Victim wants alleged road rage suspect charged with 1st-degree, why it's not easy

Miya Shay Image
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Tesla's cameras capture suspect shooting at driver on Westpark
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A man was the driver who shot at him multiple times on the Westpark Tollroad to be charged with a first-degree felony. But it's not that easy.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Dramatic video of an alleged road rage shooting was captured by the victim's Tesla cameras from several angles.

The incident happened Sunday at about 8:30 p.m., as Chris Harclerode was returning home from the airport. Harclerode was driving west along the Westpark Toll Road when he said a dark-colored truck began driving aggressively behind him.

"He tried to tailgate, ram into me, tried to split car on the right," Harclerode recalled, who shared the videos from his Tesla's onboard cameras. "He pulled alongside me; he had his window open, pistol pointed at my car. At that point, I accelerated and tried to block him from getting to the side or in front of me so he couldn't open fire."

The video shows Harclerode exiting at Eldridge Parkway, and the man pulling in front of him. The man gets out of the car, points a gun at Harclerode's car, and fires repeatedly. Miraculously, he wasn't hurt.

"The window tint basically (stopped) one of the bullets. It struck the passenger rear window, the only thing that kept the bullet from my head was the window tint," Harclerode said.

Investigators used license plate numbers captured on the cameras to find 32-year-old James Young, who is now charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony.

Initially, Harclerode thought Young should be charged with a first-degree felony. But that wasn't the case.

"If you point a gun and fire at somebody, that is an aggravated assault, right? If there was no hit, that is a second degree," Stephen Aslett, a former prosecutor turned defense attorney, explained.

Aslett explains that, in general, unless the victim is a police officer, security guard, witness in a case, or the suspect's family member, being shot at is a second-degree crime, according to state law.

"If he had been hit and suffered serious bodily injury, and most of the time, if you're hit, you're going to suffer that, then that is a first-degree felony," Aslett said.

Young currently faces the potential of spending two to 20 years behind bars if found guilty, and up to a $10,000 fine.

For now, Young is being held on a $100,000 bond.

As for Harclerode, a gun owner himself, he said he is frustrated at how many shootings there are on the road.

"It's everyone's right to own firearms and defend their family, at all costs. But something like this, on a simple road rage incident, should not result in someone jumping out and opening fire on an unarmed civilian," he said.

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