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Texas Burglar Shooting Case Update

Joe Horn, who last year shot two burglars that had broken into his neighbor’s home in Pasadena, TX has been cleared by a grand jury.  It would seem that “because he needed shooting” is still an affirmative defense in the great state of Texas.

UPDATE: A time honored tradition, apparently.  The lesson here would appear to be: don’t break into houses in Texas.

UPDATE: A commenter adds:

… The law is not that you can just go and protect your neighbor’s house if you feel like it, the law is that you can protect your neighbor’s house if they have asked you to look after it for them. Also, the grand jury failed to indict not because of this particular law but because he shot the suspects in his own yard, proving to the grand jury that the suspects were then a danger to him, NOT simply a threat to his neighbor’s property…

That’s pretty much my understanding of the case here as well.  His argument was that the burglars came onto his property and threatened him.

45 Responses to “Texas Burglar Shooting Case Update”

  1. Alan says:

    “It would seem that “because he needed shooting” is still an affirmative defense in the great state of Texas.”

    Some parts of Texas anyway. The cities are getting a little, well – citified.

  2. Linoge says:

    More the shame that I am not moving there… TN is kinda close, though.

  3. Curtis says:

    Aquitting joe horn sends a message that any white man can shoot and kill any non-white person without punishment. This sends a clear message that shooting people is O’K if your white. Just because these were illegal imagrants joe decided to go outside his home and joe decided to kill these guys. If this was done in Kansas city MO, joe what be doing hard time. This goes to show how deep racism goes. It brings back memories of tyler texas.

  4. David says:

    I only regret that one of Eve Carson’s neighbors did not have weapon and the fortitude required to prevent an innocent 22 year old from being taken from her home, robbed, and shot in the face while cowering with a shotgun and a pistol.

  5. Tina says:

    Bravo for Mr.Horn, he was INDEED being a GREAT neighbor, looking after his neighbors property and more liking thinking those guys would rob his home to if not then , then some time later. This was NOT about race, or USA status, like some morons believe, it was about 2 people committing a CRIME who needed to be stopped before they got away. BRAVO TO TEXAS for saying NOT GUILTY!!!

  6. Earl Turner says:

    Curtis,

    How would Joe Horn have known that those burglars he shot dead were illegal aliens? All he knew about them was from what he witnessed, that is, two individuals engaged in a burglary of his neighbor’s house. He decided to take action to protect his his neighborhood based upon this, nothing more, nothing less.

    Your post above sends a clear message that you are just a race-baiting imbecile.

  7. Jen says:

    You may have heard the old saying “Don’t Mess With Texas”…

  8. Melinda K. Montgomery says:

    Actually, most of you on here are pretty ignorant. The law is not that you can just go and protect your neighbor’s house if you feel like it, the law is that you can protect your neighbor’s house if they have asked you to look after it for them. Also, the grand jury failed to indict not because of this particular law but because he shot the suspects in his own yard, proving to the grand jury that the suspects were then a danger to him, NOT simply a threat to his neighbor’s property.

    As to racial motivation, I dunno what the guy was thinking, but maybe he would’ve felt less threatened if the suspects were white. Don’t think America is above such action.

  9. Jake says:

    On a side note, I’ve done a quick post about the obvious differences in bias between the story Sebastian linked to (CNN) and the story USCitizen linked to (ABC). Word choice makes a huge difference.

  10. dizo says:

    This animal horn should be punished and i bet he will be a miserable old racist hillbilly for life.may God take care of him

  11. Earl Turner says:

    I am a Caucasian male myself. If I were to see a burglary in progress, I would chamber a round in my pistol and switch the safety OFF. The race of the burglar or burglars would not matter to me one bit. I would not feel “less threatened” if the burglar or burglars were Caucasian like me. Thinking like that could easily get you killed in such a situation.

  12. dizo says:

    This man all he saw was people of color believe me, if they were white he wouldnt have killed them and if he did ,this time am talking they would have given him death penalty for killing white people

  13. Sebastian says:

    Well dizo, the Grand Jury says otherwise. I doubt you have some kind of seeing stone that can look into someone’s soul and detect racism. Did the race of the burglars matter? Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. Either way, a no bill is a no bill.

  14. Sebastian says:

    And for the record, I generally don’t support shooting burglars who aren’t breaking into an occupied home. But Texas’s self-defense and property defense statutes are broader than most states, and its grand juries are culturally inclined to give people trying to do the right thing the benefit of doubt.

  15. Roy says:

    Come to Louisana….break into a house or try to carjack…law says, occupant can kill intruder, no excuses needed.

    So…..don’t screw around in Louisiana.

  16. Sylvia says:

    What all this racist stuff? Just look at the facts. Homeowner was white, thieves were black. Is this really out of the ordinary for the US? So what???

  17. Sebastian says:

    I thought they were Mexican? But you’re right, it doesn’t matter.

  18. Mark@Sea says:

    Columbians, actually.

    Dizo – all he saw were criminals.

  19. Linoge says:

    Funny how if someone shoots a criminal engaged in the act, and that/those criminal(s) happen to be of a different race, cries of racism immediately crawl out of the woodwork.

    I wonder, though, if the defender were of latino descent, and the robbers were of caucasian descent, would the same people utter the same cries of “racism”?

  20. alpha says:

    What rubbish – this man reported a crime to law enforcement, was told to stay in his house and do nothing, clearly stated his intention of going out to shoot people his racist paranoia perceived to be thieves (they could have been workmen asked to do some work by the actual owner) – shot them in the back like a coward – and now goes scot free like all other white racist criminals before him.

    But he hasnt got away with anything really – his will come too …

  21. alpha says:

    A question to all the good white people out there

    Why is it you want to be both able to treat entire groups of people worse that animals and then have them not complain in the least. Isnt this asking for a bit too much. Even a rapist knows his victim will scream – you cant have it both ways.

  22. Anonymous says:

    This guy is a coward. He show 2 unarmed people in the back. He’ll fit right in in texas, they can have him.

  23. Omega says:

    Well there Alpha,
    You are catogorizing whites arent you. You assume that all whites are bad people, not so. If a white person assumes that all, blacks, hispanics, orientals, etc are bad then they are (and rightfully so called racists). So guess what that makes you? You seem to forget that these two “criminals” were STEALING items that someone had actually worked for. If I witness someone climbing out of my neighbors house they WILL be shot at no matter their race. People still have a responsibility to protect their property and their neighbors as well. Alao if you had listened to the 911 tapes he was telling them to stop and lie down, which they did not. Should have listened.

  24. Sebastian says:

    Where did you get that he shot them in the back? Were you on the Grand Jury? Or is that just what people are saying?

  25. Sebastian says:

    Alpha:

    Pretty clearly the grand jury decided that a reasonable person would have believed the men were thieves and not workmen. It also seems they came onto his property, which I’m assuming means the police found evidence to indicate this fact.

  26. Mike w. says:

    “Aquitting joe horn sends a message that any white man can shoot and kill any non-white person without punishment. This sends a clear message that shooting people is O’K if your white. Just because these were illegal imagrants joe decided to go outside his home and joe decided to kill these guys. If this was done in Kansas city MO, joe what be doing hard time. This goes to show how deep racism goes. It brings back memories of tyler texas.”

    Curtis, what the hell does race have to do with any of this? He saw two men burglarizing his neighbors house and decided to confront them. They were criminals and he took it upon himself to stop them. Other than the fact that Horn is white and these guys were minorities do you have ANY factual basis for your claim that this was racial? Did Horn get all giddy and tell the dispatcher “I’m gunna go shoot me some darkies?” Right. Didn’t think so. Stop projecting racism into a situation where none exists.

    Also, regardless of Castle Doctrine I know you can use deadly force to stop the commission of a “forcible felony” in many states. I think burglarly falls under that term. While I wouldn’t have gone out to confront them if in Horn’s situation I certainly can’t fault him for his decision.

  27. AntiCitizenOne says:

    So what would you “race card” guys say if Joe Horn was an African American or Asian-American, would you call him a “black racist hillbilly” or a “Chinaman racist hillbilly” or what?

    Reverse racism, anti black racism, anti asian racism, anti latino racism…is STILL racism. Practice the stuff you preach.

    Some of you people need to grow up.

  28. AntiCitizenOne says:

    Hey, I’m Vietnamese, if I went and shot a white mugger threatening me, then I better expect to hear either “you gook racist bastard” or “you’re a good guy for killin’ a whitey” from ANY ONE of you “race card people.”

    I DARE any one of you “race card people” to say that out loud if that happens.

  29. 6Kings says:

    “This guy is a coward. He show 2 unarmed people in the back. He’ll fit right in in texas, they can have him.”

    Coward?! That is funny. Texas wants people who take on and eradicate criminals. And we don’t want people like you here who endorse criminals. Stay in Cali or wherever your leftard ideologies reside.

  30. Omega says:

    Hey AntiCitizenOne, if you shoot “whitey,darkie,or gookie while robbing you or your neighbor I will stand up for you, and I am white. Trash is trash no matter what race they are.

  31. Joe says:

    “was told to stay in his house and do nothing,”

    In a free country, a 911 operator does not have the authority of law to command a person to stay in their house.

    they could have been workmen asked to do some work by the actual owner

    Sure, that’s why he only noticed them when they broke a window to climb in. And it seems that they also climbed out, which seems odd to me. Nevertheless they were carrying a full pillow-case on exit — no likely workman’s tools.

    Among many things to be learned here — don’t bring a tire-iron to a shotgun fight.

  32. One of the local newspaper columnists, Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle, seems to have some sort of vendetta against Horn. She wrote a couple of columns about him back right after he shot those burglars, and this morning she was trying to cast what he did as shooting them over “a bag of loot.” I said it at my own blog and I’ll say it here — people who say things like that deserve to have their own houses ransacked and looted and everything THEY’ve worked for, gone. I bet it wouldn’t be just “a bag of loot” then.

  33. Ruth says:

    Joe Horn is a hero. He obeyed the law. If you don’t want folks shooting intruders on their property, then move to Chicago where you can’t have a gun in your home. You can just stand by while the intruders rape your family.

    Both Columbian illegals had criminal records, and one had done time for drug dealing. These were the scum of society. One must wonder the future murders, rapes, and other crimes that were prevented by popping caps on those two thugs; additionally, his quick and brave actions probably paid back the two criminals for unmentionable crimes that they probably had never paid for.

    Good shooting Joe! You can be my neighbor anytime!

  34. dizo says:

    joe horn is a very evil man i bet he s been waiting to kill a person of color .i bet he didnt have time to do wen kkk was active and now he s using the law to commit an evil act .and his evil wish was granted.i dont care wat you people are saying this man is evil and his time will come.you can even tell how evil and animal thinking in his voice.

  35. AntiCitizenOne says:

    Yes, because EVERY single old white man is a racist and part of the KKK.

    I’m not white, I’m asian, the hell I would have done the same thing had they threatened me or my neighbor’s life and property. Gonna call me a racist now huh? I DARE YOU. I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU. Keep whining.

    Grow up, dizo. You’re not some messiah of goodness, you’re a clueless FLUKE, who DOESN’T even practice what it preaches!

  36. AntiCitizenOne says:

    Dizo, if I shoot a white man trying to rob me are you going to give me a shiny medal or are you gonna call me a “racist yellow Chinaman?”

    Which one is it gonna be?

  37. AntiCitizenOne says:

    Oh I know!

    Dizo is going to call me the long lost brother of Seung-hi Cho the VTech murderer!

    Hah! I knew it! Man I’ve gotten that around campus so many times after that terrible day…

    “hey man are you related to cho in any way?”

    “you asians suck, why do you even have guns?” (airsoft)

  38. AntiCitizenOne says:

    And these racist comments came NOT only from white people but from OTHER minorities on campus, too.

  39. BCross says:

    According to a Houston Chronicle article from December, a plainclothes detective had just arrived on-scene in response to the 911 call seconds before the shooting, witnessing that part of the confrontation. One would hope that if the detective had thought there was no justification, he would have arrested Horn for murder.

    http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=2007_4474649

    It also sounds like one of the criminals decided to move towards Horn before turning away just before being shot. I’m having a hard time imagining why anyone with peaceful intentions would move towards someone had just told them to stop while pointing a shotgun at them.

  40. Ron says:

    Since when does robbery equate to death? I listened to the phone call that Mr. Horn made to the dispatcher, he had already made up in his mind that he was going to kill them even before they came crawling out of the neighbors window, Some people might call it pre-meditated murder. I am a Iraqi war vet and a big gun advocate, I have seen death upclose, For the people cheering Mr. Horn obviously never pulled the trigger on another human being, This isnt a video game or a movie its real life with real consequences. I thing the Jury got it wrong!

  41. Sebastian says:

    I agree Ron, that it’s generally not proper to shoot burglars stealing items from an unoccupied dwelling, and I’ll give Horn dings for poor judgment. I will say, if he had done that in Pennsylvania, he’d be in jail right now. But TX juries are known for giving people the benefit of doubt if they kill criminals, and Texas’ use of deadly force statutes are probably the most broad of any state.

    In his situation, I would have stayed inside and left catching the guys to the police. But I’m not going to go so far as to say the grand jury was wrong, because I didn’t see all the evidence. Based on what I’ve seen, it would appear the men in question did approach Horn and enter his property. Not a natural reaction to approach someone wielding a shotgun.

  42. Omega says:

    Easy there Anti, dont blow a gasket! First off I AM white, I AM NOT in the KKK, nor have I ever been. They are cowards like so many other hate groups and street gangs. If a white man breaks in your house you have the right to shoot him. I will back you on that till the bitter end. But yes, your comments were recist. Sorry. truth hurts.

  43. Gravypan says:

    Firs, to Mr. Horn’s credit, he has expressed remorse over the killings and said in hindsight, he should have stayed inside. More power to him and may he be able to find some kind of peace over the consequences of his actions.

    Now like Sebatstian said, this seems to be a very muddled case.

    Yes, a case could be made that Horn was guilty of poor decision-making for not allowing the police to handle the matter. And when I first heard about the case, it sounded like Horn might have been a little overzealous in defending his neighbor’s home.

    Now that I know that at least one of the suspects did approach him and both were ultimately shot on his property, that does change the context of this case quite a bit. To the point where Castle Doctrine would actually come into play.

    Which is probably why he got no-billed.

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