SAN ANTONIO – Several lessons are to be learned from a fatal confrontation between two good Samaritans and a suspected car thief, a criminal justice expert said Monday.
Lynn Parker, lead instructor of the criminal justice program at Palo Alto College, said the 30-year-old victim and another good Samaritan who tried to intervene put themselves in "a very dangerous situation."
"They see something wrong and some injustice taking place, and they want to stand up for the victim," Parker said. "But in this case, this sadly cost somebody their life."
The men may not have been aware that the suspect, 23-year-old Jacob Gabriel, had found a gun in the vehicle that police said he stole.
San Antonio police said the vehicle was left idling by its owner when he went into a convenience store Sunday at Fountainwood Street and O'Connor Road.
A strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Parker said he urges gun owners not to leave their firearms where they can be found if someone breaks into their vehicle.
Thieves often wait for someone leaving a vehicle running, in order to keep the air conditioner on during hot weather, Parker said.
"A little convenience ended up in a stolen vehicle, a felon on the run and eventually, a good person's life was taken," he said.
Parker said calling 911 immediately should be the priority, and then try to become the best witness possible by taking note of important details and descriptions. He said if a witness can do it safely, use a phone to get video or photographs that can provide evidence.
He said people too often are stunned to call 911.
"Some people think it's so surreal," he said. "Look, is this really happening? Is it really happening with me watching?"
Parker said people also don't call 911 because they think someone else already has.
"If 911 gets half a dozen phone calls, then call," Parker said. "Call immediately."