006 S. Niagara St. on June 10th. Pipkins had called 911, reporting that he had shot Bryant, 42.

The site housed a cannabis growing operation owned by multiple partners. Pipkins and Bryant also resided there, sleeping in two beds located on the premises.

When police arrived, they found Pipkins outside, and Bryant was transported to a local hospital. Pipkins was taken into custody and later interviewed by Wheaton at police headquarters, where he waived his Miranda rights.

According to Wheaton, Pipkins recounted that he and Bryant had prior altercations, including instances where Bryant allegedly used racial slurs and threatened him with a shovel. On the morning of June 10, Pipkins was asleep in a boat when Bryant entered, shouting and using a racial slur. Pipkins, who is Black, said Bryant, who is white, called him lazy.

In response, Pipkins fired a single shot from a handgun without seeing Bryant clearly, hitting him in the chest. Pipkins then contacted one of the owners of the cannabis operation before calling 911. While awaiting the police, Bryant told Pipkins he could not feel his legs.

Bryant had to be resuscitated at the hospital and remains bedridden, unable to move, Wheaton testified. No further witnesses were called by the prosecution.

Defense attorney Matthew M. Evans argued that there was no evidence of intent to kill. However, Judge Hoffman ruled in favor of the prosecution and moved the case to Circuit Court on charges of assault with intent to murder and felony firearm.

Pipkins has a criminal history, with four convictions in Sacramento, California. These include three from 1991 and a 2015 conviction for carrying a loaded firearm in public, for which he served 120 days in jail and three years’ probation.

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