Homeowner shoots irate man over parked car

September 17, 2010 8:39:39 PM PDT
The parking problems in one part of Houston are so serious, one confrontation ended in gunfire. The city doesn't have a unified set of parking rules, so citizens and business are left to battle among themselves. Frank Johnson says it's not unusual to see cars parked up and down his street in the Montrose area. But when he came home early Friday morning and found one blocking his driveway, he took action.

He said, "I called the police and they towed the guy's car away."

Forty-five minutes later, Johnson heard a loud crash in the front room of his home. The driver whose car was towed returned from a nearby club, discovered it was gone and police say he got so mad he smashed Johnson's window with a cement block.

"He was screaming, 'You had my car towed,'" Johnson recalled. "He was busting the door in and actually inside the house. Well, I shot through the window at the guy and hit him right there on the spot. ... It's a good thing I had my gun because, I tell you, that guy wanted to hurt me."

Johnson has called police twice already this year to have cars towed. For years now, the issue of parking has been a thorn in the side for many Montrose area homeowners. While neighborhood business owners understand their concerns, they insist it hasn't been easy on them either.

Geronimo Villaoobos with Etro Lounge said, "The last thing I want is somebody coming in and having a good time and getting towed and thinking that was nice but we're not going back there again. It hurts business."

As a Montrose area bar owner and resident, Villaoobos says the city's lack of planning has put business and homeowners in an awkward position, leaving them no choice but to fight over the issue amongst themselves. With parking at a premium and even more businesses moving in...

"It's an issue that needs to be addressed by the city I think," Villaoobos said.

The City of Houston is working on an off-street parking ordinance. We're told it should address a lot of the parking issues plaguing this area.

Houston City Councilwoman Sue Lovell said, "We are reviewing the parking requirements for inner city businesses. We should be able to give people some other options and the confidence to park."

As for the driver involved in the altercation with Johnson, he was shot in the leg, and is expected to be OK.


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