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11/19/2007 12:59 AM ID: 66629 Permalink   

Man Kills Two Protecting Neighbor’s Property


While on a call with a 911 operator, a Pasadena, Texas man used his 12-gauge shotgun to kill two men he caught robbing an absent neighbor's house. The man told the 911 operator that he was "getting [his] gun and going to stop them."

The two robbers did not stop when asked to by the gunman. From within a range of 15 feet, the gunman shot one robber in the chest and the other in the side. The only thing apparently taken from the house was a bag filled with cash.

Texas has a Castle Doctrine law, but it does not seem to apply in this case. However, Texas law may still be on the side of the gunman if the neighbor had asked him to watch over the property. A grand jury must decide if a crime was committed.

    WebReporter: nicohlis Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
  Two less  
in the criminal justice system. This is what I call deterrence.
  by: walter3ca   11/19/2007 01:48 AM     
no, deterrence would be if they had stopped robbing the place when the texan with the gun told them to.
  by: ManilaRyce     11/19/2007 02:29 AM     
  He asked them to stop  
They didn't stop. They pretty much chose what happened to them.
  by: Dark_Stang   11/19/2007 02:35 AM     
it depends on if they knew the guy had a gun or not. If the robbers could clearly see the guy had a gun, was threatening for them to stop stealing from his neighbor's house, and it's -freaking Texas-, then for all intents and purposes I'de say they were willing to die for that money and did. Their own choice. He wouldn't have shot them if they hadn't of ran with the cash.
  by: Velger   11/19/2007 02:36 AM     
Don't see anything wrong with this. Great work.
  by: Libertario Cubano   11/19/2007 02:39 AM     
  Nothing I Own  
With the exception of my life and the safety of my family is worth a human lfe.
  by: ichi     11/19/2007 02:45 AM     
  Everyone Lost?  
Legally, it seems the guy may be on thin ice. The property was not his, he was not under any threat himself, his neighbor may or may not have asked him to watch over his place, and it may be hard to prove that this level of force was necessary. On top of that, he was advised that police were on the way. I couldn't say how skilled the police are in the area, but there is at least some chance that they would've caught the thieves and returned the money. Now he will have to deal with legal proceedings and all kinds of media attention for some time. Depending on what kind of person he is, he may end up dealing with post-trauma/nightmares/psychologist issues having actually killed people.

Also, I don't think the fact that the robbers were killed will make anyone feel much better in the area as the house was still broken into. That feeling of safety in your own home is still gone.

All in all, I'd say everyone lost on this one. Just interesting that he was talking with a 911 operator though his ordeal.
  by: nicohlis     11/19/2007 02:54 AM     
Personally, I'd reserve lethal force against someone else who was trying to kill me. Any less, would be hard to justify.
  by: Libertario Cubano   11/19/2007 03:00 AM     
  In Texas  
A home oner has the right to shoot someone taking thier belongings from Thier property. A repo dude was killed a few years ago and that was rulled to be justified.
Explains a few things to me about The value of other peoples life in Texas. Maybe a clue why a Texan could send so many of our childeren to war.
  by: ichi     11/19/2007 03:12 AM     
The man would get life for a double murder, there is no law to protect us here at all!
  by: captainJane     11/19/2007 03:20 AM     
GWB is from Connecticut. I personally don't find the Texas Castle Doctrine offensive at all, I wish we had it in every state.
  by: Libertario Cubano   11/19/2007 03:21 AM     
  Too far.  
I strongly advocate the right to defend one's property. This, however, takes the step off one's own property and onto the grounds of vigilantism. Even if his own eyes tried these men and found them guilty, he hasn't got the right to decide the sentence for petty theft is death. What's next, letting him go down to the park and execute anyone who might be a perv looking at kids?

If his neighbor put him in charge of the place, fine. If not, then he certainly ought to be tried for his actions.
  by: MomentOfClarity     11/19/2007 03:24 AM     
  re: the neighbors  
"I was in shock because I never heard a gunshot before," Lacey Hernandez said.

In Texas? Lady, please...

"'We leave our garage door open,' she said. 'We let the kids run the streets just like nothing. Now they will not be playing in the streets.'"

One shooting is going to have parents locking their kids up at night? I mean, maybe they should lock their doors with burglars around (or not, if they want to save on window replacement), but it doesn't sounds like the kids are in danger. That is, as long as they keep off Captain Shotgun's lawn, gal-durnit...
  by: MomentOfClarity     11/19/2007 03:36 AM     
It's the states...everyone has a gun. In Texas their guns have guns.
:P just playin!

To MoC....that woman is stupid. (kind of) The guy that did shoot the 2 men, can't be completely crazy, there was a reason( hard to justify though) to him shooting the would be robbers.
  by: JayWar   11/19/2007 08:01 AM     
in two minds about this one. Although I believe thieves are scum and deserve what's coming, shooting them dead is a bit much.

By the sounds of it he didn't actually want to kill them, they were shot in the body, not the head. He also asked them to stop. Reading the source it sounds as if the second criminal kept running after the first had been shot, suggesting that nothing short of using the weapon would have stopped him.

Also, it's like the point I make about UK law prosecuting the victim if they defend themselves; if you don't defend yourself, criminals see you as a target. Criminals are nasty people and being a 'target' for them could get you seriously hurt.
  by: Maxx20     11/19/2007 09:43 AM     
  I tend..  
To agree with MoC on this one. If he was defending his own property, that's one thing. He wasn't defending his property though, so unless his neighbor asked him to watch his/her house, he should be charged.


From a range of 15 feet, whether he aimed for the head or not, those guys were dead. I don't think anyone is very likely to survive a shotgun at 15 feet.
  by: StarShadow     11/19/2007 10:11 AM     
I'm not familiar with guns myself so I'll accept that one. I guess the guy did want to use lethal force in this instance.
  by: Maxx20     11/19/2007 10:45 AM     
  I dont get it  
Your saying we quietly sit by as our neighbours are attacked?
  by: AnsweringQuestions     11/19/2007 10:45 AM     
  @Most of you  
There seems to be a great deal of apathy here to the fact that these two dead people robbed some innocent woman of her cash.

If these low life pieces of scum had got a proper job instead of robbing this house they would have been alive right now.

If they had stopped they would have been alive right now.

I think they probably didn't even look at the shooter to see if he had a gun or not, they would have just relied on the fact that most people are too scared to defend themselves against crime and thought they could get away with it.

We live in what is supposed to be a community, and part of community spirit is helping thy neighbour. I think is should be illegal NOT to defend your neighbours property!

Shooting people could well be considered over the top, but if these two even looked at the guy they would have seen he had a gun, and if they had enough respect they would have stopped. But no, society has taught them that 99.9% of the time if they run they will get away with it.

Forget if this use of force was justified, two criminals got what was coming to them and we should all rejoice.

@ichi - You place a great deal of value on the life of the person illegally violating your rights. What would you do if someone tried to steal everything you owned? Or rape a member of your family?
  by: Anglo_Englishman   11/19/2007 11:35 AM     
Unfortunately, the police are very, very bad at returning stolen property. I even have first hand experience -- by the time people are caught, your stolen property/money is often long gone and unrecoverable. You're pretty much SOL.
  by: Velger   11/19/2007 12:02 PM     
  @velger and angry english  
i agree with ya both on this one
my house was robbed around this time last year and it was a messy situation
(aka im still bitter)

when entering someone's house to steal from them, you accept certain risks as a part of your 'career' and those risks include getting shot

they were doing something unethical and evil etc. and they got f'd . What do you think they would have done if someone inside the house tried to resist? there probably would be innocent dead person(s) coming out of the house and it wouldnt even have been newsworthy

in short, good riddance
  by: chieu   11/19/2007 01:05 PM     
  OK ... MAYBE ... just maybe the guy was too harsh  
but in a state where you can get shot for robbing someones house its pretty suicidal to be out robbing somones house.
  by: AccessG     11/19/2007 02:04 PM     
  Two less pikeys  
two less pikeys in the world, job done!

Sorry but i have no sympathy for the robbers. As someone already said, in a country / state where it is legal to be killed if you're robbing someones house, they knew the risks, and didnt care.

  by: M4CRO_   11/19/2007 02:26 PM     
  Agree with MOC  
I think this went too far. Do you think his neighbor is going to say he didn't ask him to watch the house?

And what the hell were 2 people thinking about robbing someone in Texas? Many people there still drive with their shotguns proudly dispayed as it is.
  by: TaraB     11/19/2007 06:34 PM     
  Not sorry for robbers....  
...but this is vigilante justice and that is just not acceptable in a society. He turned himself into a judge jury and executioner when there was no way he could possibly have enough information to properly weigh that situation.

Just as an example some years ago when I was still living at home with my parents I accidentally locked myself out of the house my parents were not home and would not be for some time so I took it upon myself the get on the roof of the entry way up to the window, pop out the screen, and climb into the house. Under rules of engagement that OK the execution of these two robbers by a neighbor my own execution would also have been justified, to an observer not me or my family it would certainly have looked like I was breaking into the house after all.

My point is that for someone other than the property owner there is no way to have all the information that might be required in a situation like this. Even for the home owner there is no way to have all that information, but at the very least there is a credible threat of bodily harm. In situations like this that is simply not the case.

The results in this case do appear to be right in that the bad guys got what was coming to them, but you can't use this one "successful" outcome to ignore all ob the obvious negative ones which could arise.
  by: gtg833b     11/19/2007 06:43 PM     
  Don't rob in Texas  
You do know this guy will get off completely. There are tons of cases like this in Texas and it is very rare to convict. Texas leans in that direction.
  by: shawn1flog   11/19/2007 06:47 PM     
  @AQ, AE, etc  
"Your saying we quietly sit by as our neighbours are attacked?"

You've just glossed over just about every significant detail of this incident. The neighbor was not attacked, in fact, he wasn't even in the area. His property WAS being stolen, but that's hardly something over which we NEED to make life-or-death decisions. Furthermore, I think there are a few options between sitting quietly by and blasting strangers with your shotgun.

"There seems to be a great deal of apathy here to the fact that these two dead people robbed some innocent woman of her cash."

Are you kidding? There's at least as much apathy here to the fact that one man abridged due process and killed two people. In fact, I'd say extremist attitudes here are as likely to lead to the end of civilization as letting such criminals run amok. Some people would make any offense capital, and then flippantly excuse any loss of life, saying "Well, they should have known better." Well, maybe they should have, but that doesn't make the action just. In fact, that's why much wiser men established a justice system in the first place.

We have laws. I think those are as worthy of defense from hostile aggressors as any bag of cash. Yes, police may fail to recover the goods, or even catch the criminals. Being disgruntled about that is hardly a reason to start supporting actions like this. Hey, let's just stop wasting money on police departments, because we all know who the bad people in town are. It's funny how the people who call for such draconian (often chaotic) systems always assume that they could never run afoul of them. I wonder how many could tell me how Robespierre, who sent thousands to the guillotine for "what was coming to them," met his end?
  by: MomentOfClarity     11/19/2007 08:26 PM     
  agree with MoC  
There is a difference between protecting oneself and one's family from immenent harm, another thing entirely to chase down two fleeing thieves.

And yes, they were fleeing the scene -- both men died from shotgun blasts from under 15 feet - one was across the street and one was 2 houses down. That means the shooter chased and then fired, chase implying that the thieves were not presenting an immenent danger to the shooter or conceivably anyone else.
  by: Dedolito     11/19/2007 09:29 PM     
  My take:  
I read this story elsewhere first. While I think, legally, he was justified, it seems to me he really wanted to do it. The source I've included has a transcript. A particular line that helped me form my opinion is this:

"'Boom! You're dead!' he shouts. A loud bang is heard, then a shotgun being cocked and fired again, and then again."
  by: erasedgod   11/19/2007 10:00 PM     
They ran, he shot them.
Tough shit, dont run.
  by: AnsweringQuestions     11/19/2007 10:04 PM     
He can't tell them any louder than that. He commanded them to stop, and they DID stop.

You want it bad, you get it bad; the worse you want it, the worse you get it.
  by: LeePIII   11/19/2007 10:06 PM     
it's not legal to shoot someone who is fleeing. Even police officers aren't allowed to do that, unless in the act of fleeing the suspect is creating a hazardous situation where bystandards can be hurt or killed.

Thieves, who apparently had no weapons and fleeing on foot, do not measure up to the intent of such a law, even with the Texan law that allows someone to use deadly force to protect personal property.
  by: dedolito     11/20/2007 03:20 AM     
  GIVE HIM...  
...a MEDAL!
  by: BikerDude   11/20/2007 03:32 AM     
  GIVE HIM...  
...a psych evaluation. Based on the CBS report, it sounds like this community grandfather needs to be assessed. The report his title is Captain, so maybe this is some latent PTSD. Maybe the stress of the situation just snapped what may have been a mind already fragile with age. If the law doesn't play into his favor, perhaps temporary insanity will.
  by: MomentOfClarity     11/20/2007 09:47 AM     
  I have one stipulation..  
"Everyone is responsible for their own actions!"

If you break into someone’s house and something happens to you then that's your problem, you shouldn't have been there!

It seems too many people today are too quickly to claim its not the criminals fault, it's their parents, it's their upbringing, they don't know any better <insert whatever other crap here> those "do-gooder" idiots keep spouting...

You chose to break the law, you chose to break into someone’s house, THEY chose to enforce their rights to defend their own property!

I only wish we had similar rights in the UK!

  by: spacechimp     11/20/2007 04:04 PM     
Your comment would have some validity if it was actually on his OWN
property, but in this case it was on his neighbors, which is an entire
different legal matter now.
  by: rj712   11/20/2007 04:10 PM     
Quiet true, but these thieves still shouldn't have been in someone’s house.

My personal opinion stands; just because it wasn't the owner who took the shots shouldn't make it any less legal..

As QA said, we shouldn't sit by whilst people turn over our neighbours houses. What would happen if it was your house being turned over and you found out Mr Smith next door just sat there and did nothing? I had to stop yobs vandalising a neighbours car the other week, or should I have just sat there and watched? The Police aren't interested in burglaries or vandalism these days. Here in the UK or the US. Remember the guy who had to tell 911 he was going to shoot someone because there was a thieve in his shed (SN Reported) knowing the police wouldn't attend to an ordinary burglary?

In this neighbours defence, the law states that a home owner can use deadly force. If I had a gun, I'd have taken it with me too. Surely the thieves must have been prepared to potentially face an armed home owner? If so, running this kind of risk will inevitably make the thieves more dangerous because of the stakes involved.


The Chimp

  by: spacechimp     11/20/2007 05:56 PM     
All well and good but since it is not his house he really has no way of knowing for sure who should and should not be there. He can think the person is a robber and in this case it appears he was right but given that he does not live there and that all indications are that no one was in any danger from anyone besides the old man with a gun I think the gun-ho attitude is deplorably irresponsible.
  by: gtg833b     11/20/2007 06:00 PM     
"His property WAS being stolen, but that's hardly something over which we NEED to make life-or-death decisions" - You place too high a value on the life of criminal scum. Anyone who decides it is acceptable to make anothers life a misery deserves no mercy. You think these people cared if the person owning that house would have had a nervous breakdown or something when they got back to find their home robbed? What happened to your home being your castle? If someone has so little respect for me as to try and rob my house then I would sure as hell be grateful if my neighbour chased them down the street and gunned them down.

What other option did the neighbour have if he wanted to catch these people? Letting them escape and relying on the police is akin to just letting them go, we all know the police wouldn't have caught them, and if they had wouldn't have done anything.

"that's why much wiser men established a justice system in the first place." - Wrong. I am pretty sure that back in the day when legal systems were first established it was the high-born and well educated that created the laws. Being rich or intelligent does not create wisdom.

I resent people who assume that just because someone is in a position of power that they automatically deserve it, and that just because someone isn't that they are not wise/ intelligent.

"how Robespierre, who sent thousands to the guillotine for "what was coming to them," met his end" - Citing a few examples of wrongful convictions will not get away from th fact that most of the people he had executed were guilty. The world would be a much better place if we actually stuck to the leopard not changing its spots rule and got rid of criminals instead of looking after them and trying to make decent people out of them.

@Dedolito - Maybe they were not an immediate danger, but they were still scum who deserved what they got. You really need to think how important your property is to you, that bag of cash could have been the life savings of some old person who was never going be be able to recover from that theft. Criminals are scum and defending them will only make life worse for everyone.

Yes what this bloke did is probably illegal (Unfortunately) but that is an example of a law protecting criminals. Dropping your gun and running should not save you after you have committed a crime.

@erasedgod - He most probably did want to do it, I would love it if I was able to gun down some scummy criminals legally. Just because he had a sense of justice and thought they deserved death does not mean they didn't.

@rj712 - As a community it should be everyone right and duty to defend another from crime in any way possible. It is also logical to assume that someone who robs next door is one day likely to rob you.

@gtg833b - depends what you mean by danger. The neighbour was in danger of losing a lot of money, plus the stress of not knowning when it was going to happen again and all the aggro with insurance etc. Just because they were not going to cause physical harm does not make what they did any better. I would much rather die that be robbed of everything I own with no chance of having my stuff recovered. Sometimes life is less important than 'stuff' because 'stuff' can make your life good or miserable. Thieves can ruin lives just as bad as an assault.

/End Rant

I hope that all makes sense.

Summary: Criminals are scum that should not be defended for any reason. If these people did not commit the crime they would have been fine.
  by: Anglo_Englishman   11/21/2007 10:36 AM     
Nice job completely ignoring the main point of my argument that since it is not this guys house he is in no position to judge what should and should not be going on it.

As to the Robespierre comment, I hope you don't know who Robespierre is and did not bother to even try looking him up I really do because if you actually thing Robespierre had a good thing going during the terror then you are a sociopath.
  by: gtg833b     11/21/2007 02:12 PM     
"since it is not this guys house he is in no position to judge what should and should not be going on it."

"In the minutes before the fatal shootings, Pasadena police said the man called 911 and reported that he had heard glass breaking next door and saw two men entering the home through a window. Still on the phone with police, the man, believed to be in his 70s, saw the suspects leaving from the back of the home."

I'd be pretty damn sure they werent supposed to be there.
As for law
"Texas law allows people to use deadly force to protect their own property to stop an arson, burglary, robbery, theft or criminal mischief at night, or to prevent someone committing such a crime at night from escaping with the property."

Afternoon isnt night, but we'll have to see how it turns out
  by: AnsweringQuestions     11/21/2007 05:15 PM     
As per my previous comment I have done almost this exact thing to my parents house on one occasion minus the broken window...would my slaughter have been justified?
  by: gtg833b     11/21/2007 05:18 PM     
I do think it is extreme some views towards criminals.

I'm sure all those saying they deserved what they got and kill these bums have some downloaded music somwehere on their hard drive that they didn't pay for, heck if you make your girlfriend a love CD or had someone record something for you you have stolen. That's the law. Should someone come in and shoot you.

My beef with this old man is if he is such a good shot why didn't he just shoot out a leg and wait for the cops.

I"m sorry but someone's stuff is not worth someone's life or two lifes.

I do think the old man should get off with no punishment though. He did what he felt was right, acted as a good citizen. If they put this guy away it will set a precedent and give criminals more rights than victims.

I think they should change the laws on theft. I think they should make the person pay back what they stole and a little more for compensation. If they can't pay hook up a GPS device on them with a shock collar and put them to work in that persons home at a day equivalent wage to clean, cook, wash, mow or anything else deemed necessary.

I still think the old man should have shot the guys in the lower leg or butt but not lethally. They would have learned their lesson then.
  by: shawn1flog   11/21/2007 05:34 PM     
You've broken into your patents house, broken a second window to get out, left with a bag of money, and when your armed neighbour told you to stop, you didnt?

Then yeah, I'd say you deserve to be shot.


He was 15 feet away with a shotgun.
Thats a fatal shot pretty much anywhere

Since they were both shot in the front, we dont know if they were charging him or what.
  by: AnsweringQuestions     11/21/2007 05:42 PM     
Now you are granting the shooter the gift of hindsight which he did not have, he knew someone appeared to have broken into the house via a window and that that one of those people had a white bag.

In my case I climbed in through a window on the back of the house and left via the front door....I do not recall if I was carrying a bag or not. My point is that a neighbor of mine is in no position to make a LIFE OR DEATH decision as to my actions.

As to the crazy guy running at me with a gun....yeah I really do not know what the right decision is there if a crazy guy comes running at you with a gun do you stop or do you get the hell out of there? I say that is a 50/50 call an the fact that a person chooses to run from a person with a gun does not give the person with the gun justification to shoot them.
  by: gtg833b     11/21/2007 05:50 PM     
  The man  
Could have shot them in the leg or something...when I think of a shot that kills, I immediately think of either the head or the torso.

However, I did kinda chuckle when I read 'a bag of cash' reminded me of one of those old looney tunes cartoons :)
  by: Billy Rubin   11/21/2007 05:52 PM     
"You place too high a value on the life of criminal scum."

No, I put a high value on the laws of our nation. Don't give me that "You're just a bleeding heart" crap. Put the broad brush away and read what I said so there can be an intelligent discussion rather than an simple exchange of feelings.

"Anyone who decides it is acceptable to make anothers life a misery deserves no mercy."

And just which congressional district were you elected to? Perhaps you're a judge, or at least a legal scholar? I assume you must have some very powerful background in either making or interpretting laws to declare such things contrary to just about every law on the books. What YOU (or any guy on the street) think people deserve and what our law says so as to preserve order are VERY different things. Allowing every jacked-up sociopath and wanna-be Rambo to come out of their house guns blazing whenever they think they're justified is not in the best interest of civilization. If you want your own personal action movie, go buy an island or move to a third-world country.

"What happened to your home being your castle?"

Not his home, so not his castle, and that's been WELL established and defended. Next.

"Letting them escape and relying on the police is akin to just letting them go, we all know the police wouldn't have caught them, and if they had wouldn't have done anything."

Yeah, because you know what squishy, ineffective Liberals those Texas police are. /sarcasm

The police were there within MOMENTS of the shooting. You should try cross checking reality with talking points. Regardless, it was still not his place to do it, unless his neighbor gave him guardianship of his property. We don't get to abridge the law whenever we feel like it.

"Wrong. I am pretty sure that back in the day when legal systems were first established it was the high-born and well educated that created the laws."

Yes, well we respect those men as the founders of our nation and frequently credit them with having more insight than the usual aristocracy. I'll let an American tell me I'm wrong about the founders and founding documents of our nation, thanks.

"I resent people who assume that just because someone is in a position of power that they automatically deserve it..."

Firstly, they'd just wrested that power from the nation (your nation) which was then the most powerful nation in the world. Secondly, they then wrote a system of laws establishing the nation currently most powerful on the planet, laws which remain quite functional over 200 years later. Nah, there's nothing to merit any respect in that... /more sarcasm

I can only imagine you have no idea who Robespierre was, so I'll enlighten you. Leading France during the Terror, he oversaw the execution of thousands for "what they deserved," and in the end someone decided he deserved the exact same thing. So, how will you feel when someone decides that you look like a criminal and need to be shot because the cops can't get there fast enough to determine the truth? Are you going to bleed out and think, "Hmm, well, they were wrong about me, but at least they didn't have to just sit by and do nothing...!"

The reason we have laws is not IN SPITE of situations like this, it's BECAUSE of them so that we have rules in place. Guilt and innocence have never been intended in a civilized society to be made upon subjective, visceral reactions to a situation by a bystander. We have two kinds of arguments here. The rational, putting importance on the laws involved, and and the visceral, putting importance on how good it feels to know that the bad guys got theirs. Well, most of the western world gave up rule by the latter centuries ago. This has nothing to do with the deceased being bad men and everything to do with the right of a man do run out of his house against police instruction and start blasting people in the streets. Even the guy who wrote the castle doctrine said he does not have that right, that it "is not designed to have kind of a 'Law West of the Pecos' mentality or action...You're supposed to be able to defend your own home, your own family, in your house, your place of business or your motor vehicle."
  by: MomentOfClarity     11/21/2007 06:58 PM     
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