A peeping Tom got more than he bargained for in Harris County, Texas, last week when a mother and father armed with handguns confronted him outside their young daughter’s window.
The girl had told them previously that she saw someone outside her window, but they dismissed her complaints until they found a man, drunk and touching himself, in their yard around 10 pm Sunday, according to local media.
What happened next is a case study in how a situation like this can go from bad to worse.
The armed couple, who both hold licenses to carry concealed firearms, attempted to detain the man after they found him outside. He refused to comply with their order to lie down on the ground and instead walked across the street to a gas station.
Instead of calling the police from their home, the couple, still carrying handguns, followed the man to the gas station. While the husband went inside to ask the clerk to call 911, his wife tried to hold the peeping Tom at gunpoint.
With the husband out of arm’s reach, the suspect wrestled the gun away from the wife and pointed it at her. When the husband emerged from the store and saw what had happened, he fired his weapon and shot the man three times.
The peeping Tom was transported to the hospital in critical but stable condition, according to a media report on June 28.
The case has been referred to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office for a grand jury review. Officials have not released the names of the parties involved.
It is legal in Texas to make a “citizen’s arrest” by detaining someone until police arrive, according to an analysis by a Houston-area outlet. But the arresting party must see the suspect committing a felony or a “breach of the peace,” which would seem to apply in this case.
However, a spokesman for the Houston Police Department recommends keeping tabs on the suspect and leaving the actual arrest to law enforcement. If the suspect is actively putting others in danger, the spokesman said the witness must make a “judgment call.”
This isn’t the first peeping Tom story to come out of Houston in recent weeks. In February, a mom went viral after she was caught on video tackling a man accused of looking into her daughter’s bedroom. Much like the couple in this case, she was trying to keep him from getting away.
“First instinct was just to make sure he didn’t go any further,” Phyllis Pena told local media.