Homeowner opens fire on car burglary suspects

November 27, 2011 6:27:13 PM PST
A man who was allegedly caught in act of stealing was dead Sunday and his suspected accomplice was facing charges, officials said.

According to Houston police, a homeowner walked out of his house on Gulf Valley near Springtime around 2:15am Sunday and saw three men around his fiancée's vehicle.

"You're just blowing me away with this news," Mary Smith said when we told her about the shooting that happened outside her home. "[He is a] very peaceful, very sweet, wonderful neighbor of mine."

Smith slept through the commotion overnight. She was surprised to find out her neighbor shot and killed a suspected criminal, but she was not surprised about why he did it.

"Somebody had broken into my husband's truck a few months ago," she said.

Police say three men were spotted stealing from the homeowner's fiancée's car, which was parked in the driveway.

"The owner of the home looked outside, saw somebody in their car," Ofc. Richard Bolton with HPD Homicide said. "He walked outside, yelled at them [and] told them to stop."

The three suspects ignored him and continued loading their car with the homeowner's belongings.

As the guys loaded into their car to flee, the homeowner grabbed a loaded weapon.

The homeowner told police the suspects began to run back to their vehicle. He then said he saw one of them reach for a weapon, so he started shooting, striking the driver of the suspects' vehicle.

The driver of the maroon getaway car only got to the end of the street before he died. He was identified as Nicolas Sanchez.

His two accomplices tried to get out of the car and run, but police caught one of them. Jesus Valentine Alaniz was charged with felony theft after police say he confessed to participating in the crime.

"He wasn't trying to hurt nobody. He was doing it to protect himself," Jovan Harper said of his neighbor.

Just days ago, Harper said, the same car fled after trying to steal from his own family.

"Thanksgiving night, someone was trying to break into my house," he said.

Harper also told us his gun-wielding neighbor is the father of a five-year-old boy who works as a school teacher and is the son of a police officer.

That homeowner has not been charged and he was uninjured. The case will be referred to a Harris County Grand Jury.

Police are still looking for the third suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call Houston police or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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