Suspected Robber is Shot Dead During Home Invasion in Dallas

The recent fatal shooting of a robbery suspect in a home invasion in North Dallas illustrates how deadly force can be used in Texas to protect property.

The Dallas Morning News reported a robbery suspect was shot and killed late on January 9, 2012 in a “drug-related home invasion in Far North Dallas.”

Police officers responded to an apartment in the 7700 block of McCallum Boulevard about 8:30 p.m. following reports of gunfire in the neighborhood.

A 36-year-old man, who police said a suspect in a robbery, was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body. Police say he was shot dead during a failed robbery, and accomplices with him escaped. The dead man had not been identified at the time, pending notification of his next of kin.

According to a police report a semi-automatic pistol, $2,000 in cash and half a pound of marijuana was recovered from the apartment, leading investigators to surmise the robbery was drug-related.

No arrests were made, but the shooting will be referred to a grand jury, police said.

Under the Texas Penal Code a person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible moving property “to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime,” or to “prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property.”

Texas law has historically allowed deadly force against intruders to protect lives and property. However, in 2007, Texas expanded its “Castle Doctrine” – in some states known as “Stand Your Ground” – to no longer require a duty to retreat if possible when the victim was facing imminent danger from an intruder.

A recent report by the Houston Chronicle found justifiable killings have steadily increased, from 32 statewide in 2006 to 48 in the 2010, pointing to a possible link to the more expansive powers of self defense.

Mick Mickelsen is a nationally recognized criminal trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience defending people charged with white-collar crimes, drug offenses, sex crimes, murder, and other serious state and federal offenses.