Just over two miles from me, behind the very large Second Baptist Church, is a relatively new subdivision. In this subdivision lived an old man. And his shotgun.
He heard something going on in the house next door one day. It sounded like glass breaking. He thought his neighbor was gone.
He did a smart thing. He called 911. He reported a burglary in progress. That was the last smart thing he did.
He stayed on the phone for six minutes. The police still hadn't come. One of the legacies of Mayor Manlove is a reduced police force.
While on the phone he worked himself up. He told the 911 operator he had his gun and he would stop those burglars. He wouldn't let them get away.
She told him no. Wait for the police. Don't go out there.
When it seemed like they were leaving he told her I am going to stop them. Kill them. She said don't do that.
"Don't go outside the house," the 911 operator pleaded. "You're gonna get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don't care what you think."Only after the shooting did the police show up. They questioned him and released him. Charges may be filed later.
"You wanna make a bet?" Horn answered. "I'm gonna kill 'em."
After the shooting, he re-dialed 911.
"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."
Diamond Morgan, Diego Ortiz's wife and mother of their 8-month-old son, told TV station KTRK that she was stunned by Horn's comments on the 911 call.
"It's horrible," she said. "He was so eager, so eager to shoot."
But Horn "literally went to pieces" after the shooting, Lambright [Horn's attorney] said. He issued a statement a few days later saying the events would weigh heavily on him for the rest of his life.
Suppose the two men had had guns. Suppose the police thought Joe Horn was one of the men. Suppose he had just taken a description of the men and their vehicle to give police. There are many supposes.
In this case the two burglars were the only ones dead. He shot them leaving. His lawyer says they came toward Joe Horn, a large heavy-set man pointing a gun. This is the only legal defense against murder charges. His lawyer must say that Joe Horn was afraid for his life.
The matter has been referred to the grand jury. He could face murder charges. There is no law that says you have the right to kill people who robbed your neighbor in daylight and are going away. Since this is Texas, I expect the old man will be charged with a minor crime or no-billed.
Harris County is already the legalized murder capital in the country. Maybe Harris County or Texas will make an example of the old man. Support him as someone who should be a model for all citizens. Why put the burden on the state and use our tax dollars to kill criminals? Authorize all citizens to be the police, judge, jury and executioner. If you see any crime being committed - shoot. Sure would save a lot of time.
I used to go over in Pasadena to feed my ex-wife's cats when she was away. I don't think I would do that now. No telling if some other old man with a gun would think I was a burglar.
There was a demonstration and counter-demonstration in front of his house. Some people think he is a frightened, confused murderer. Some people think he is a racist. Some people think he is a hero.
Joe Horn is not home now. He has gone out of town and is trying to recover from killing the two. I am not sure he thinks what he did was right. There are plenty of people around here who do.
If I was a burglar I think I would make sure and take a gun next time.
GunGuys: License to murder.
Falkenberg: Self-Defense Unclear.
Leahy: Pasadena Protest heats up.
Lawyer: Pasadena man shot suspects out of fear
Chron: 911 tape