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Homeowner may face felony charge for overnight shooting

SAPD: Man fleeing over a fence shot in the leg

SAN ANTONIO – A homeowner in a gated high-end Northwest Side neighborhood may be charged with a felony for shooting a man in the leg overnight as he was fleeing over a backyard fence.

Officer Doug Greene said it’s possible the homeowner, who has been cooperating with San Antonio police, could face a felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, with a penalty of five to 99 years in prison.

“He could be cleared or charges could be pressed,” Greene said.  

However, Greene said detectives must first finish “a thorough investigation anytime there is the use of deadly force.”

For those who believe everyone has a right to defend their property, Greene said it’s not that clear cut. “The first thing I would tell property owners is to read chapter nine of the Texas Penal Code.”

In addition to their rights under the law, Greene said it details different criteria and violations of the law that police must take into account.

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He said they include the time of day, the actions of the victim and the mental states of both the victim and the shooter.

Greene said the penal code also specifically refers to situations where a person is fleeing.

“There have to be certain crimes that have to take place if you’re going to resort to deadly force for someone that’s fleeing the location,” Greene said.

He said they are burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery or theft, during the nighttime, but trespassing is not included.

Even if the man is found to have been trespassing, Greene said the law allows force to be used, but not deadly force in those cases.

“At this point, there has been no evidence of a break-in or burglary. The immediate threat of deadly force against the homeowner, there’s no evidence of that right now,” Greene said.

He said not even a weapon was found on the 47-year-old man who was in his underwear. Greene said the homeowner came out armed with a handgun after hearing noises in his backyard.

He said it’s unclear what the homeowner told the man, but he was wounded while trying to leave by climbing over a fence. Greene said the victim fell to the other side where the homeowner stayed with him until police arrived.

Greene said given all the factors that are still being investigated, police must determine if the homeowner’s use of deadly force was “reasonable” under the law.

He said police will be questioning the victim as soon as he’s well enough.

“Once we have information on why, the reason behind the victim being there, that will tell us if we’re going to pursue charges or we’re going to the drop the charges,” Greene said.

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