Shooting Neighbors’ Burglars Tests TX Self-Defense Law


In a case legal experts say may “stretch the limits” of Texas’ self-defense laws, a Pasadena, Tx., man shot and killed two suspected burglars during a confrontation as they attempted to flee his neighbor’s property yesterday, the Houston Chronicle reports. Police said the man called 911 and reported that he had heard glass breaking next door and saw two men entering the home through a window. Still on the phone with police, the man, believed to be in his 70s, saw the suspects leaving from the back of the home. “I’m getting my gun and going to stop them,” the neighbor told a dispatcher.

Texas law says a person can use force or deadly force to defend someone else’s property if he reasonably believes he has a legal duty to do so or the property owner had requested his protection. The neighbor would have been on much safer legal ground if he had been trying to protect his own property, said one expert. A person using deadly force must believe there is no other way to protect their belongings and must suspect that taking less drastic measures could expose themselves or others to serious danger.


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