[Guest post by DRJ]
UPDATE 4 – 12/7/2007: Related posts here.
UPDATE 3 – 12/7/2007 @ 12:15 AM PST: According to this Houston Chronicle article, the suspected burglars’ names were Diego Ortiz, 30, and Hernando Riascos Torres, 48. Police are investigating whether they “were part of a crime ring linked to burglaries and the use of fake immigration documents.” In addition:
“Police found a Puerto Rican identification card on Ortiz. He had two aliases.
Torres had identification cards from Colombia, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He had three aliases.”
UPDATE 2 – 12/5/2007 @ 8:00 PM PST: Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly reports that both DeJesus and Ortiz were illegal immigrants with criminal records. O’Reilly said DeJesus was from Columbia. He served 6 years in a Texas prison on drug charges and was then deported. Ortiz was also in the US illegally and had an arrest record for drugs. Updated post here.
UPDATE 1 – 12/4/2007: See comment 1 and comment 2 for audio links.
On November 14, 61-year-old Pasadena TX resident Joe Horn shot and killed Miguel Antonio DeJesus and Diego Ortiz after they allegedly burglarized a neighbor’s home:
“Horn was home in Pasadena, about 15 miles southeast of Houston, on Nov. 14 when he heard glass breaking, said his attorney, Tom Lambright. He looked out the window and saw 38-year-old Miguel Antonio DeJesus and 30-year-old Diego Ortiz using a crowbar to break out the rest of the glass.
He grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun and called 911, Lambright said.
“Uh, I’ve got a shotgun,” he told the dispatcher. “Uh, do you want me to stop them?”
“Nope, don’t do that,” the dispatcher responded. “Ain’t no property worth shooting somebody over, OK?”
Horn and the dispatcher spoke for several minutes, during which Horn pleaded with the dispatcher to someone to catch the men and vowed not to let them escape. Over and over, the dispatcher told him to stay inside. Horn repeatedly said he couldn’t.
When the men crawled back out the window carrying a bag, Horn began to sound increasingly frantic. “Well, here it goes, buddy,” Horn said as a shell clicked into the chamber. “You hear the shotgun clicking, and I’m going.”
A few seconds passed.
“Move,” Horn can be heard saying on the tape. “You’re dead.”
Horn redialed 911 and told the dispatcher what he’d done.
“I had no choice,” he said, his voice shaking. “They came in the front yard with me, man. I had no choice. Get somebody over here quick.”
Lambright said Horn had intended to take a look around when he left his house and instead came face to face with the burglars, standing 10 to 12 feet from him in his yard. Horn is heavyset and middle-aged and would have been no match in a physical confrontation with the two men, who were young and strong, Lambright said. So when one or both of them “made lunging movements,” Horn fired in self-defense, he said.”
Portions of the transcript of the 911 tape are here and are reproduced at the *MORE* link below. When you read the available transcript, and I hope you do, note there is at least one discrepancy (highlighted in bold).
The response to this case has been significant, both online and in the Pasadena neighborhood where it occurred. In addition, a protest march in Pasadena on Sunday highlighted racial tensions because Joe Horn is white and the two men he killed are black:
“Activist Quanell X and dozens of other protesters Sunday faced hundreds of homeowners and supporters of Joe Horn, the Pasadena man who shot and killed two men he suspected of burglarizing a neighbor’s home more than two weeks ago. Families of the slain men, Miguel Antonio DeJesus, 38, and Diego Ortiz, 30, also were present.
Yard signs lined the 7400 block of Timberline in Pasadena, where the incident took place, as well as on nearby streets. Residents and Horn supporters waved American flags and carried signs reading, “We love our neighbor for protecting our neighbors” and “Burglary is a risky business.”
Motorcyclist Aaron “Blowout” Morrow, 43, and dozens of his fellow bikers lined Timberline, loudly revving their engines each time Quanell X attempted to speak. “I support our rights as Americans to protect ourselves and support our Second Amendment rights,” Morrow said.
Quanell X, who said he is not certain the shooting was racially motivated, said he “wouldn’t be surprised” after Sunday afternoon’s events. “Our protesters were peaceful in spite of racial slurs,” he said.
“I just can’t believe that we’ve got a race riot going on in our neighborhood,” said Michelle Howell, who lives several doors down from Horn. “First of all, this is a quiet place, secondly we’ve got neighbors of all different races. This has nothing to do with race.”
The Pasadena police plan to turn the case over to a grand jury in 7-10 days.
Click *MORE* for an article that reprints portions of the transcript of Horn’s 911 call and for a discussion of applicable Texas law.