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Houston Chronicle
Dec. 8, 2007, 12:38AM

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5362232.html

Pasadena police say Horn shot 2 men in the back
Both men were hit by shotgun blasts after entering Joe Horn's front yard

By CINDY HORSWELL and ROBERT STANTON

The two burglary suspects killed by Pasadena homeowner Joe Horn were shot in the back after they ventured into his front yard, police disclosed Friday.

In another twist, investigators revealed that a plainclothes Pasadena detective witnessed the Nov. 14 shootings after he pulled up in an unmarked car seconds before Horn fired three shots from his 12-gauge shotgun.

The men, who had just burglarized Horn's neighbor's house, faced him from seven to 10 feet away when they ignored his order to "not move"or they would be dead, police said.

The controversial shootings have outraged minority activists but also brought an outpouring of support for Horn.

"We now have a summary documenting what we think happened," said Capt. A.H. "Bud" Corbett. "We will turn it over to the district attorney in a couple of weeks after we do an extensive review for quality control."

The district attorney will then present the case to a grand jury to determine if any charges should be filed against Horn, 61, a computer consultant, who has claimed self-defense.

The two men - Diego Ortiz, 30, and Hernando Riascos Torres, 48 - collapsed and died not far from Horn's home on Timberline in a Pasadena neighborhood.

Both were illegal immigrants from Colombia, authorities said. Torres had been deported to Colombia in 1999 after serving time for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Both were also using fake identification cards and aliases, and their backgrounds are now being scrutinized by federal authorities to determine if they were part of a Colombian fake ID and burglary ring, authorities said.

On Friday, Corbett described the shooting scenario that had been pieced together so far.

According to a transcript of Horn's 911 call, at 2 p.m., he became concerned that his next- door neighbor's home was being burglarized after hearing some glass break.

The dispatcher repeatedly urges Horn to stay in his house but Horn states that he doesn't feel it's right to let the burglars get away.

"Well, here it goes, buddy," Horn tells the dispatcher. "You hear the shotgun clicking and I'm going."

The dispatcher replies: "Don't go outside."

Then the tape records Horn warning someone: "Move and you're dead!" Two quick shots can be heard, followed by a pause and then a third shot.

Corbett said the plainclothes detective, whose name has not been released, had parked in front of Horn's house in response to the 911 call. He saw the men between Horn's house and his neighbor's before they crossed into Horn's front yard.

Corbett believes neither Horn nor the men knew a police officer was present.

"It was over within seconds. The detective never had time to say anything before the shots were fired," Corbett said. "At first, the officer was assessing the situation. Then he was worried Horn might mistake him for the 'wheel man' (get-away driver). He ducked at one point."

When Horn confronted the suspects in his yard, he raised his shotgun to his shoulder, Corbett said. However the men ignored his order to freeze.

Corbett said one man ran toward Horn, but had angled away from him toward the street when he was shot in the back just before reaching the curb.

"The detective confirmed that this suspect was actually closer to Horn after he initiated his run than at the time when first confronted," said Corbett. "Horn said he felt in jeopardy."

Autopsy report

The wounded man crossed the street, collapsed and died, authorities said. At the same time, the other man had turned and ran away from Horn.
Horn swung his shotgun around after shooting the first man and fired at the second one after he entered the neighbor's yard, investigators said.

He was hit in the back but continued running until collapsing a few hundred yards down the street, Corbett said.

According to a final ruling, Ortiz died of shotgun wounds to his neck and torso, said Ellie Wallace, an investigator at the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office.

The report said that Torres died of shotgun wounds to his torso and upper left extremity.

Wallace could not confirm whether the men were shot in the back, saying the autopsy report only indicated they were shot in the torso.

Neither suspect was armed, but one had a "center punch," a 6-inch pointed metal tool, in his pocket that might be used as a weapon, authorities said.

Also, they were carrying a sack filled with more than $2,000 in cash and assorted jewelry believed taken in the burglary, police said.

Self-defense claim

Investigators believe a third person may have driven the men from Houston to the Pasadena neighborhood. Police could find no vehicle belonging to the pair parked in the area.
On the 911 tape, Horn mentioned a new state law that allows residents to protect their own home from intruders.

"This case is a little different," Corbett said. "We'll have to let the grand jury sort this one out."

Horn's attorney, Charles T. Lambright, said his client fired in self-defense because he feared for his life.

"One of them (suspects) moved and Joe thought he was coming towards him," Lambright said. "They were in such close proximity (to Horn) that they could be on top of him in half a second."

The fact that a police officer witnessed the shooting but did not arrest Horn is further evidence that he acted in self-defense, he said.

"You've got a trained police officer sitting there watching this, and he doesn't arrest Horn," Lambright said. "If the (plainclothes) officer thought it was not a righteous shooting, maybe the Pasadena Police Department would have arrested Mr. Horn for murder."

Civil rights activist Quanell X said he would step up the call for a murder indictment against Horn, and questioned whether the Pasadena police should investigate the case.

Quanell X said the shooting should be handled instead by the Texas Rangers and the FBI.

"I don't trust the Pasadena Police Department," he said. "Why are they just now releasing the fact that an undercover officer witnessed the whole thing? This case stinks."

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I would expect to see conflicting news reports in an effort to taint the jury pool. I don't know exactly what happened but I doubt I would have shot anyone for a break in at my nieghbors house. If the police officer had acted we might not be discussing this situation.
 

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topmaul said:
I would expect to see conflicting news reports in an effort to taint the jury pool. I don't know exactly what happened but I doubt I would have shot anyone for a break in at my nieghbors house. If the police officer had acted we might not be discussing this situation.
That is probably the strongest thing he has going for him, and his attorney has already pounced on it.
The LEO was right there and didn't arrest. That will go a long way in getting him clear. It might not go all the way, but expect the attorney to beat that drum all day.
Combine it with the info regarding the two trolls possibly being Columbian gangsters and you've just generated a lot of sympathy in an area that is more than fed up with Katristas and all the crime they brough in. And Houston (and its suburbs) have never been real tolerant of thugs.
 

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Said it once, said it twice, God Bless Mr. Horn for cleaning up our society two scumbags at a time!! May they rott in hell and deport their sorry exsistence of a body back to that POS country of columbia!!
 

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I still don't have a problem with what Mr. Horn did. Burglery is a risky business. I hate to see this situation get divided along racial lines. But so many minorities are so two faced about this type of thing they just refuse to be objective at all. If Mr. Horn was black and the criminals white Quanell X and his people would back Mr. Horn all they way. And sadly that is true and they can't see why that would be the wrong thing to do. As for the police i doubt if they care at all they probley see this as just two less criminals to deal with.
 

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I AM A DEPUTY SHERIFF IN VIRGINIA AND I SAY GOOD JOB TO MR. HORN I WISH HE WAS MY NEIGHBOR. I`TS TIME PEOPLE WOKE UP AND REALIZED OUR COUNTRY IS UNDER SEIGE,SO THEY WERE ILLEGAL,SO WHAT THEY WERE ALREADY BREAKING THE LAW BY BEING IN THIS COUNTRY ANY WAY. I SEE IT EVERY DAY WHILE I`M ON DUTY AND IT DISGUST ME HOW ILLEGALS THINK THEY ARE ENTITLED TO WHAT EVER THEY WANT. THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE IN THIS COUNTRY AND IF THEY GET KILLED IN THE COMMISION OF A CRIME I DO NOT CARE! TO ALL THE BLEEDING HEARTS OUT THERE I SAY WHEN THEY BREAK INTO YOUR HOME DO NOT CALL ME!
 

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hmmmm...

Criminal ILLEGALS caught in a CRIME, didn't stop when told to by neighbor with shotgun pointed at them, died from resulting shots.

Only question remaining is "did Mr. Horn give his warnings bilingually?"

Q. How can you have a crime against anyone that is in this country illegally? They are not SUPPOSE to have any rights.

Horn is one lucky fellow to have that Detective witness.
 

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oregonshooter said:
hmmmm...

Only question remaining is "did Mr. Horn give his warnings bilingually?"
if it was in California it would have to be given in all 27 languages the DMV allows tests to be taken in but then again the international sound for "get your azz on the ground" is a shotgun racking a round..isn't it?

:edit: it is actually 31 languages AND 11 audio (for those of you who can't read your native language) CADMV [/endrant]
 

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dead_plant said:
oregonshooter said:
hmmmm...

Only question remaining is "did Mr. Horn give his warnings bilingually?"
if it was in California it would have to be given in all 27 languages the DMV allows tests to be taken in but then again the international sound for "get your azz on the ground" is a shotgun racking a round..isn't it?
I was just thinking that they probably understood shotgun.... :wink:
 
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