Texas law allows residents to use deadly force

Stone Oak homeowner shoots 2 suspected car burglars

Author: Myra Arthur, Reporter, Anchor, marthur@ksat.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:05:30 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 15 2013 06:56:28 PM CST
Crime Gun Shooting Shots Fired Gun Shot
SAN ANTONIO -

What does Texas law allow when it comes to protecting what is yours?

That question was presented by KSAT 12 News to Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed hours after a 25-year-old homeowner in Stone Oak shot two suspected car burglars, killing one of them, when he caught them breaking into his car around 2 a.m. in the 600 block of Lightstone Drive.

The homeowner told police one of the men was in a getaway car while the other was in the man's vehicle. The man in the getaway car died at the scene.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, no one in the case had been charged. Police say they do not expect the homeowner to face charges.

"You can use deadly force to protect your property in relation to burglary, in relation to theft at nighttime, and when you feel that's the only method you have of protection," said Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed.

The homeowner told police one of the suspects made a threatening move toward him and that's when he opened fire.

The crime took place at nighttime, which is a time when Texas law especially allows the use of deadly force for personal protection.

"But it's also a very dangerous situation," said Reed. "You don't know their intentions. In many instances, you can't tell their identities so that later you can ID them to police."

State law also permits you to use force to keep a person from fleeing the scene of the crime at night, under certain conditions.

But with that right, says Reed, comes heavy responsibility.

"The law requires you to be reasonable, that you not have alterior motives in your protection before you step in and use deadly force," Reed said.

Police are still investigating whether the suspects, ages 32 and 37, were armed.

Click here to read more about what the law allows in the Texas Penal Code.

For a list of stories that Myra Arthur has done, click here.