T Nation

4 YO Shot During Botched Mugging


This is tragic but this caught my attention.

Police said the father wrestled a gun away from one of the alleged muggers and ran after one of the suspects, shooting the teen in the back of the head.

Is that justified from a legal point of view?


Well, that's fucked up.


Walk into the hospital and shoot him in the head. No remorse for the robbers.


I hope they let the father slide. They broke into his home, shot his son, and he defended his family the best he could.


In Texas it is. There was a big case in the Houston area that went through a few appeals a few years ago where an old dude was asked by his neighbors to keep an eye on their place while they were out of town.

He did of course, being the old nosy neighbor he was and saw two hispanics break in to the neighbors house. He called 911 and in sound clips you could hear him say "I'm going to shoot them" to the operator, complaining the police would never make it in time as they took off running from his neighbors house with bags full of shit they stole.

You could hear the operator say "Please don't!" and the phone dropped and then a couple pops.

He stepped in the yard with a shotgun, allegedly yelled "stop" and they dropped the bags and kept running. He shot them both dead anyways and was declared innocent of any crime.

It was a big issue though, his life wasn't in danger, it wasn't "his" castle he was protecting, the assailants were trying to leave and dropped what they had and he was outside, technically in public.

But you don't mess with Texas and those fuckers will never rob some one again, death is more certain that a few months probation.

I hope the guy gets off in New York too. I also hope he wasn't struggling over a fucking jacket with a 4 yr old around. What a horses ass he would be. Or even if the kid wasn't around, had the guy been shot over a coat, pride aside, his son would be fatherless.

I do hope the 17 year old lives, but with brain damage. Hopefully he will remember shooting the four year old as he spends his life in a bed as a vegetable.


No, the guy got off because the criminals veered onto his property and supposedly started walking toward him.

In Tennessee we have a castle law and a stand your ground law. You are not required to try to get away, and you can assume the person is a threat if they break into your home (and even shoot them in the back).


The issues were

1) he shot one of them directly in the back as they ran away
2) after choosing to leave the safety of his home and
3) go outside with the intent of killing them.

You can't shoot some one in the back as they come at you. This dude went totally vigilante.

But yes they were running through his front lawn, traditionally not included in our "Castle Law" until that case however, given concealed to carry laws, if you are attacked in public it's legal to shoot.

He went outside though intentionally putting himself at unnecessary risk for some one elses property. Texas still ruled in his favor on a law governing the protection of others which was stretched to include property in this case, which I'm happy about.

Hopefully NY will do the same. It'd be nice to see such a precedent in a "blue" state.


I remember a thread in PWI where in Illinois a State Supreme Court decision said that police may enter a house without suspicion and without announcing themselves. I mention this only because of the debate about castle laws. Carry on.


Might be talking about a different case...


Maybe so.


"The father was bringing his son, 4-year-old Cencia Balthazzar, back to the women?s shelter where the toddler lives with his mother on Grand Avenue around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when police said Acosta and two other teenagers tried to rob them."

Sounds to me like this happened on the street as opposed to in the guy's home, unless I'm missing something. My heart goes out to the guy as a parent and I can't really fault him for the shooting, but legally he had no justification. Whether he was "wrong" in the moral sense is not for me to say.

The article also said that the shot that hit the child went off during a struggle between the father and the 17 year old, apparently over an "old coat" that the 17 year old was trying to steal. All sympathy aside, fighting with someone over property is stupid. Fighting with a gunman over an old coat while your 4 year old is in your care is really fucking stupid IMO, and in this case tragic.


I cant find it but i know the soundbite from the one HG is talking about is on youtube and it rocks!!


If someone had a gun and tried to rob you, your life is in danger. That's the justification. They were held at gunpoint by a stranger. Who knows what would have happened?

I agree about fighting for a coat with his 4 year old in his care, but we weren't there and little factors that triggered his response, we'll never know.


He took the guy's gun and shot him in the back of the head while he was running away (at least that's how the article reads). Once you disarm the guy and he is fleeing it becomes difficult to articulate how he is threatening your life.

It is easy to understand, however that you would be really pissed off (understatement) because your kid got shot, but legally that isn't good enough.


Really, shooting people in the back, in cold blood, while on the phone with the police who are urging you not to rocks?



Given the scenario, fuck yes.

But dispatchers are not police and police are not judges. And judges are not juries. And the guy was found innocent.


Cold blood? really?


Is this the audio?


If they do charge him i believe given the circumstances he could easily claim not right of mind, not premeditated, seeing his son get shot hes no longer thinking correctly, right? It makes sense to me.


Thanks HG. And yeah its super awesome if someone was robbing me id be pumped if my neighbors defended my stuff, what are neighbors for? Also nothing about that was in cold blood, they were felons who would have gotten a slap on the wrist. Am i happy someone died, i wouldnt say that but i am happy someone stood up for what is right. Cold blood, really? I bet his hands are dirty but i also bet he has never lost a wink of sleep over it.