Posted on Fri, Aug. 05, 2005

Game warden shot near Mount Umunhum
By Ken McLaughlin and Brandon Bailey
San Jose Mercury News

A state Fish and Game warden was shot in both legs and a man was
killed during an early morning raid on a large marijuana farm near
Mount Umunhum in a remote area of Santa Clara County.

The unidentified dead man, who had been guarding the pot farm, was hit
in an exchange of gunfire during the raid, which was carried out by
Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies. A second suspect being sought
was considered armed and dangerous.

Warden Kyle Kroll, 27, of Mountain View, whose injuries were not
life-threatening, was flown by helicopter to Santa Clara Valley
Medical Center, said Steve Martarano, spokesman for the state
Department of Fish and Game. He underwent surgery and was listed in
stable condition.

Kroll was the first California game warden shot since 1979, when a
warden was killed as he tried to apprehend a suspect near Pittsburg,
Martarano said.

Terrance Helm, a sheriff's spokesman, said Kroll was confronted by two
armed ``watchdogs'' more than two hours into the raid. ``That's when
the shooting began,'' he said.

Helm said he didn't know how many shots were fired or if anyone else,
besides for Kroll and the dead man, was involved in the shooting.

Helm said all available deputies and San Jose police officers were
``scouring the hillsides'' for the second man.

Kroll was evacuated by helicopter about 10:30 p.m. The suspect, Helm
said, died while sheriff's deputies waited for a SWAT team ``to secure
the area.''

The approximately 3-acre pot farm is on the eastern slope of Mount
Umunhum in a 17,000-acre open-space reserve. Owned by Midpeninsula
Regional Open Space District, it is closed to the public.

More than 10,000 plants, most about 5 feet tall, were discovered.
District staff altered authorities to the pot farm.

The area is so remote that it takes about an hour to hike from the
nearest dirt road, Helm said.

Robin Schwanke, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office,
said agents from the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting were not
involved in the shooting. ``CAMP was scheduled to be out there, but
they weren't out there yet,'' she said.

CAMP, a 22-year-old program run by the state Department of Justice,
provides aerial support and manpower for local law-enforcement
agencies that request help.

Martarano said Fish and Game wardens are often requested to assist in
marijuana eradication raids ``because of the potential environmental
crimes associated with these kinds of operations.'' The crimes include
stream-bed degradation and water pollution, often caused by the use of
an excessive amount of water.

Kroll was one of three wardens on the scene this morning.
Contact Ken McLaughlin at or (831) 423-3115.