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Man,61, charged with shooting man over stealing marijuana from grow site


BLAIR, WI (WTAQ) - A western Wisconsin man is due back in court September 17th, after he allegedly shot at two men whom he accused of stealing his marijuana.

61-year-old Michael “Ritch” Charles of rural Blair is free on a signature bond, after being charged with five criminal counts in Jackson County.

Authorities said he shot a 23-year-old Taylor man in the back, and hurt another man with the butt of his rifle, after he accused both of stealing pot from his 23-plant growing patch last Friday.

The shooting victim was treated at a Black River Falls hospital and later released, and he did not have his bullet removed due to possible complications.

The second man had some head bruises.

Charles told investigators he uses the marijuana for medicinal purposes – something Democrats in the Legislature have tried but failed to approve in Wisconsin in recent years.

The man said he needed the marijuana for his chronic back pain.

Charles is charged with felony counts of reckless endangerment, reckless injury, and manufacturing marijuana – and he faces misdemeanor counts of battery and shooting a firearm while intoxicated.