Texas Burglar Calls 911. And for Good Reason

 

At first blush, Texas burglary suspect calls 911 on homeowner with gun seems to be a “funny” defensive gun use (DGU) story. You know, bad guy gets his just deserts with an extra helping of humiliation. A closer look reveals some bad decisions by the homeowners in question. To wit: Mrs. Gerow’s comment to the 911 operator: “Yeah, hurry up. He [burglar Christopher Lance Moore] says my husband’s fixing to shoot him.” The chances of the Gerows facing blowback for grabbing the burglar’s keys and holding him at gunpoint in the Lone Star State are slim to none, and slim just left town. That said, civil suit. And it should be said . . .

that chasing and capturing a bad guy is a cop’s job. If Moore had had an armed accomplice waiting in the truck . . .

I’m also not 100% sure about blocking Moore’s truck, giving a 12-year-old a 12 gauge shotgun and instructing him to shoot Moore in the legs should he try to escape. Correct me if I’m wrong but there are a lot of ways that could have gone wrong.

I know there are a lot of readers who see this incident as justice served. And sure, the result was the right one. But again, the Gerows were not playing the percentages. They deserve praise for their courage, preparedness and moral fiber, but I’m not staking my life or my children’s lives on luck.

In any case, I think we can agree on this: no spiking the football. No re-enactments. STFU after a DGU. None of this:

“I gave him a chance,” Gerow said. “Had he said he had bad intentions before that, he wouldn’t have got his second chance. That’s a different ballgame. You threaten me and my family, that’s a different ballgame.”

James Yeager-like machismo may play well on the Internet but it sounds a whole lot different in a court of law. And not necessarily better. Yes, even in Texas.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

31 Responses to Texas Burglar Calls 911. And for Good Reason

  1. avatarPhantom says:

    “James Yeager-like machismo…”
    +1,000,000
    New favorite phrase! Thanks!

  2. avatarspeedracer5050 says:

    Glad they weren’t hurt. Damn glad the 12yr old wasn’t hurt, but all in all they pulled some major stupidity with what they did and said!!

  3. avatarsanchanim says:

    Uhm…..
    Ok so we can sit back and arm chair quarter back this to no end.
    End of the day, bad guy went to jail, and victim goes back to bed. No shots fired and no one hurt, except the BG’s dignity, but hey they have counseling in the pokie for that sort of thing right?

    Also his wife said “Yeah, hurry up now. He says my husband’s fixing to shoot him,”
    Well duh!!! I mean if you pull a firearm on someone of course your fixin to shoot the guy! If you weren’t then why pull your gun right?

    Sounds like the cops didn’t seem to have an issue, and even if it went to some sort of civil suite, what would be the charges? I mean he was well within his right under Texas law to do what he did. I am also going to assume that Mr. Lance there was not a complete newbie to all this breaking and entering either.

  4. avatarsindaan68 says:

    Involving the 12 year old wasnt smart. The rest of it? Meh.

    • avatarSkyler says:

      The boy is 13. And he’s plenty old enough to help defend his family.

      Here in Texas they still remember boys helping defend their families from Comanches. It wasn’t that long ago.

  5. avatarRKBA says:

    Y’all don’t seem to understand the great Republic of Texas…

    Under Texas law, Mr. Gerow was well within his rights to use DEADLY force to protect his property. Period.

    Mr. Moore should be thanking his lucky stars Mr. Gerow exercised such great restrain, saving Mr. Moore’s life and allowing him to continue wasting perfectly good Texas oxygen another day.

    Long live the great Republic of Texas!

    • avatarPaul W says:

      I don’t like having a 12 year old run interference. My job is to protect my son, not involve him in a gun fight. WTF.

      • avatarRKBA says:

        They breed MEN in Texas…. Not emasculated metropolitan pansies like you find in Seattle, New York, Chicago or San Francisco, to name a few…..

        • avatarPaul W says:

          Thank you, I was born in the outskirts of Houston. I live in the panhandle now, outside of Amarillo.

          That doesn’t change the fact involving your kid in what could deteriorate into a shooting match is damn foolish.

        • avatarsanchanim says:

          Hey NOW RKBA, I was born near San Francisco!!!

          Oh yeah it was uhm errr 40 years ago lol My my the world has changed!

  6. avatarAccur81 says:

    I’m not saying that everything went perfectly, but sometimes it’s nice when the good guy catches the bad guy for you.

  7. avatarIng says:

    Yeah, not handled in the best possible way. But at least everyone is still alive and unharmed, and that’s the best end result.

    As for having a 12-year-old kid hold a burglar at gunpoint (with a 12-gauge shotgun, no less), we don’t know all the circumstances. It may have been necessary — although I doubt it. Seems to me that most of what went on in this weird little situation wasn’t really necessary.

    That said, if I really needed to, I’d be okay with handing my 14-year-old son a gun and telling him to use his best judgment. He knows how to operate all the firearms in the house, he’s a pretty decent shot with all of them — goes out shooting with me nearly every weekend — and he knows you don’t point them at anybody unless some serious crap is going down. (And a burglar that just wants to run away doesn’t qualify.)

  8. avatarGS650G says:

    Call 911, ask for cops, give address, tell them why, then hang up.

    • avataruncommon_sense says:

      Make sure you describe yourself in great detail as well so the officers that respond have some idea of who might be the “good guy”.

  9. avatarMotoJB says:

    That’s one sad looking prison beotch…

  10. avatarRalph says:

    This is an amazing story, mostly because in Texas after a confrontation between a burglar and an armed homeowner, the only person that needs to be called is the coroner.

  11. avatarBlake says:

    At 12 years old I was doing things like help my dad dig foundations for our new carport, shooting a .22 rifle, moving around tongue-and-groove lumber to roof said carport, hanging sheet rock and mixing concrete.

    It isn’t that a 12 year old is incapable of being responsible with a firearm. Rather, it is because our current society, for whatever reason, refuses accept that youngsters can be responsible. Instead, our current society has extended “childhood” to long after what it should be.

    • avatarSkyler says:

      +1

      And he is 13, not 12.

    • avatarBryan says:

      +1

      We don’t know how well trained the 13 yr. old is/was. Age is somewhat irrelevant. He could very well have grown up handling guns and hunting with his father. If that’s the case, capable. Or in the hands of a 60+ yr. old Bob Costas……….. I’ll take my chances with the 13 yr. old.

      • avatarsanchanim says:

        +1 yup, since we don’t know, we don’t know..
        That said, the youngin didn’t do anything stupid, and probably knew darn well what to do, this is TEXAS after all!

        • avatarChris Dumm says:

          I was small-game hunting by myself with a .22 rifle at 14, and completely at home in the mountains alone. At 15 my brothers and I almost had a DGU at our fairly isolated house, but all went well and nothing happened. I agree that even very young men are capable of keeping their wits about them.

          As the adult in a hypothetical situation like this, however, I don’t think I’d bring an armed 13-year old outside for backup. If the situation were that dicey, I’d keep everyone inside the house.

      • avatarPaul W. says:

        small game hunting != to being placed between a desperate man and his escape. Particularly if you didn’t know if they guy had a backup driver–now your kid may be between two desperate, possibly armed men. Dumb.

        I mean, in a real SHTF scenario I can imagine giving the kid a gun, but this doesn’t seem to be one of those.

    • avatarjwm says:

      Sounds like us. We were shooting and hunting at a young age and when you got your first gun, mine was a shotgun, you took the gun and shells to your room. It was your gun so why not.

      Between the ages of 12 and 14 I bought 2 guns at yard sales. The first one was a .22 and I asked no ones permission in making the deal with the owner. I earned the money and spent it as I saw fit.

      The second one was a “sporterized” 03a3 Springfield with an ammo can and 200 rounds of military ball ammo. I did call dad on that one. The price on the set was 40 bucks and I wanted another opinion on whether it was a good deal.

      I rode both guns home on my bike. I enjoyed both for years.

  12. avatarSkyler says:

    Again, homeowner legally and successfully defends his property using a firearm and this website complains.

    The law in Texas is very clear on this. That homeowner did everything legal and proper and there are no cause for a civil suit. What on earth could he sue for? He wasn’t hurt and he sure as heck will not collect for the cleaning bill for his trousers.

    I think Massachusetts has poisoned something in your mindset and it affects your outlook.

    Here in Texas we celebrate when burglars are captured. It’s too bad that this so-called pro-gun website doesn’t think so.

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