A grand jury will be deciding whether a man who allegedly chased down and fatally shot a 19-year-old suspected car thief will face criminal charges. The incident occurred in Houston, Texas, when the car owner and his girlfriend discovered that their Dodge Charger had been stolen from an apartment complex. They immediately called 911 and began pursuing the stolen vehicle in a Lexus. Shots were fired during the chase, resulting in the death of the alleged car thief. The identity of the deceased has not been released.
According to investigators, the car theft took place around 4 a.m. on Thursday at an apartment complex near Louetta and Ella. The car owner reported the incident to the authorities and began following the stolen vehicle. Both parties exchanged gunfire during the pursuit. Eventually, the 19-year-old suspect was shot multiple times and the stolen Charger came to a stop about three miles away from the complex. Law enforcement arrived at the scene to find the Charger riddled with bullet holes and the alleged car thief deceased.
In cases like this, self-defense is a critical factor that a grand jury will evaluate. David Kwok, co-director of the University of Houston Law Center’s Criminal Justice Institute, explained that the key question is whether it was necessary for the car owner to use weapons during the pursuit. Another factor that often comes into play in Texas is the time of day when the theft occurs. Kwok noted that the law tends to be more lenient when thefts happen at night, as was the case here.
Law enforcement officials are currently reviewing surveillance footage and interviewing witnesses. That way, they have can gather more information about the incident. Sgt. Ben Beall of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office emphasized that firing weapons while driving poses a significant risk to public safety. He urged individuals to consider whether it is worth endangering lives to recover a stolen vehicle. Meanwhile, a friend of the car owner defended him, describing him as a hard-working family man who does not condone violence.