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Texas Man Cleared Of Shooting Burglars

Texas Man Cleared of Shooting Burglars — Victory For Justice?

It's a big day for guns in the news: new Georgia laws go into effect allowing residents to carry concealed weapons into parks, restaurants, and onto public transportation, and in Florida, employees and customers will now be able to conceal firearms on private property if locked in a car. Then there's this story: Joe Horn, a 62-year-old Texan has been cleared by a grand jury yesterday after he fatally shot two men he suspected of burglarizing his next-door neighbor's home.

Horn's case has sparked controversy between those who think he acted illegally and recklessly, and those who praise his swift action. Horn's attorney says, "he wasn't acting like a vigilante. He didn't want to do it," and that he's not a "wild cowboy" who shot unprovoked after he saw the two suspected burglars carrying bags out of windows of his vacationing neighbor's home. His lawyer says Horn was a scared man who was trying to defend his neighbor's home when the burglars came onto his property and threatened him, "He was scared. He was in fear of his life."

The details of the night are recorded in a 911 call, where a dispatcher urges Horn, "Don't go outside the house. You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don't care what you think." Horn responded, "You want to make a bet? I'm going to kill them." Both suspects were shot in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun. After the incident, he called back saying, "I had no choice. They came in the front yard with me, man. I had no choice. Get somebody over here quick."

The case illuminates part of the complicated relationship between guns and crime — in this instance, was the jury correct in letting him go? Was Horn acting in self-defense?


Join The Conversation
ConservativeMass ConservativeMass 8 years
And yes I know I spelled "their" incorrectly...
ConservativeMass ConservativeMass 8 years
Just think if more folks did what he did... No one would have to do what he did... hmmm.... Hang on gotta get back to work to pay more taxes so the dirtbags in prison can have there cable tv and porn.
Michaelrcks Michaelrcks 9 years
I live in Texas, and I feel no pity for the dead criminals or their families. I used to come home from work after 11pm. One night, I noticed one of car's doors was slightly cracked open. So, after I put my stuff down in the house, I went back out to shut the door. Next morning, we noticed someone had been trying to pry out the stereo. After that, my dad kept the garage door unlocked, and his rifle loaded. If you catch someone in your car, there's a good chance he's going to use his gun on you. You never know who's going to have a gun, and use it when you catch them breaking into your car or house. Better the burgular than me, in my opinion. We have the right to protect ourselves and our property! Who cares if a couple crooks were killed? Would you rather they sit in a prison (if they are even caught, unlikely) and have the prison waste your tax dollars providing them with food, shelter, and tv, while they learn the proper way of burglarizing a home?
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
I wonder if he is available to watch my place while I am on vacation.
stiletta stiletta 9 years
"If you break into my home, I will not ask you what your intentions are--whether you are just there to steal my property. I will shoot to kill before you're even in the window." My sentiments exactly. I won't have time to have a conversation with someone robbing me nor will I give them the opportunity to see who is shooting at them. They obviously weren't there for any good reason and if it's legal in Texas for someone to defend their home, than he acted in accordance with the law. If those robbers knew that, they'd probably have thought differently. It's not the State of Texas' job to make sure every robber is informed of its laws.
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 9 years
"Some of us have experienced having our homes robbed and/or other crimes to our person and survived with the still intact belief that life is more sacred than property - even the lives of the people who violated us." Specifically responding to that comment and not the Horn case--yeah, some people get over it, and some people are scarred for life and are afraid to be in their own homes, afraid to be alone, and can't live a normal life anymore. And how do you know that a robber is just there to steal your TV? Some people get raped and murdered after being robbed. Sometimes parents get tied up while their children are raped. It happens. If you break into my home, I will not ask you what your intentions are--whether you are just there to steal my property. I will shoot to kill before you're even in the window. It is the robber's choice to place the value of my property above his own life. He made that decision when he broke into my home to violate my family.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
And have fun with the inlaws! GS sends Dave a bottle of Port.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
lol, Dave, what kind of image do you have about we Texans? Hey, you stepped on my foot....bang. Hey, leggo my ego...bang! :wink:
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
Have fun Dave! I hope it stays pretty calm for you after all it is a vacation!
stephley stephley 9 years Here's a link to the call - he threatened a number of times to go outside and shoot the burglars, not just once. The dispatcher repeatedly and carefully told Horn to stay inside. Jennaboa's right, he sounded hot to go get them himself. It's 12 seconds to the first gunshot on the tape after Horn says he's going out.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Sy - I just found out that the places we are visiting have Wi-fi, so I'll be stopping in every once in awhile. It won't be as long as normal, but you'll still get your daily dose of Conservative Dave... ;)
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I'm visiting family on both sides. Just not at the same time. Our familes are like oil and water, Liberals and Conservatives, (you get the picture). We do our best to schedule time with both, but it's difficult.
jennaboa jennaboa 9 years
"... he wasn't acting like a vigilante. He didn't want to do it ..." Cow patties, that's what that is. He wouldn't have had to defend himself if he hadn't been outside. He went outside, against what he was asked to do by the dispatcher and shot those guys in the back. He sounds a little to eager in the 911 call to take matters into his own hands. Way too eager, to the point that you have to wonder bow disturbed this man is. I mean, since when is shooting two blokes in the back considered defensive? I don't care if one of the guys was an illegal -- which is what the radio stations here in Austin have been harping on the most -- and I doubt Mr Horne did either when he shot the guy dead. Scared and fearing for his life? Stay in the bloody house, you eejit. I'm from Texas and it's Yahoos like this guy that make worried. Conceal your handguns if you think if makes tyou a Big Man, but let the police do the policing, please. That's their job. It's not the job of a retiree would-be hero with trigger happy hands.
syako syako 9 years
:wave: UD! It'll be awfully quiet around here ;)
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
Have fun!! - where ya going??
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Well, I gotta go pack for vacation. :wave: See everyone in a couple weeks!
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
"but they didn't gun down burglars with impunity on your behalf." sure they did, it just wasn't publicized in the media ;-) lol
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I wouldn't go so far as to agree about that in Texas. They have a whole different philosophy down there.
stephley stephley 9 years
"That's the way people used to be when he was growing up." In the good old days, people might have been more likely to keep an eye out if you were away, but they didn't gun down burglars with impunity on your behalf.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I don't know that it is totally unrelated. I remember growing up (and getting into trouble) and knowing that if a neighbor disciplined me, I was gonning to get it worse at home. I remember one adventure where two neighbors took turns spanking me, and then having them walk me home, so they could tell mom, and she could spank me again. I had a very adventurous childhood. The thing is, though, those same moms that spanked me also looked out for our welfare. When a drug dealer rented a house down the street, the neighborhood set up a "watch" program consisting of sitting at the house across the street, and watching the neighbor. He eventually left.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
UnDave: "It's really too bad that the subsequent generations have become so "me" centered that they feel calling 911 and hoping the police show up sometime in the next 30 minutes is good enough." Actually, you bring an excellent (but mostly unrelated) issue to the forefront. We have all, particularly the younger folks, become accustomed to relying on government for many things. It's another aspect of the nanny state, I suppose.
kastarte2 kastarte2 9 years
I understand feeling a responsibility to one's neighbors (although, I live in a city and my neighbors don't even acknowledge me when I say hi or wave to them) but I just think that self preservation has to be taken into consideration. If those robbers had been armed,he could have forfited his life to fulfill this "responsibilty". If I got shot protecting my neighbors' valuables, I don't think my parents would comfort themselves by saying, "Well, at least she died an honorable death protecting someone else's stuff." If my neighbor was in bodily harm, I like to think I would rise to the occasion, but I'm not going to put my life at risk just so some jerkface doesn't make off with his Wii.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
He got involved because he felt it was his responsibility to protect his neighbor, and his neighbor's property. That's the way people used to be when he was growing up. It's really too bad that the subsequent generations have become so "me" centered that they feel calling 911 and hoping the police show up sometime in the next 30 minutes is good enough.
kastarte2 kastarte2 9 years
I agree with GS and Jude. I'd have no problem protecting me and mine if someone were breaking into my property but I'm not going to go after some one robbing my neighbors. What if one of those robbers had a hand gun or something? Horn could have been shot down while trying to defend his neighbors. He didn't know if they were armed or not when he went out there. I'm sure his neighbors wouldn't have wanted Horn to get himself killed just so some bad guys wouldn't make off with their collection of silver spoons or whatever. According to Texas law, it makes sense that he got off, but I really see no reason why he had to get himself more involved than simply calling 911.
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