|Protesters clash over Pasadena man who shot suspected burglars |
08:52 PM CST on Sunday, December 2, 2007
By Taylor Timmins / KHOU.com & The Associated Press
11 News was there for the neighborhood showdown. Riot police were on the scene in a Pasadena neighborhood Sunday afternoon as a planned protest teetered on the brink of mayhem.
Quanell X and his followers planned to meet in front of the home of Joe Horn, the man who shot and killed two suspected burglars at his neighbor’s home last month, in the 7400 block of Timberline for a protest around 3 p.m.
But they were met with an even larger group of protesters in support of Horn’s actions.
The Horn supporters, many of whom appeared to come from outside the neighborhood, crowded around Quanell X and his group, revving motorcycles, hoisting signs in support of Horn and chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
“The neighborhood does not want that man here. They don’t want him here. He’s not welcome in this neighborhood. They don’t want him,” Blowout, a pro- Horn protester, said.
Police moved along with the group, breaking up skirmishes. On several occasions, shoving and kicking matches broke out as protesters confronted the group, shouting racial slurs.
Once Quanell X and his supporters left the neighborhood, the protesters marched along the streets, cheering.
“We have a right to bear arms, and we’re not afraid to use it. So criminals in Texas, watch out!” protester Jenni Foster said.
But the calm was short-lived.
Quanell X and his supporters returned shortly afterward.
“From the very beginning, we said that what the two brothers did was wrong. We don’t condone breaking into somebody’s house. But we are here today because we believe that it’s not right for anyone to become judge, jury and executioner, “ Quanell said, speaking into a bullhorn over angry shouts from the crowd.
“It’s a matter of justice. It’s a matter of fairness. It’s a matter of respecting the law,” he said.
Quanell said the scene was indicative of the biased attitude in the neighborhood.
Pasadena resident reportedly shoots suspected thieves
Should the Pasadena man who shot two alleged thieves be prosecuted?
Yes, he broke the law when he shot the men.
No, he did the right thing.
I don't know.
“If you’ll notice, nobody with us has pushed anybody. Nobody with us has made a racial remark … It’s what I expected. It’s not what I wanted, but it’s what I expected,” Quanell said. “The real question is, be honest, tell the truth. You watched them push, you watched them kick, you watched them shove. Did any of us do that?”
The neighborhood has been awash in controversy ever since the two men, Miguel Dejesus, 38, and Diego Ortiz, 30, were shot.
The whole thing started when Horn called 911 to say that two men were breaking into his neighbor’s home.
In a tape of the 911 call released to the media, the emergency operator can be heard urging Horn to remain in his home and wait for police to arrive.
“You’re gonna get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don’t care what you think,” the operator said.
“You wanna make a bet?” he said. “I’m gonna kill ‘em.”
After the shooting, a shaken Horn called 911 again.
“I had no choice,” he said. “They came in the front yard with me, man. I had no choice. Get somebody over here quick.”
Pasadena police are compiling a report on the incident and plan to present the case to Harris County prosecutors, according to police spokesman Vance Mitchell. From there, it’s expected to be presented to a grand jury. In the meantime, Horn remains uncharged.
Texas law allows people to use deadly force to protect themselves if it is reasonable to believe they could otherwise be killed. In limited circumstances, people also can use deadly force to protect their neighbor’s property; for example, if a homeowner asks a neighbor to watch over his property while he’s out of town.
The question will be whether it was reasonable for Horn to fear the men and whether his earlier threats on the 911 call showed he planned to kill them no matter what, said Fred C. Moss, who teaches criminal law at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
“That’s what makes it so hard and that’s why we have juries,” Moss said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.