Officials: Teen fatally shot by homeowner

June 17, 2009 5:15:41 PM PDT
A homeowner accused of shooting and killing a teenager who trespassed on his property. The confrontation happened in a mobile home park on Rhetta near Gosling in north Harris County. A 70-year-old homeowner went out to his pickup truck Wednesday morning and found some drug paraphernalia in the back. The person to whom that drug paraphernalia belongs, 17-year-old Vidal Herrera, came asking for it back. The homeowner said he would not return it to him. That's when things got violent.

Sheriff's investigators tell Eyewitness News the homeowner only shot the teen after showing him the gun and telling him to leave several times. But then the 17-year-old returned to the property after leaving, and got too close to the elderly man.

Larry Davis with the Harris County Sheriff's Office explained, "Our early indications are that he was in fear. He feared the 17-year-old. He shot one time."

Residents of this small community say Herrera was part of a group of teenagers about whom they had complained to police before.

"They've been causing a lot of problems around here," said resident Heather Koenig. "We've reported it to the police. They're bad trouble-makers. I mean, you wouldn't believe the damage they do in here."

Resident Robert Pazbro said," We've had some crime recently, a lot of robberies and stuff. Everybody's been kind of watching after everybody's property because of the upturn in crime."

While the neighbors say they certainly wish today's violence had not happened and that the teen was not killed, they say they understand why it did happen, and why the 70-year-old may have feared for his life.

Sheriff's investigators have concluded their initial investigation at the scene. They intend to go to the district attorney's office and suggest no charges be filed in this case. Some deputies have remained in the neighborhood in an effort to "keep the peace."

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