A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, November 19, 2007

Shooting in Pasadena Texas

A 911 dispatcher instructed Joe Horn to stay inside while two thieves made off with his neighbor's property. "I ain't going to let them get away with this. They stole something. They got a bag. I'm doing it.".

"Don't go out the house," the dispatcher cautions in a measured voice. "You're gonna get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun."

"Wanna make a bet? I'm gonna kill 'em."

"Stay in the house......"

"They, they're gettin' away!"

"It's alright. Property's not worth killing over, OK? Don't go out the house. Don't be shootin' nobody. I know you're pissed and you're frustrated, but don't do it."

"They got a bag of loot!"

"Which way are they going?" the dispatcher asked.

"I can't......I'm going outside, I'll find out," replied Horn. The dispatcher protested, trying to keep Horn inside his home. "Here it goes buddy, you hear the shotgun clicking, and I'm going."

"Move...You're dead!" BLAM! BLAM! Blam!

Officers arrived several moments later. Two men criminals were recently deceased, shot by a 12 gauge at approximately 15 feet. One was across the street, and the other had collapsed two houses down behind a bank of mailboxes in the Village Grove East subdivision.

Texas Penal Code states a person can use deadly force to defend another person's property if he reasonably believes he has a legal duty to do so or the property owner had requested his protection.

"Any loss of life casts permanent devastation over the lives of everyone involved," Horn said. "The events of that day will weigh heavily on me for the rest of my life. My thoughts go out to the loved ones of the deceased."

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Anonymous BugSpray said...

It's sad they died over property. But they broke into and looted the house. They also, according to Mr. Horn on the tapes, advanced toward him and his shotgun. A decision I'm sure they regreted during their last moments. Self defense is never wrong even though he inserted himself into harms way.

Kudos to the officer for his calm and reassuring persona before the shooting and his efforts to keep both Mr. Horn and the responding officers safe afterwards.

It also proves the adage "when seconds count the police are only minutes away"

9:21 PM  
Blogger MauserMedic said...

Hmm. While I have no sympathy for thieves, this guy really pushed the limit. I wouldn't want to bet much money on his chances in the legal system. I could see attempting to hold them for the police, but unless I missed something, this is pretty much was a premeditated shooting.

10:39 PM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

I hope the criminals will get the message and even if they don't at least there are fewer of them around these days in Texas.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I don't know about premeditation MM. If anything, it seems to be more an impassioned response in the heat of the moment. 2nd degree.

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hot lead injection, appropriatly administered.

5:44 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Killing over property. I have to disagree with that, with every fiber of my being. Horn's life was not in immediate danger, nor was anyone else's. This shooting was legal, but morally repugnant.

5:44 AM  
Blogger 10% said...

I have a hard time finding any sympathy for the burglers. They had a choice, violate someone's home or walk the honest path. Looks like they chose poorly.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Horn I commend you for your bravery and defending yourself and your neighbors property.

It is not acceptable to me that people in this country feel the police should handle every situation. I believe the 911 operator was trying to protect Mr. Horn and not the criminal(s). Obviously he didn't need any help. He handled it the old fashioned way.

Any bets the media or activist groups are going to pull the racial card? I will be watching this case.

Lesson in life - if you choose to steal then you risk being killed over it.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

From the linked story "We leave our garage door open," she said. "We let the kids run the streets just like nothing. Now they will not be playing in the streets."

I wonder why she said that. Because there's a man down the street with a shotgun or because there are two dead burglars?

In either case, her once "safe" neighborhood is now even safer. What's really unfortunate is that more burglars don't get caught inside the house by tough old men with shotguns.

It's probably going to be rough on the old guy whether or not he ends up being charged.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

From the linked story "We leave our garage door open," she said. "We let the kids run the streets just like nothing. Now they will not be playing in the streets."

I wonder why she said that. Because there's a man down the street with a shotgun or because there are two dead burglars?

In either case, her once "safe" neighborhood is now even safer. What's really unfortunate is that more burglars don't get caught inside the house by tough old men with shotguns.

It's probably going to be rough on the old guy whether or not he ends up being charged.

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Angus Lincoln said...

The criminals were aware they were breaking the law. Am I wrong in thinking they ought to know the potential consequences?, especially in Texas. Would anyone not want our neighbor to watch over our property while we were out? I think these two "gamblers" made a bet and lost and I think Mr. Horn did the right thing to try to protect his neighbor and community. Perhaps he saved a future life or lives of someone those two hadn't bothered to rob yet. It was the criminals who initiated the situation that led to their own demise, not Mr. Horn's actions.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Hyunchback said...

Even though I live in Texas I'm not near enough to Pasadena, TX to serve on a jury.

I wish I were, though.

I'd love to get on the jury this citizen is sure to face and convince the others that these two scum were committing suicide by LART.

(For the non-geek: LART=Looser Attitude Readjustment Tool. Shotguns really do this task well.)

8:45 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Jonathan, you are wrong he warned the men that if they moved they were dead, the next sound you heard on the tape was two shotgun blasts, the inference you can make is that they made a threatening move towards Mr. Horn. Therefore your assertion that his life was not in danger is questionable. Granted he COULD have stayed in his house and not made an attempt to prevent the theft of his neighbor's property, but then again HPD could have done what was needed to make sure there were enough cops to be able to respond in less than 9 minutes too.

Who says protection of property is not enough reason to kill someone? It certainly is in Texas if done after dark. The simple fact of the matter is that they forfeited their lives when they chose to commit crimes. Mr Horn was merely the mechanism of revocation.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Sterno said...

I wish you could legally shoot over property in Louisiana. I don't have a problem morally with it. Just because a bad guy doesn't shoot you doesn't mean he can't ruin your life.

Take this for example:

I don't make much money. I depend on my vehicle to take me to work. If a bad guy stole my car, I don't have the money to replace it. Now I can't get to work, I can't make money to pay bills or replace my vehicle. Now my family and I suffer greatly.

Given all that, I really wish I could legally shoot someone who was stealing from me. I work hard for what I have and I don't have any problem with using whatever means neccecary to stop some opportunistic low-life from taking it from me.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Zayde said...

Heat of the moment . . . shots fired in anger and not in self defense. Not good.

The shooter will be up to his eyeballs in legal problems for years.

Survival of the castle doctrine was harmed.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He will probably be no billed by the grand jury. This is Texas after all.

Those two burglers look like they needed shooting...real dirt bags.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

From my own viewpoint, it is unlikely that I would shoot to defend property alone, for legal reasons. I live in Texas, but would not be willing to take the chance of jail for property. Was this gentleman correct? Emotionally, I think yes. These two will never steal again, and that is a good thing. Thieves can wreck a life, even without causing direct physical harm.
My own opinion is that crime exists because society tolerates it.

8:29 PM  
Blogger suzyjax said...

It is hardly a case of self defense when one put themselves in harms way. If that is allowed to pass, then what is to stop any person from jumping into someone's face, calling names or whatever, then shooting the person when they go after him?
After all, that would be self defense, right?
Joe Horn is no hero. We are fortunate he did not shoot another neighbor with a stray bullet. Joe Horn is a criminal.

8:47 PM  
Blogger MauserMedic said...

I should clarify; by premeditated I intended to convey that he had time to think about it, rather than dealing with an unavoidable threat immediately. I do agree that he was reacting to a stressful and unusual situation. I also personally believe that when you sacrifice hours of your life you can never get back in exchange for money to buy food, clothing, shelter, and items that make life enjoyable, the theft of that property is essentially theft of a portion of your life used to acquire it. In other words, I would prefer it to be clearly legal to dispatch a thief on my or my neighbors property, should the thief refuse to submit or show intent of harm. Unfortunately, I think he's done himself great harm by stating his intent to the dispatcher. I personally think what he did was right, but not particularly smart, given society's unwillingness to engage in individual responsibility.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

suzyjax, Could the same not be said of the two men that were stealing from his neighbor? They certainly didn't have to place themselves in that position either. Neither do the cops. They could have chosen a different line of work too. The difference is that cops and Mr. Horn chose to do so for altruistic reasons. They were trying to protect society (and his neighbor in particular) from thieves. The thieves chose to enter his property and make a threatening move towards Mr Horn (so he says) before Mr. Horn fired. You can hear him on the 911 tape saying "don't move, or you're dead". Obviously if the intent was to kill them outright, why bother with the formalities? Just blast away and be done with it. That could have been done from his kitchen window more than likely.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a firefighter, nobody seems to have a problem with me risking my life to save their property.
I fail to see why anybody has a problem taking a life of a criminal to protect property. All this handwringing and name calling over a FINE neighbor who understood the legal,moral, and tactical risks involved and PUT HIS NEIGHBOR'S PROPERTY at the top of the list.
Suzyjax makes a gigantic mental leap from protection of property to some contrived name calling event. Unfortunately, that "Wild West" argument never panned out when the CHL wave went across the country a few years ago.
Suz, do me a favor-when the fire department pulls up in front of your house because flames are shooting out the roof, make sure you tell us: "Don't worry about it boys, it's just property. I don't want anyone to get hurt."

Precious few of us realize that security does not lie in being at the center of the herd, nor in simple "self protection" but in putting the lives and well being of others above our own.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone should appreciate what Mr. Horn has done. He's permanently removed 2 criminals off the streets of the Houston area.

The way I see this:

1. Those 2 guys won't be stealing my stuff.

2. I now don't have to pay tax from my very hard earned money when the court sent them to jail.

Jails are over crowded - it's time for some purging in other ways.

2 dead criminals = win win situation

8:42 AM  
Anonymous mike w. said...

I see no problem with what he did. They had stolen his property and he went outside to stop them from leaving. He pointed the shotgun at them and told them not to move. They were stupid enough not to drop everything and NOT MOVE.

Advancing towards someone who's got a gun pointed at you is stupid. At that point he's justified in shooting them IMO. If he'd shot them in the back while they were running down the street that'd be completely different.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Katy TX said...

straight up murder....his life was not in danger nor did his neighbor ask him to guard their home. Mr. Horn stated that he barely knew the neighbor.

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He did shoot one in the back, according to the police report... do your research. Also, what would ya'll say if the shooter were black and the dead were white?

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm familiar with that area, and it's within a short walking distance of a low income apartment complex.

Not a part of town that I'd feel safe in at night, but that pretty much applies to most of Pasadena.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think that these guys got what they deserved, mess with the bull and you get the horns, its time for us to take the streets back

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Will said...

Anon at 8:16
Why don't you do some research? Read up on the dynamics of gunfights by Massad Ayoob. Very common for the involved to spin around between shots to head for cover. The split seconds between trigger pulling/recoil/muzzle flash/adrenaline flowing/etc., make it difficult to switch actions off in time to avoid this sort of result. And frankly, once the shooting starts(by any party) until the bad guys are on the ground and not moving, you are not safe. Most people, even the cops, shoot until the BG is down, or they have emptied their gun. And it is amazing how fast you can pull that trigger when your life is on the line.
Also, there is the doctrine of "disparity of force". This mean that size, age, physical condition, training, and the number of opponents involved ALL have a bearing on the use of deadly force.
You and Suzijax seem to lack critical knowledge of self defense matters.
And Suzi, if you instigate a confrontation as you present, then you will be held responsible. However, that is not even close to what happened here.

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He did shoot one in the back, according to the police report... do your research. Also, what would ya'll say if the shooter were black and the dead were white?"

So a white man is not supposed to shoot a black thief? Black thieves can rob white homes with impunity? That's pretty racist thinking there, yes sir, it is.

1:55 AM  
Anonymous M.I.T.C.H. (Man In The Cammo Hat) said...

To those of you who believe that someone stealing your stuff is not worth killing for; I am glad you have never been burglarized. When it happens and you spend the rest of your lives feeling like you could be victimized at any moment and the world is no longer the safe nurturing cocoon you once thought it was, you will think differently.

I also love the firefighter analogy.

Those who have no respect for society's rules will not hesitate to take everything from you.

You are on a waiting list whether you realize it or not. A waiting list to be robbed, raped, beaten, killed, etc... If someone doesn't do something to, or with, the criminals before they get to your place on the list, it will happen. The more that are apprehended, incarcerated or killed, the longer you get to wait, and maybe they will never get to you. Thank God this man was not going to be a victim or let people in his neighborhood be victims. If more people did this we would have safe neighborhoods again. The neighborhoods that most consider safe now are not really safe, it is just that nothing has happened yet.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Breaking into an occupied home at night has just become a more dangerous occupation. I don't worry about the "loss"of the robbers as much as I worry about the legal consequenses to the man defending his property and his neighborhood.
If they had not broken int his house and stolen his money, they would still be alive today.
Unless they did something else equally illegal and stupid.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a black man I can say this is NOT about race and shame on those who say it is. As a police officer and a member of the human race, I say good job Mr. Horn. I wish many more neighbors across the country would look at what you did and learn from it. I have taken many many many burglary and theft reports and I go to the victims neighbors residence and about fifty percent of the time the neighbor says “you know deputy I did see a person I didn’t know around that house….but I didn’t want to get involved.” And that’s the problem ! Mr. Horn did all he could, he called 911, he waited and watched updating the call taker and when he felt that the suspects were going to leave, he used force that HE deemed necessary. I see no premeditation in this at all. He wasn’t sitting in his home with a loaded gun, he had to load it, and I see no premeditation in that. I hope this does make that and all communities safer. The only thing that got me a little perturbed was I saw this story on the news and I saw confederate flags being flown…now being educated I know and understand that confederate flags in this day and age are a sign of rebellion and not typically a sign of racism. Nor do I think they were being displayed in a racist nature. I would only say to that community that a national spot light is upon you, and many Americans are ignorant to the concept to the confederate flag and deem it to be a sign of racism and we all know that the media is only going to show the flags and bikers and conflicts between blacks and whites. That’s what the media does that’s how they pay the bills , so I would use a little more caution if another protest happens because you should give people like (Al Sharpton) ammo to come down to Texas and say “ O look this is about race!” when it so not ! Don’t turn your town in another “Jena” Please.

Phoenix in Phoenix

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Country Boy said...

Phoenix in Phoenix
You are obvously a very astute individual. I wish more people had you point of view. Race is not the motvation most folks want to make it. It's just an excuse for their actions or maybe fullfills a deeper adgenda. We as a society have grown to "thin skinned". As I see it the majority of people today don't or won't take responsibility for their own actions and are unwilling to be look out for their own welfare/protection preferring to allow "society" to provide services to do so. If you choose a crimial lifestyle, sometimes the occupational hazards are stiff. Kudos to you!

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A contrast of shootings.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Alice the Flash said...

Alice the Flash said SO THE THEIVES GOT SHOT...

Neighborhood Watch Beware...this will effect what people with good intentions are trying to do, the theives may have killed the owner for his possessions if he had been there AND WHY ARE BLACK PEOPLE IN A WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD RAISING HELL IT IS NOT A RACIAL ISSUE THIS WAS A FELONY ROBBERY WITH INTENT. WAKE UP

4:50 PM  

The United States is a civilized nation of laws. We no longer prescribe to the wild wild west shoot em up mentality of long ago. I know that many of you, like myself, are disgusted and frustrated with the level of violent crime in this country. Does that mean we go out and become "Judge, Jury, and Executioner?" Of course we don't!

Yes, Mr. Horn was frustrated as hell. That does not give him the right to seek vigilante style justice. I applaud Mr. Horn for having the forsight to call 911, but his actions went too far. He should have gotten an accurate and detailed description of the assailants and provided that information to the police.

I strongly believe that Mr. Horn's actions was both legally and morally wrong.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in texas and have always believed that if you step on to someones property with intent to rob or steal you left your rights at that exact point. Why do so many people not want to make crooks responsible for their actions. And please skin color has nothing to do with it.

2:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sure, the guys who were committing a crime got killed. even if you feel they got what they deserved, thankfully we live in a country where the rule of law supposedly prevails (even in texas). that means that mr. horn should also get what he deserves, which is to be tried (and possibly convicted) for murder. a trial is more than his victims got.

2:09 AM  
Anonymous AL said...

I lived in Pasadena Texas for over 30 years and there is no place in Pasadena that takes a cop more than 3 to 5 minutes to get to with their lights and sirens on. Pasadena is heavily patrolled and you can't go 3 miles without seeing a cop.
Listen to the 911 call. There is a guy in the background telling the dispatcher to "hurry up and get a car over there because he's going to kill those guys."
They had this guy on the 911 call for over 7 minutes and it was another 2-3 minutes before they arrived at the scene to find these thieves dead.
Analyze what the guy in the back ground was saying. Had the dispatcher not sent a car to the crime scene while he was on the phone with Mr. Horn for those 7+ minutes? Or had the dispatcher not relayed an immediate sense of urgency to the car he was supposed to have dispatched? Or were the cops just dorking around until the danger was over and they would take a report?
These cops are known for dorking around until the crime is over then take a report when the danger has passed. I've seen first hand where a grocery store was being robbed while two Pasadena cops watched from behind the restaurant where they were beating up a 15 year old kid for a couple of joints. After the robbery was over we witnessed the theives speeding east down Spencer Hwy, then the cops came directly across the street to take a report after they watched the thieves speed away.
There was more than enough time for the cops to have gotten there to stop these guys and keep Mr. Horn from having to be put in this situation. The latest reports state that these guys were withing 7 to 10 feet from Mr. Horn when this happened and they were moving in his direction until he drew down on them and then they ran.
They excuse every stinking criminal for what they do because of the "horrible way they were raised".
Mr. Horn's excuse is the same! He was raised to do what he did. He was raised that you don't steal and when you do there are consequences you must face and if the cops can't get there to do their job you have to protect yourself, your property as well as your neighbor's!
They said, no property is worth a man's life. Those men knew the risk they were taking and should have thought about the value of their lives before THEY DECIDED to commit a felony!
Mr. Horn is being persecuted as if he shot them because they were black. I would support his action no matter what color or ethnic background they were and say Oh well! He was doing the police department's job because they were A.W.O.L.
Broken Law #1 - These guys were here with illegal papers stating they were from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic but were actually here illegally from Columbia.
#2 - They broke into a family's house with intent to steal and possibly beat, rape and/or kill anyone they encountered in that house during the commission of that crime.
#3 - They were caught in the act of stealing and removing a family's property with full intent.
#4 - They were told to stop by a citizen making a citizen's arrest while defending his neighbor's property and he warned them he would shoot them.
#5 - These guys turned on him to attack and were killed in the commission of the final law they were trying to break.
When will everyone understand enough is enough. These guys laughed at all the LAWS we made to establish our present society and there is a bunch of idiots that want to support the criminals and prosecute the man who stopped the crime spree these illegals were on. When would you stop them, when they make it to your house? I pray I have 1,000 Joe Horns as my neighbors!
Get on your holier than thou soap boxes and convict Joe Horn but until you're faced with a life and death situation you aren't qualified to clean Joe Horn's toilet!

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad they're dead, I haven't read up on this thing much but hopefully the man isn't in any trouble.

There was a story like that somewhere else but the man didn't shoot the criminals. They were smart enough to know when they had it, it being a shotgun pointed at them.

He was taken to court but so many people were with him that it didn't matter. But they did take his shotgun away, not sure if they gave it back though.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Texan, and I believe that protecting your property and family are God given rights. If it takes blowing away a couple of scum bags to do then that is what is needed. I commend Mr. Horn for his actions. Apparently there was a cop on scene in an unmarked, Did he stop the thieves? NO! Claims he was waiting for "back up". Mr. Horn had no back up either in person or in himself, he did what was needed. He gave the thieves a chance he said "move ....and your dead". Apparently the thieves moved cause they are now dead. For those of you writing in that have moved to Texas from another state and do not understand our mentality Please do us all a favor and move back to where you came from.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Nobody said...

I really don't sympathize with the thieves, but everything has it's limits even the protection of property. What's to stop a neighbor from shooting another's friend who comes over to take the golf clubs from the garage and the key sticks. So then the trigger happy neighber assumes it's a robbery and he comes out and shoots the guy (after dialing 911 to cover his tracks). This is a slippery slope on which we're treading. Personally, I think this was a guy that was itching to shoot another human and his chance presented itself.

1:26 PM  

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