Pet parrot raises alarm; Dallas homeowner kills burglar
DALLAS — A Dallas homeowner shot to death an intruder early Tuesday after being alerted by his pet parrot that someone was on the premises.
John Woodson, 46, was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he died, Dallas police Sgt. Larry Lewis said.
Police were called to home about 3:30 a.m. The home, which also is used as a locksmith shop, had been burglarized four times this month, Lewis said.
Dennis Baker, who keeps several pet birds in his home, said his Mexican red-headed parrot, Salvador, says "hello" whenever he sees someone.
Someone passed by a window in his home and Salvador began saying, "Hello, hello," awakening Baker from a "dead sleep."
Baker approached Woodson in the detached garage and shot him with a handgun, police said.
Baker said police officers are doing their jobs, but are overworked and understaffed. "I will protect my property and my life," he said.
When police officers arrived, Salvador began greeting them with "hello," Baker said.
"Sometimes he says 'hi,' but you can't get him to speak on cue," Baker said. "He has a mind of his own."
Police said they would turn the case over to a grand jury.
The case is one of several in recent weeks in which a home or business owner has shot an intruder.
A Ledbetter-area business owner fatally shot a suspected burglar on Sunday, the second time in three weeks that he has killed a prowler, police said.
Last month, a Mesquite business owner shot and wounded a suspected burglar after finding him with bolt cutters and copper cable taken from the building.
Musician Jeffrey Carter Albrecht was shot to death Sept. 3 after he tried to kick in a neighbor's door during a drunken rage, police said. The neighbor reportedly thought Albrecht was a burglar and fired a pistol high through the back door as a warning, but struck the 6-foot-4 Albrecht in the head.
Earlier this year, Texas lawmakers approved the Castle Law, which removes any obligation for a crime victim to retreat before responding with deadly force when faced with an intruder in his or her home, vehicle or business.
Despite the new legislation, Lewis said he would not describe the series of shootings as a trend, nor did he believe the law had empowered more people to shoot to kill.
Dallas police recorded more than 14,400 residential burglaries last year.
Baker said he installed a video surveillance system once his place began being burglarized repeatedly.
"I got hit five times this month. I have tools in my garage, my house and my van," Baker said. "They were coming here like they owned the place. I hate what happened, but somebody has to do what's necessary."
"The fifth time is enough. It's not something you want to do, but you have to do."