June 30th, 2008
09:28 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Justified Killings?

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer
Do you remember this man?  Joe Horn shot and killed two men back in November who broke into his neighbor's house. He called 911 to report the buglary happening in daylight - right next door. The 911 dispatcher told him NOT to fire his shotgun.  But Horn did.  He shot the two men in the back. Today a Texas grand jury made a decision in the case that may lead to more protests and rallies in front of the house where the shootings took place.  We'd love to know what you think? Do you believe the killings were justified or not?

Tonight, there are also several developments on the campaign trail. We've got the fallout from Retired Gen. Wesley Clark's comments over the weekend on John McCain. His message: "I don't think riding a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification for being president." Did he go too far?

We're also looking at the phone chat today between Barack & Bill. The two have finally spoken one-on-one. How important is Bill Clinton to the Obama campaign? Do you think he can help or hurt the ticket?

Also tonight, the politics of fear. The McCain camp is talking up the possibility of a terror attack next year. Are they crossing the line? We'll take an up close look.

All that and much more tonight at 10pm ET.
Hope you'll join us.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. Jarrett Bumgarner

    I think our country is getting too soft on our rights to use force to protect ourselves, or our neighbors. In the old days, a matter such as this would never be as big a deal as some people make it now. It comes down to common sense; you commit a crime; you better be prepared for any consequences that may occur.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  2. marc

    How crazy is this law? What year is this when a man can kill people at will and get away with it? Maybe it's the Californian in me talking, but this is absurd! Why do we have a police force trained to shoot as a last resort if the untrained common man can kill based on a feeling?

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  3. Morrison Gray

    How can someone claim they were in danger, if the victims were shot in the back? The fact that the victims were illegal immigrants, doesn't make it any easier to get justice. There's justice, and then there's "Just Us"

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  4. carol

    Re: John Horn

    It's this tragic display of injustice that makes me ashamed to be a Texan. He had no right to take these lives, my God, he shot them in the back!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  5. Louis D. LoPresti

    Hasn't it occured to anyone that no one is blogging on this one because it is patently offensive? Please.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  6. Doug Blaker

    Chalk one up for the good guy!!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  7. Jackson Wagner

    He was protecting his neighbour's property as well as himself. The law in Texas is that you can use leathal force if you are threatened on your property. I agree with Horn's actions.
    Kill or be killed.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  8. Kevin B

    This is ridiculos! This gun-tooting hillbilly should be thrown in jail. Can anyone argue that this is justified. He went after them and shoot them in the back. MURDER!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  9. Mike Gess

    This was definitly justified. Has nothing to do with Race. I have a 1 year old child at home and if somebody comes to my residence to cause harm you better beileve I'll protect my family in any way possible and make sure they don't come back

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  10. Chico Powell

    He shot them in the BACK...c'mon!!!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  11. Colleen Driscoll

    I feel he had every right to protect himself and his neighbors. He and his neighbor were the victims, not the illegal immigrants that were stealing and trespassing.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  12. James

    Joe did the right thing. If you are going to break the law you deserve the consequences of those actions.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  13. Carlos from illinois

    This is a crying shame. Perhaps this guy should stay in his house for the rest of his life. If he steps into my yard, I'm gonna let 'em fly.....

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  14. mark

    He is an honest man, he couldn't let something wrong happen.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  15. gerry

    I wish we had that inAustralia
    The law is an ass there

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  16. mark hoover

    I think it is time to rid the streets of people who threaten the security of a neighborhood. God Bless Texas! if we had more justice like this we may rid our country of the errogance and escalation of aggresive criminals.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  17. Tom

    The media should spend as much time talking about the burgarlars and the fact that while this grandfather is lucky to escape unharmed, he's no criminal. Glad it didnt turn out like Bernie Getz in NYC. God Bless Texas.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  18. Tony from Valparaiso In

    Joe horn did the right thing and so would I.
    Criminals need to get the message because law enforcement & government can't get it through to them.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  19. Alan from Houston

    Fortunate or not, anyone that lives in Houston or Harris County knows full well that if you are breaking into a residence that you might encounter lethal force. The jurors here live up to that stance.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  20. Sean B

    The castle doctrine allows people to use lethal force to protect their property, and in texas the property of others. In many states the castle doctrine laws bars wrongful death or damages suits against people defending their properties.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  21. Jimmy

    Were the two men illegal aliens? I guess I better tell my neighbor he can shoot anyone burglarizing my house.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  22. Bill Reichart

    I think due process was accomplished. A grand jury found no evidence for an indictment, therefore we must lay this issue to rest.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  23. Brad

    I believe he was justified, although a simple shot in the leg would have sufficed instead of killing them.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  24. timothy

    need more people like him
    thank god he lived in Texas
    otherwise things might be different

    wow just heard they were illegals !!!!!!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  25. Keithley, Tampa, FL

    I don't think the killings were justified, this ruling will lead to many more people getting shot off what people percieve, and as the death penalty has shown us, no one is a 100%.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  26. BigSherm7

    I wonder if the GJ would have indicted if the deceased had been two white boys, sons of a prominent Texas citizen? Hmmmmmmmmmmnnnnn

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  27. Jason B

    Joe Horn belongs in jail for murder

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  28. RJK

    2 less bad people in the world and hundreds of innocent victims spared being robbed or even worse...

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  29. Adrian Oden

    He was justified in killing these criminals. If they came across as threatning to him he had every right to shoot them. He also gave them fair warning not to run untill the police arrived and they chose to flee.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  30. Heidi

    Should he have killed? Probably not, especially not in the back. Should they have broken in? Definitely not. Why are we more concerned about criminals' rights than honest people's rights?

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  31. Darryl - FL

    At what point was he in danger? Shooting people just to make a point is unhumane.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  32. Drake

    Yes, I believe that he did the right thing. If that would have been myself i would have done the same thing! He was protecting the neighbors house! GET over it they shoudn't have been stealing!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  33. Figo

    The old man was looking to shot someone. Should have been convicted of murder.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  34. David Costanzo

    I am sick and tired of the public and the legal system constantly erring on the side of the criminal. What this man did was brave and admirable. No more ACLU nonsense defending criminal activity and trying to convince America to give rights to law breakers and strip the right to defense from the rest of us that abide by the law.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  35. murray

    Do you really want to waste time on this crap when our country is in such bad shape.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  36. Alejandro

    I am very pleased with the outcome of the hearing. I am glad that somone actually used a kind of force that needs to be dusted off and be made more available to the media more often.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  37. Jatovi, NC

    This is not a "justified killing," this was a taped pre-meditated murder. There is no possible way you can justify what this man has done. He shot two people on someone else's lawn. They had not approached him. Even on the phone you only heard Horne's gun, the other two had nothing. The two guys were shot in the back, so how can you say he was being threatened. Like I said this is just plain murder.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  38. Chris Wright

    I think he did the right thing, man. I'd do the same thing.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  39. Mark in Merritt Island, FL

    COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED!! This is a fantastic example of what SHOULD BE DONE to these CRIMINALS!!! Stealing my or my neighbors stuff? Blam Blam your dead!!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  40. Markeith, Madison, Wisconsin

    first oj now horn sad

    June 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  41. Swayze

    Horn is a true American, I would have done the same thing.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  42. Kat

    I don't think he was justified. He went out there looking to harm someone.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  43. Stephan M

    He did the right thing. End of story.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  44. GF

    I think what Mr. Horn did was right in shooting the two burglars. They were committing a crime and even though it wasn't his house but his neighbors, he had the right to defend it. One of the two burglars already was in trouble with cocaine dealings and on top of that – both of them were illegals so obviously they don't have any regard for our laws. Too bad for the burglars they paid with their life for their criminal acts.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:38 pm |
  45. Moiko

    What when I think about it, it sounds like a set up to me. Of course, you sit by the door and watch your neighbors house, just in case robbers come – You conveniently have a weapon, loaded and ready. Just to cover your rear end you call 911 then you go shoot. From the sound of the call and the sound of the activity, it all sounded fake. How can he have a phone to his ear, and go run and catch these men, we didn't hear them say a word. I could have been a hit. They could have already been dead, and it could have been a set up. Come by, get this stuff, then you shoot them in the back. I don't buy this story at all. If these guys were criminals, they still had the right to a fair trial. We never heard their side of the story, did we.

    This is all to familiar to me, its the American way indeed. I thought those days were long gone. They must have been Black.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  46. pete

    the blood of those he murdered is going to hunt him for the rest of his life.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:22 pm |
  47. Moiko

    The man was in the mood for a killing, so that is what he did. Sounds like a lynching. He was judge, jury, and elocutionist. Is that still the American way?

    June 30, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  48. Tracy

    I think he was wrong for shooting those men, he was right when he called 911, after he was told not to shoot them and when he did, he crossed the line. I feel the only way shooting them was justifiable was if they were threatening his life in any way and it doesn't appear that was the case. No if, ands or buts about it, he was wrong and he needs to pay for what he did.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:08 pm |
  49. Rebecca A

    Although I think Clark's comment was a little distasteful, it is not entirely incorrect. I would never question Mr McCain's patriotism or love of his country. He should be admired for his service to his country and we should be grateful to ALL service men and women past and present. However, his comment has some truth to it. Being in the military and serving the country although admirable, DOESN'T make anyone qualified for the office of President of the United States. What makes a person qualified is their ability to make good decisions regardless of outside pressure from corporations and lobbyists. Intelligence as well as common sense. Strength of convictions as well as ability to admit mistakes and willingness to listen to those who know more than you do.

    June 30, 2008 at 9:53 pm |
  50. Annie Kate

    I thought the acid test for shooting someone in your house was if you felt like your life was in imminent danger – shooting them in the back doesn't sound like the shooter was in imminent danger.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    June 30, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
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