Police: Homeowner shoots would-be burglar

May 12, 2010 4:35:09 PM PDT
A homeowner opened fire on a man breaking into his home in northwest Harris County. The would-be thief broke into the house on Heather Hill Street around 10:30am Wednesday. The homeowner said he was in the shower, heard the noise and grabbed a gun. Relatives of the homeowner say the suspect picked the wrong house, because the man who lives there is a retired member of the military and was not afraid to protect himself.

Deputies say the homeowner was taking a shower at around 10:30am when he heard a loud noise and grabbed a gun.

Lt. Jeff Stauber with the Harris County Sheriff's Department Safe Home Task Force said, "As he came into the living room, he spotted the suspect leaning inside his house from the window he had broken out."

That's when the man told deputies he fired a single shot, hitting the home invasion suspect in the face.

"Just imagine coming out of the shower and seeing someone you don't know in your house," said Lt. Stauber. "I mean, any one of us would be in fear of our life."

The wounded suspect fled, but he made it just a few miles before deputies caught up with him in a fast food parking lot near Veteran's Memorial and West Mount Houston. He was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, but deputies believe there could be a second person involved. Neighbors say burglaries in the Northwest Park neighborhood have become all too common.

Neighbor Raul Garza said, "This is ridiculous, that a person can't be at peace at home."

According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, since January 1 there have been 50 calls to report burglaries in this neighborhood alone. That's why retired police officer Raul Garza says his neighbor did the right thing.

"The homeowner has that right to protect himself, his life as well as his property," Garza said.

Other neighbors say they agree.

Neighbor Howard Halasz said, "I think he had every right to shoot the home invader."

Investigators say the case will go before a grand jury, but they say under Texas law it doesn't appear that what the homeowner did was illegal, since the man was allegedly on his property.

Lt. Stauber said, "As a homeowner you have a right to protect yourself."

The suspect is in stable condition at Ben Taub Hospital. As for the homeowner, he did not want to talk on camera, but his family says he is OK.


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