On Friday, November 4th, The St. Louis Dispatch reported that a townhouse resident of Lake St. Louis, Missouri, called 911 shortly after 1 A.M. After hearing his car alarm he went outside to confront a man trying to steal his 2009 Volkswagen Passat.
He advised police that shots had been fired and he needed assistance. When officers arrived, they found the Passat about a block away on Quail Meadows Court, where it had crashed into a home.
In the driver’s seat was a 31 year old male from Lake Saint Louis. He had been shot and died at the scene. Officials did not say if he was armed. The homeowner, whose name was not released, was not injured.
Capt. Chris DiGiuseppi said police are investigating how the suspect got there and whether anyone else was involved. They are working to reconstruct the incident to determine whether the shooting was justified.
The investigation will discover if the car thief was in fact armed or had an accomplice with him. If it turns out as it appears that he was unarmed and alone, this could become a tough case for the shooter.
Using deadly force to retain or recover property always invites possible criminal charges as well as a civil lawsuit or two for wrongful death. Everybody understands how unsettling it is to have some criminal steal your stuff. The system is really not fair to the victim of the theft who is limited in his “reasonable” responses.
Most jurisdictions require a threat of serious injury or death as a precursor to use of gunfire. The shooter here can unfortunately expect to spend many times the value of a 2009 Volkswagen in his time and his money before this is put to rest.
Observe, call the cops and take phone video for evidence.