An unidentified young man was shot and killed this morning in what appears to be a case of self defense during a home burglary.
Sheriff Michael Lindsey Ray said on Tuesday that a homeowner living in the precinct 2 area of the county woke up during the early morning to find a man breaking into his pickup truck in the front yard.
Ray said the homeowner grabbed a rifle and approached the burglar, planning to hold the man at gun point until deputies arrived. The home owner said at the time he noticed a Dodge truck with a flatbed trailer and assumed it belonged to the burglar. Within minutes the burglar attempted to flee, and the homeowner fire shots in his direction.
The home owner told investigators he was worried the man would escape because the keys were in the ignition and his pickup was running, so the home owner attempted to turn off the truck and remove the keys. While his back was turned, the burglar returned, a struggle ensued and the burglar managed to dis-arm the home-owner. At that point the burglar began holding him at gun point.
Somehow the struggle caused the home owner's son to wake up, notice what was going on and begin fearing for his father's life. The son then shot and killed the burglar.
"We are a nation of laws," Sheriff Ray said. "Our law protects the law abiding citizens of our nation. It is unfortunate that a young man had to die this morning in our community because of a bad decision he made to violate the rights of a law abiding citizen. This Sheriff's Office will always support the law abiding citizens of this community when they are proactively protecting their lives, liberty and property, especially during a lawful use of force situation.
The investigation is being handed over to the Van Zandt County District Attorney's Office. No charges have been filed. Investigators are asking people throughout Van Zandt County to be on the look-out for thieves who might be engaging in rural burglaries and thefts.