Houston Home Owner Shoots, Kills a Man He Caught Breaking Into His Vehicle

crime scene tape police line

Bigstock

We highlight defensive gun uses here because they happen so often. According to the CDC, people use firearms to defend themselves in this country anywhere from 60,000 to 2.5 million times every year, depending on who’s doing the counting. Most of those defensive uses happen without a shot being fired and the total dwarfs the number of gun deaths in the U.S. every year, not that you’re likely to hear that stated in many other places.

Wednesday night, according to KHOU in Houston, a home owner discovered a man trying to break into his van.

Police said a homeowner reported that he heard someone breaking into his van. He went outside and confronted the suspect.

The suspect went into the van, and the homeowner opened fire.

The wounded perpetrator left, but collapsed and died not far from the scene.

Texas is unique in its allowance for the use of deadly force in defense of property. But the law isn’t an unlimited license to shoot or kill if someone is found breaking into your car. There are conditions in the law the defender must meet in order to be considered justified in the use of deadly force.

Even in Texas, the question quickly becomes whether a prosecutor will view a particular situation in which deadly force was used to protect property as justified. How will the homeowner in this case be viewed by the police and district attorney?  There’s no way to know, especially from a brief media report. It’s possible the perp had a gun or a knife. It’s possible he threatened the home owner.

But relying on a prosecutor’s decision regarding a defensive gun use isn’t a risk most people would or should be willing to take. Especially in defense of property. That’s what insurance is for. The consequences of being charged with manslaughter or even second degree murder are not inconsiderable. And defending yourself against such a charge is a long and financially crippling ordeal.

All of which is to say that shooting someone who is breaking into your car is a huge risk to take. Putting your life on the line by confronting a car thief outside your home — or risking your freedom and possible financial devastation — simply isn’t worth it.

 

 

comments

  1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    It’s acceptable for the government to kill you to protect government property. But you can’t protect what your hard work has provided for you and your family.

    “Panama City Looter Shot And Killed While Trying to Steal a Police Car”

    https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/panama-city-looter-shot-and-killed-while-trying-to-steal-a-police-car/

    1. avatar Rusty - Always Carry - Chains says:

      This is why the founders distrusted government. The larger the government becomes, the more they feel justified in resorting to violence against their own citizens.

  2. avatar American Patriot says:

    Personally I don’t think I’d be using any CDC stats for a gun shooting any more then I’d listen to CNN on how to run my life!

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Hey, when they agree with you that guns are used FAR more often in self-defense than for murder and mayhem, cheer them on! With about 100,000 criminal shootings a year, 6 to 25 times as many defensive firearms displays or shootings is a good stat.

  3. avatar Dan W says:

    Good shoot, suppressor will help with the hearing loss and legal complications.

    1. avatar Montana Actual says:

      Lol. This. Perfect comment.

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      The can will help protect hearing, bit how does it help legal-wise?

      Isn’t Houston Leftist-run?

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        If a shithead is quietly popped committing a crime and no one hears it did he really get popped?
        Asking this existential question for a friend……

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “If a shithead is quietly popped committing a crime and no one hears it did he really get popped?”

          Not in a forest, I guess.

  4. avatar NORDNEG says:

    If the law had any teeth in it we wouldn’t have to worry about shooting dirtbags.
    Myself, I take care of my family & MY stuff & worry about the legality’s later.
    They can’t keep creeps in jail, so what are they going to do to a grumpy old man that’s (in fear for his life)
    Get It…?

    1. avatar StLPro2A says:

      They will BBQ you old man. It’s the criminals they let go.

    2. avatar Rad Man says:

      A dozen protesters wailing on my $100k Escalade. My auto insurance won’t cover the damage. Can/should I defend my stuff or just absorb the loss personally?
      Answer: when you commit a felony, all bets are off and you forfeit any rights.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        Rad, you strike me as not being the type to put you and your SUV in a situation with violent ‘protestors’…

        1. avatar FedUp says:

          Many of the people caught in that situation did not have a choice, it just happened to them.

          It’s not like people say to themselves, hey, why don’t I go find a Mostly Peaceful Protest and honk my horn at them…

        2. avatar Rad Man says:

          True, G. I asked for the Escalade for Christmas, didn’t get one sadly. Still, if someone futzes with my ’08 Ford Taurus, heads will roll…

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    He should’ve shot the thief in the leg, says Basement Joe.

  6. avatar Joe says:

    Agree, unless you’re operating under color of law, you are screwed especially if prosecutor is a dramacrat.

    1. avatar Montana Actual says:

      This is why you hide the body.

      And use a suppressed .300 for a home defense rifle.

    2. avatar Doesky2 says:

      If we know these details of the event then…..

      THE HOMEOWNER TALKED TOO MUCH!

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        Bingo. You have a few minutes to set up the story. Think wisely.

  7. avatar RayS says:

    Whaaaa? No knife found on the scene? Better look again.

    1. avatar GunnyGene says:

      Well, officer, that cell phone you found in the dead guy’s hand sure looked like a pistol to me. It was dark and all, y’a know.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Interesting that the laws of Texas were mentioned and then not explained. If the sucker is running off with something of yours which is worth more than $500, shoot him down. If it is at night, don’t even worry about that, just shoot hell out of him, and in both cases shooting him in the back is fine. And before you think that is exorbitant, the replacement price on my watch is over $35K. Damn right I will shoot you for it!

        1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          Big (smile)

        2. avatar my2cents says:

          Before you think that the advice from Larry in Texas is actually accurate you should really read the law and consult a criminal defense attorney. Please see copy of actual law below. If there has been an updated law then please send me a link to it.

          SUBCHAPTER D. PROTECTION OF PROPERTY

          Sec. 9.41. PROTECTION OF ONE’S OWN PROPERTY. (a) A person in lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on the land or unlawful interference with the property.

          (b) A person unlawfully dispossessed of land or tangible, movable property by another is justified in using force against the other when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to reenter the land or recover the property if the actor uses the force immediately or in fresh pursuit after the dispossession and:

          (1) the actor reasonably believes the other had no claim of right when he dispossessed the actor; or

          (2) the other accomplished the dispossession by using force, threat, or fraud against the actor.

          Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.

          Sec. 9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:

          (1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and

          (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:

          (A) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or

          (B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and

          (3) he reasonably believes that:

          (A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or

          (B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

          Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.

        3. avatar joe says:

          The law allows for defense of property at night only not sure if the prosecutor will allow for the driveway as an extension of the “castle”. However, its not worth the legal risk unless the perp had a weapon.

  8. avatar Sam I Am says:

    “Putting your life on the line by confronting a car thief outside your home — or risking your freedom and possible financial devastation — simply isn’t worth it.”

    That’ll get you flamed like a marshmallow.

      1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        Big (smile)

  9. avatar GS650G says:

    Well he had that screwdriver/hammer/rock used to break in my car and I felt threatened by it.

    It’s all about the Feelz.

  10. avatar merkureal says:

    A reasoned, prudential post by Dan. Which is not a rare thing.

  11. avatar merkureal says:

    Why I got a Best in Class award in my CCW class.

    Unlike the others in the class (and those commenting here), I wasn’t trying to come up with “justified use of deadly force” scenarios.

    I understood that if it’s avoidable or iffy, don’t use it.

    (And, I was aces in the field phase of the training.)

    I understand commenters on here will blame the victim of their use of deadly force for his or her criminality and poor judgment, but their attitude reflects a “wanton disregard for the value of human life.”

    1. avatar Ing says:

      Anybody who threatens me in order to take my property has demonstrated a wanton disregard for not only my life, but his own. Nobody should be surprised if he loses what he cared so little for.

      That said, if there’s no threat and the goblin is willing to run away, I may be angry enough to want to shoot him, but I’m not going to do it. The gun is for self-defense, not vengeance.

  12. avatar YellowTJ says:

    I have a fence and a gate all around my house and property. Plus I have livestock. There is no reason for someone to jump the fence and be in my yard. At that point it becomes a threat to my family, myself, my livestock and my property in that order.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      With a few hundred acres you could have your own private hunting preserve which would be quite unique.

      1. avatar Huntmaster says:

        Not at all. In America.

  13. avatar SomewhereDownInTexas. says:

    Instead of commenting on what might be, the commentators could just look up what is justifiable in Texas when it comes to protecting property. It is straightforward.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “…just look up what is justifiable in Texas when it comes to protecting property. It is straightforward.”

      And so boooooorrrriiiinnnng. Speculation is the spice of commentary. Playing “what if” is so much more robust and entertaining than just repeating what is.

      Vive la différence
      Vive la Brigette Bardot
      Vive la free stuff
      Vive la revolucion
      Viva la Revolución
      Viva Max
      Viva Las Vegas

      1. avatar my2cents says:

        Sam you’re right. I apologize to everyone to whom I may have offended by posting the boring truth in an earlier posting.

        Please return to your regularly scheduled fantasy where you can legally shoot someone in the back multiple times for breaking into your hooptie and stealing your Kraco stereo. I’m sure that everyone will agree that your were completely justified and will carry you on their shoulders in celebration.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I apologize to everyone to whom I may have offended by posting the boring truth in an earlier posting.”

          No apology necessary. Nothing wrong with being boring, it is just so….boring. I mean, if everyone stuck to the facts, what would be the point of commenting? Now, don’t get me wrong, facts are a good place to start, “but don’t fence me in.”

          On the other hand, if everyone commented, “Just shoot everyone you meet, and let the courts sort things out”, that would be b-o-r-i-n-g also. So, start with the facts, then let the mind run wild.

        2. avatar GS650G says:

          In such a scenario I would expect break ins to drop to near zero but hey that would be boring too.

  14. avatar possum says:

    Not to long ago a horse thief was hung. Today your supposed to let them steal your horse.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      How do you know if he was hung? You sneak into the horse thief locker room?

      1. avatar Idaho Boy says:

        Like a horse he was.

  15. avatar Wally1 says:

    So just remember this is what happened: I was in fear for my life, I came out to my van and he was in the van, stepped out with that screwdriver, the one you see laying there and said “Go back inside old man before I kill you”. It was at that point in time when my life was in jeopardy, that’s when I shot him to protect myself from being stabbed, Oh and I want an attorney. Young cop replies, “only three shots”? Old guy say’s “Something I learned in the Army, it’s called the Mozambique drill”. Young cop relies “nice group sir”. Case closed.

  16. avatar Wally1 says:

    So just remember this is what happened: I was in fear for my life, I came out to my van and he was in the van, stepped out with that screwdriver, the one you see laying there and said “Go back inside old man before I kill you”. It was at that point in time when my life was in jeopardy, that’s when I shot him to protect myself from being stabbed, Oh and I want an attorney. Young cop replies, “only three shots”? Old guy say’s “Something I learned in the Army, it’s called the Mozambique drill”. Young cop replies “nice group sir”. Case closed.

  17. avatar Gipper's Ghost says:

    It’s instances like these why you have a throw-away pistol that’s not registered in your name.
    Officer, the man had a gun. Here it is right here with his finger prints on it.
    I know they are on it because I made sure they were.

  18. avatar Idaho Boy says:

    If someone you love is in the car, shoot the burglar. Otherwise, shoot a tire. He won’t get far.

    1. avatar Idaho Boy says:

      Unless of course you have run flat tires. That would be silly.

  19. avatar Max says:

    Looks like the shooting happened after sunset. Texas law allows for the use of deadly force to confront theft or criminal mischief, as long as it is later than 30 minutes after sunset.

    The idea is that when it is dark out, it is harder to fully make out a criminal’s intentions (whether or not they have a weapon in their hand), so a homeowner is within his rights to dispatch a threat with deadly force.

    1. avatar Idaho Boy says:

      “That deer was coming right at me!”

  20. avatar Ima Yeti says:

    In El Paso, 10 maybe 15 years ago a local judge and the missus coming back from the nights entertainment only to find someone breaking into their car. The judge put an end to him with his gat. The local D.A. deferred prosecuting the judge since it was night time (I’m sure prosecuting a JUDGE didn’t enter into it). Wish I could remember more details, but those are the highlights.

  21. avatar Alex says:

    The homeowner could say he had a firearm in the vehicle and wasn’t sure if the burglar had retrieved it.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email