Alleged burglar shot by homeowner with shotgun in Camp County - Property Defense or Self Defense?

Texas homeowner shoots burglar who was attempting to break into a storage building on the property. Link to story here.

Not many details here yet. But, was the first shot justified for a property crime? More to come I am sure.

Stay safe out there.

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I don’t know Texas Laws so hard to tell if that was justified, but it looks like property defense.

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In Texas one is “allowed” to shoot in defense of property, too.

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Dunno about Texas laws regarding use of deadly force, but the superficial news/Sheriff story certainly does not present as a defensive use.

However, it is a very superficial telling. When I look at what might have been happening:

The homeowner grabbed his shotgun and went out and confronted the subject who was breaking into the building with tools belonging to the homeowner. He shot the intruder; however, the man got up and they then struggled for the gun.

There are many reasons and circumstances where confronting a trespasser might seem reasonable. I certainly would be prepared to defend myself if doing so. Then…

  • Burglar: [burgling]
  • Owner: “Hey! You know, you shouldn’t be doing that.”
  • Burglar: [comes at Owner with crowbar, axe, or other burgling tool/weapon]
  • Owner: “?*@%#!” [gunshot]

That could match the description given of events in this report. But so could:

  • Burglar: [burgling]
  • Owner: “That’s my stuff!” [gunshot]

Sort of depends on what actually happened.

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Sounds like the burglar made it down to Tyler which is probably close to where he lives. I suspect this guy drives around the rural areas looking for places to rob. That part of East Texas is thick with pine trees and small homesteads with a few towns mixed in. Some places are very secluded and the law isn’t just down the street.

The homeowner obviously isn’t a self defense guy loaded for bear. It sounds like he had light loads in the shotgun, probably for armadillos or similar varmints and was trying to scare the burglar away empty handed. When I lived in Texas the outcome would have been a no bill on the homeowner and I hope that will be the case. You don’t want to embolden the criminals to feel free to rob with impunity. That would lead to some serious confrontations and loss of life on both sides,

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That is interesting thread… so I dig for some answers.

Texas Penal Code - PENAL § 9.41. “Protection of One’s Own Property” clearly explains, that a person is allowed to use force, but not deadly force, to terminate a mere trespass or interference with property.

Info found on USCCA’s competitor’s brochure. The Company originates from Texas, so the information should be valid.

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Sec. 9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY.

A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or
tangible, movable property:

(1) if he would be justified in using force against the other
under Section 9.41; and

(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force
is immediately necessary:

(A) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson,
burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal
mischief during the nighttime; or

(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after
committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime
from escaping with the property; and

(3) he reasonably believes that:

(A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered
by any other means; or

(B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or
recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial
risk of death or serious bodily injury.

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He needs a good attorney who finds any of 9.42 applicable to this case.

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The OPs post certainly would seem to fit that code section. It was not “mere” trespassing.

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Perhaps it’s simple like that… you just shoot the burglar… It’s Texas… :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

But text from the article doesn’t convince me the Homeowner did it right.
I think we have to little information about this what exactly happened.

[…]
the homeowner heard a noise and discovered a man breaking into his storage building with tools that belonged to the owner. Officials said the homeowner then went to get his shotgun and shot the intruder.
[…]

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I was not stating my opinion of the case, only citing the relevant code section. There is not enough detail to make any valid assumption(s) about what the situation was. You cited a code about trespass, wherein the crime was burglary.

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76-2-405. Force in defense of habitation.

(1) A person is justified in using force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s unlawful entry into or attack upon his habitation; however, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury only if:

(a) the entry is made or attempted in a violent and tumultuous manner, surreptitiously, or by stealth, and he reasonably believes that the entry is attempted or made for the purpose of assaulting or offering personal violence to any person, dwelling, or being in the habitation and he reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent the assault or offer of personal violence; or

(b) he reasonably believes that the entry is made or attempted for the purpose of committing a felony in the habitation and that the force is necessary to prevent the commission of the felony.

Looks like in Utah it would be allowed.

We are not lawyers, so in my case I can state my opinion only.

Even the Law allows, shooting the burglar is not a solution in every case.
I’m advocate of “reasonable person doctrine” (*).

As we agreed - there is still not enough information released.


(*) hypothetical individual who approaches any situation with the appropriate amount of caution and then sensibly takes action

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Might depend upon how Utah defines “the habitation” since it sounds like the TX burgling involved entry to a detached storage structure. “Habitation” is nice since it would seem to include RVs, tents, rentals, etc without requiring a house or specific structure of domicile. But I don’t know that “habitation” would necessarily include any trespass upon any part of a property upon which one resides.

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I believe 9.42 2a “theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime” is what they’ll use. It was 4am so still in “nighttime” in TX. That’s just my 2 cents though and I have no legal background.

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I never said it was. Neither did I state I agreed with shooting the criminal in this case. However, as you agreed, we do not have enough information to make any reasonable assumptions about the incident.

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Yeap. That might be the good explanation.

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The Suspect got the Shotgun. How close do you have to be to shoot someone with a shotgun. He is lucky the Suspect didn’t shoot Him. I think this person needs some training with a shotgun. And needs to find a USCCA class on Defensive Shooting Fundamentals Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. And at least read the book Concealed Carry and Home Defense.

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It may have been a “property” crime…BUT…we who are defenders don’t know the intentions of those threatening either property crimes or if they also intend to target you next.
We don’t know the history of these trespassers. If one will look at the history of our deliberately weakened criminal justice system, the repeat criminals who may have started out with petty theft, got away with it because of some liberal ‘judge’, have now stepped up the game.
We the people cannot be expected to magically see into some perp’s head and then execute (pun intended) a self defense response.
Our property rights per our Founders are sacrosanct. This is our home, our protection, our domain.

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