Shootings Test Limits Of New Self Defense Law By Ralph Blumenthal
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The article “Shootings Test Limits of New Self-Defense Law” by Ralph Blumenthal tells the story of Joe Horn, a man in Texas, who shot two men in what he claimed was self-defense under the recently instated “castle doctrine.” On November 14, 2007, Joe Horn, a sixty-one year old retired man, was at home when he saw two people breaking into his neighbors’ house. Horn then called 911 and retrieved his shotgun. While on the phone with the emergency operator, Horn was told to stay inside and wait for police, but when he saw the two men leaving he ignored the instructions and went to chase them. During the 911 call, the sound of a shotgun being cocked can be heard before Horn shouts, “Move, you’re dead,” and three shots ring out. The two burglars were illegal immigrants from Colombia, Hernando Torres, age thirty-eight, and Diego Ortiz, age thirty. They left the house with a pillowcase containing jewelry and approximately $2000 in cash. A plainclothes officer arrived just in time to see the three men facing off across Horn’s lawn, and soon both of the burglars were dead. Torres’s body was across the street in the yard of a Pasadena police officer and Ortiz fell onto a neighbor’s lawn, leaving bloodstains on the sidewalk.
Following the shooting, there were protests in the neighborhood, some celebrating Horn and some condemning him. Horn claimed his actions were done in self-defense under the “castle doctrine” that says Texans do not have to retreat before using deadly force at