Store Owner Shot in Shoulder After Firing at Officer He Mistook for Burglar

Store Owner Shot in Shoulder After Firing at Officer He Mistook for Burglar

A business owner in Harris County, TX was alerted to a burglary at his business via a video feed he had access to at his residence. He called the police and headed to his store.

When he arrived he didn’t realize that an officer was already on location and mistook that officer for the burglar and opened fire on him. The office returned fire striking the owner in the shoulder. He was reported to be in stable condition and is expected to recover. The officer was not injured.

It probably didn’t help that the owner was dressed similar to the description of the suspected burglar.

The store had been broken into multiple times in the past so perhaps that played into the owner’s response that night.

Thankfully no one was seriously injured but what can be learned from this?

Perhaps the most foundational lesson is to remember that your lawfully carried firearm is for personal defense only. It is never okay to use it to protect property. Yes, this is Texas and the use of deadly force to protect property is technically legal after dark but that is not the only condition. But even if you fully understand that law and do everything correctly you can plan on having to deal with the justice system and paying a lawyer possibly way more than the value of anything that could have been stolen, especially if someone is killed.

Shooting at someone just because you think they are a thief is not going to play well in the court system unless you can articulate that they were also an imminent deadly force threat to you at that moment. Shooting at a police officer because you’ve mistaken them for a burglar….?  Probably not good either.

To give this business owner the benefit of the doubt though, the officer did roll up dark as is policy when responding to a burglary. Still, know your target and only use your gun to protect your life: not to stop a thief.

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Mark Ehlen is a USCCA certified firearms instructor, a MN DNR Firearms Safety instructor, high school trap shooting coach and a writer. As one of his uncles ran Federal Cartridge Corp for many years and his father retired from there, firearms and ammo are second nature to him. His firearms instruction is aimed at helping new shooters have a positive experience as well as understanding the practical and legal side of concealed carry. Mark can be reached at Marksmanship Firearms Training.
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Yes, definitely several mistakes were made on the part of the store owner. And I would never shoot at someone I believed was stealing my property.

That said, someone in my home stealing my property is an entirely different story.

I would shoot them, not to protect my property, but because they have dared to entire my home, placing the lives of my family and myself in imminent danger.