HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Two would-be burglars are in police custody thanks to the quick actions of a 15-year-old.
emorial Hermann Hospital. Investigators say they aren't sure whether the injured suspect is going to make it. He was shot in both his legs and face by a 15-year-old who detectives say feared for his and his sister's safety.
It happened at a home on Royal Place Court in northwest Harris County at around 2:30pm Tuesday.
"All he said was, 'Anybody seriously hurt?' and he said, 'Oh yeah, definitely,'" neighbor Renee Thompson said.
The blood on the driveway told a burglary-gone-bad story.
Deputies say the suspects broke into the home through a back window. From upstairs, the 15-year-old -- who was home with his 12-year-old sister -- heard the breaking glass and grabbed his father's automatic rifle. The burglary was soon over.
Family members rushed to the home, but the children's father, Vince Guerra, had beaten them all there. He's a Harris County Pct. 1 deputy constable and was on duty when it happened. No wonder his son knew what to do.
"We don't try to hide things from our children, and we try to give them a perspective about the way things are," Harris County Sheriff's Office Lt. Jeff Stauber said.
Within an hour, both suspects -- one adult and one juvenile -- were in custody; they were caught at a nearby hospital while seeking help.
The juvenile was brought back to the scene, where deputies checked him for evidence and collected the rifle.
Neighbors backed what the 15-year-old did.
"I'm really glad he was able to defend himself," Thompson said.
Investigators concluded the shooting was justified.
"As parents, we protect our kids, and as an older brother, he was protecting his sister and himself," Stauber said.
Neighbors say there have been recent burglaries in the neighborhood.
Investigators said that rifle was the personal weapon of the teen's father, the deputy constable. He's been with the constable's office for 11 years and is described as a good officer.
There were some questions about whether he'd be liable for the shooting since his son had easy access to the weapon, but ABC13's legal expert says that the 15-year-old's right to protect his home and sister trumps all child firearm access laws.