Homeowner Fatally Shoots Suspected Thief Sitting In His Car

Authors Defensive Use of Firearms Home Defense Kimber Pearce This Week
Police vehicles and ambulance on scene of shooting at an apartment complex
A homeowner shot a man when he left his home and found the stranger sitting in his car. (Photo: KENS5)

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

A San Antonio homeowner fatally shot a man earlier this week when he found the stranger sitting in his car.

A Strange Man Sitting In His Car

According to KENS5, the homeowner was leaving his apartment complex, and heading off to work. He told police he saw a stranger sitting in his car with a light on.

The homeowner, worried that his car was being stolen, and, as is legal in Texas, shot the suspect.

The bullets went through the window of the car and hit the suspect. The alleged car thief, identified as 37-year-old Juan Castaneda, got out of the car.

Emergency personnel responding to crime scene with bright lights and ambulence
Emergency personnel responded to the scene around 4 a.m. on Tuesday morning. (Photo: KENS5)

Castaneda ran towards another apartment, which is, according to a report from KSAT, “Where he collapsed and died.”

Police received a report of shots fired around 3:50 a.m. and arrived on the scene to find the dead suspect. A picture from KSAT shows the four bullet holes in the windshield of the vehicle.

homeowner shot thief sitting in his car, the car now has bullet holes in the windshield
The shooting left four bullet holes in the homeowner’s SUV. (Photo: KSAT)

Multiple Disturbances

Neighbors in the apartment complex woke up from the gunshots.

“Right before 4 a.m., I heard what sounded like firecrackers, and then about ten minutes later, there was nothing but sirens,” one unidentified neighbor said.

“When I came outside, they were already roping off the area. Overheard them saying something about blood splatter,” he added.

concerned neighbor discussing crime in San Antonio neighborhood
Neighbors expressed concern about the rise in crime lately. (Photo: KENS5)

Others brought up how there have been multiple car thefts in the area recently.

“Sometimes the cars get off left on blocks or take their wheels or whatever,” Jerry Bernal said, “but that’s just about mostly thefts.”

The community has seen a significant rise in crime in their neighborhood lately. 

READ MORE: Homeowner Shoots Man With Stolen Chainsaw, Death Ruled Self-Defense

The homeowner, whose identity has not been released, cooperated with police. Investigations continue to be underway.

Other than Castaneda, no one else was injured, although a window in the apartment complex gained a new hole.

Texas self-defense laws allow for shooting if property is being stolen at night. It would track that a Texas homeowner has a similar right to shoot a stranger he finds sitting in his car.

The homeowner is not currently facing any charges. 

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  • OldGuy March 13, 2024, 1:53 pm

    Sometimes, the best choices are tough to identify.
    Some of the consequences of shooting a burglar inside your privately owned vehicle:
    * open a new auto insurance claim subject to your policy’s deductible
    * new windshield due to broken glass from four bulletholes
    * new dashboard due to one bullethole
    * new passenger bucketseat or full benchseat due to four bullet holes
    * new interior carpet due to bloodstained carpet
    * new headliner due to bloodsplatter
    * undercarriage repair due to exiting of four bullets
    * late to work
    * dealing with local police including being the subject of their investigation
    * rental automobile expense while auto insurance company sorts out your claim
    * the possibility of being the subject of a frivolous lawsuit from the deceased burglar’s family
    * reaching a fair market settlement with your auto insurance company
    * is the vehicle a total loss or is the vehicle repairable?
    * locating and buying a suitable replacement vehicle
    * registering the replacement vehicle
    * paying taxes and fees on the replacement vehicle
    Was the end result worth the effort?
    * having your name and address published by the media
    Sometimes, auto theft alarms are worth their weight in gold.

    • Mack Bolan March 29, 2024, 8:11 pm

      I doubt the insurance company will pay out. The owner inflicted the damage, regardless of circumstances. If your vehicle is damaged or destroyed in war it is not covered. When the far left Democrat supported communist revolutionaries of ANTIFA and BLM go on one of their rampages and your vehicle is smashed or burned by them, it likely will not be covered either.

      Do I have any sympathy for the perp (99% guarantee that he was black or Hispanic)? Nope.

      A modern vehicle cannot be hot wired as in all Hollywood movies, so how does the perp start it and get away (just wondering – not implying anything)? Knowing that, I would stand in front of the vehicle, aim my 10mm’s (my regular M&P model, not the Performance Center one since the police might take it with them as evidence after a shooting) red laser at his right eye (likely the dominant one) and ask him if he wants to die or perhaps surrender to the police (when they finally can show up). Tell him John Wick is my cousin (the perp is guaranteed to be too stupid to know that can’t be true) and I train with him.

  • OldGuy March 13, 2024, 1:06 pm

    So to ensure his safety, the thief should have waited for sunrise?

    • Mack Bolan March 29, 2024, 8:13 pm

      As a side not to this, as written about 4000 years ago by Moses:

      “If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.” (Exodus 22:2-3).

  • Joe Here March 11, 2024, 8:21 am

    Can you imagine how much less theft and stealing we’d have if we were allowed to use deadly force to protect property in the other 49 states? The threat of getting shot is a wonderful deterrent.

    • LJ March 12, 2024, 8:17 am

      Can you imagine how much less crime in general we would have if our soft-on-crime judicial system did their jobs, like closing the ‘revolving door’ justice system and locking up perpetrators to begin with? This is what happens when you defund the police. Citizens end up having to take the law into their own hands.

  • Bob W March 8, 2024, 10:42 am

    Just because he could don’t mean he had to. Couldn’t he just say hey asshole get the **** out of my car before killing him.

    • Hondo March 8, 2024, 4:52 pm

      Biden’s America, people are tired of being victimized by criminal democrats, yeah I know it’s redundant cause they’re are one and the same, elections have consequences, get off your asses and vote these clown out.

      • Hondo March 8, 2024, 5:07 pm

        Proof reading before sending didn’t happen, sorry.

    • Patrick March 8, 2024, 5:36 pm

      We used to hang horse thieves and cattle rustlers in Texas. The thief sitting in the car had broken into a locked vehicle with the intention of stealing property in the vehicle or stealing the vehicle. The thief in the vehicle could have been armed. You don’t want to get killed sitting in someone else’s vehicle, don’t do stupid shit like breaking into a locked vehicle. This guy got 4 bullet holes through the front windshield. Moral of the story. Don’t do stupid shit like this in Texas where most law abiding citizens conceal carry and own lots of firearms. We have a right to protect our property and use lethal force at night.

  • Responsible gun owner March 8, 2024, 8:24 am

    No…this ain’t good and will lead to needless death…guns are not for us to be judge jury and executioner when our or others lived are not in immediate danger. Call the police sit and maintain surveilance from a safe distance until police arrive…at some point someone is going to make a biased mistake and kill an innocent person who “looks” like a criminal to them. This is not being responsible…this is vigilantism sanctioned by Texas. Property can he returned or restored…people who have been killed can’t.

    • Beckaroo March 8, 2024, 11:13 am

      This Texas law has been in effect for a good time now and so far I don’t know of anyone who’s wrongly shot an innocent person. On the other hand it’s allowed many people protect their hard owned property as every citizen should have the right to do. How is somebody sitting in your car in the middle of the night and innocent person?? How are you supposed to sit and wait for police while the bad guy drives away in your car? As a former LEO I can assure you that in most cases the police’s response time is such that the criminal is long gone by the time they arrive. The chances of a stolen vehicle being recovered are low, the odds of it being recovered in any kind of usable condition are almost infinitesimal.

      • Common sense conservative March 8, 2024, 12:21 pm

        I never said this guy was innocent. I said the possibility for a person to be mistaken is significant…as a former leo I would think you understand theft does not warrant death by gun…and you would also appreciate people have the means to track their vehicles or remotely these days if stolen or that you can observe and follow from a distance until the police can take over if you suspect vehicle theft. And police response times can be enhanced with better patrol zone accountability and coverage and threat call response prioritizement by dispatch. All of which are examples of how a regular possibly untrained citizen could avoid having to engage in a gun use scenario..and nevermind the errant shot that went thru a neighbors window…a bystander could’ve got hurt over a car.

        • Beckaroo March 8, 2024, 2:20 pm

          Most people don’t have the ability to jump into another vehicle and chase down a car thief. Not to mention, statistically, you’re far more likely to be involved in an accident or injured or killed by the person you’re chasing than you would be engaging the bad guy in your driveway.

          I don’t know what you drive but my car can’t be tracked remotely nor can most of the cars on the road. You might as well wish upon the magic police fairy to improve response time as suggesting the things you listed. Police departments run on ragged edge of their budget as it is so there’s money to invest in anything. The public routinely shoot down every LE budget increase as they come up. Everyone wants more from their police, fire and EMS but they don’t want to have to pay more to get it. It’s been this way since I started in mid 90’s.

          You’re assuming the average citizen isn’t smart enough to tell whether the person they are shooting is stealing their property or not and I’m assuming they are. I’d rather have Joe Public have the right to defend his self and his property when needed than to tell them they just need to let it happen and the police will try to clean up afterwards. Criminals have been empowered in this country and people are brainwashed into thinking that that’s ok as long as nobody gets hurt. It’s a statistical fact that as the number of armed citizens increases, crime decreases. A lot of people in this country can’t come back from the loss of a vehicle because they can’t afford to replace it. If they are lucky enough to have full coverage insurance the payout is significantly less than the value of the car and results in much higher insurance premiums for the next several years. So, yes, I definitely support the right for citizens to protect their lives and their property and if that requires deadly force then it’s unfortunate that the bad guy made that choice. I’m far less worried about a shot missing, it’s an extremely rare occasion that one actually hits someone, than I am of that bad guy still being willing to do bad guy stuff while know they may be shot and killed in the process. Which is more dangerous, the bad guy or some possibility that something bad may happen to some person in some random situation.

  • James Richards March 8, 2024, 8:19 am

    He has not been charged, as it should be! Anyone Stealing or about to Steal property has declared the Property is Worth More than Their Life.

  • LJ March 8, 2024, 7:39 am

    Criminals beware – there’s a new sheriff in town, and the name is ‘John Q Public’. John is growing weary of being a victim and just liable to end your reign of terror.

  • Tarheel March 8, 2024, 7:31 am

    Good for Texas, if more states inacted laws like this the level of crimes would drop with the added benefit of those that insist on continuing their crime sprees, they are in fact a waste of oxygen adding nothing to the benefit of society and the inherent court and incarceration cost they continually add.

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