A homeowner shot and killed a suspected burglar who came at him with a tire iron Tuesday after breaking into a storage shed on the man’s property in east Harris County, officals said.
Although the shooting will be referred to a Harris County grand jury, investigators said it appears to be self-defense.
"He has the right to protect himself and his property," said Sgt. Felipe Rivera, with the Harris County sheriff’s homicide division.
Investigators later Tuesday had not released the names of the homeowner or of the dead man.
Investigators suspect the incident was related to a burglary reported Monday at the same address. In that incident, the homeowner reported that a pair of hunting crossbows had been stolen.
On Tuesday, the homeowner saw a car about 3:30 p.m. as it pulled into the driveway leading to the home in the 100 block of Cedar Lane in Channelview.
After checking with his father-in-law, who lives in another home on the same property, the man took his .45-caliber pistol and went outside to confront the man he had seen in the car, investigators said.
The man was carrying empty cases used to hold crossbows when the homeowner confronted him in the driveway.
"He pulled out his gun and ordered the suspect to stop," Rivera said. "The suspect threw the cases down and produced the tire iron."
The homeowner fired once with the pistol. He fired a second time when the man continued moving toward him.
The man got into his car then began grabbing for the pistol, Rivera said.
"They struggled for the gun and he (the homeowner) fires two or three more shots," Rivera said.
The man tried to drive away, but struck a support column for a large covered car port, causing it to partially collapse.
He was pronounced dead at the scene, Rivera said.
The homeowner was shaken by the ordeal but not otherwise injured.
"He didn’t want this to happen," Rivera said. "He wanted the guy to stop (but) the suspect just continued."
Rivera said officials do not know if the man killed Tuesday was the same person who robbed the home on Monday.
The shooting at the home in Channelview follows at least two recent similar incidents in the Houston area where residents told investigators they were forced to shoot at intruders.
On July 16, a teenager fatally shot an armed man who broke into a Spring Branch home. Neighbors said there had been a rash of burglaries near the home in the 9000 block of Kerrwood.
On June 17, a north Harris County man shot and killed a teenager who refused to leave his property in the 5500 block of Susanna. Sheriff’s investigators said Dwayne Austgen, 69, feared for his life when he fired a .22 caliber rifle at 17-year-old Vidal Herrera.
Austgen had earlier told Herrera to get off his property then found a crack pipe that the teenager had apparently left on the ground. Austgen fired when Herrera moved toward him, demanding the pipe.
As is the case with Tuesday’s shooting, both incidents were referred to a Harris County grand jury.