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. Chris Hensley

    He was asked by neighbors to look out for their property, period .They came onto his property. As far as I am concerned (as a victim of two break ins into my home) he couldnt have more justified in his actions. When is this country going to stop defending the criminals and start defending the victims. I am beginnig to feel less and less like a patriot when people who feel that they can make entry into ones home and take what an american has put their sweat, blood and ambition into acquiring and take what they have. Thieves can make entry clean you out of your valuables prized posessions aqnd heirlooms in a matter of minutes because they know how ineffective police are regarding these situations. Primarily because they chose to live a thiefs life instead of that of that of the working man. They dont pay taxes since they obviously dont work and dont want to. I think that pawn shops should be abolished as well. They provide a steady corse of income for thieves and make money off of other peoples misery. Hey Joe have you ever considered moving to Arizona? DONT FORGET YOUR 12 GAUGE.

    June 30, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  2. Robert

    Anderson, i was born and raised in Texas. However, you have more rights as a landowner in Colorado ( have land there ) than in Texas.

    In 1994, i called the police to report crack dealers whom were dealing crack to children 10 an under as well as adults. They would NOT respond to the call what-so-ever. So, i called TWO private investigators, who said they couldn't do anything, because it is a police matter.

    I did take a shotgun and confront them.

    Two weeks later, the dealers came into a truck stop and started threatening me. I pulled a pistol on them.

    Now, here's the kicker! The police charged me with three felony counts of Terroristic Threat. Arrested me three different times, in which i had to bail out three different times.

    After having to move, get a new place to live, pay three times to bail out of jail, pay an attorney $1500 dollars, pay another $1000 for the fine (after plea bargaining).

    This man is extremely fortunate. The criminal has more rights than an upright citizen in that state as well as in too many others. We can't even protect the children!!!

    June 30, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  3. Rory McShane

    pete – you bring up Mr. Horn's consicese, did it ever occur to you that had he not shot the men it would haunt him that he had passed up the opportunity for doing the right thing for the easy thing.

    mokio – If this was al a big conspiracy then why would he have called the police, had he killed them with out calling the police that would have given him greater range in the story he "made up." If your going to be paraniod be better at it.

    June 30, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  4. Jon

    I have two questions: Since Mr. Horn stated to the dispatcher that he's going to kill them, isn't that premeditated murder? Also, Mr. Horn can be heard warning the men that if they move they're dead. Did these guys speak and/or understand English?

    June 30, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  5. hacketack

    Their were no signs that the shooters life was in danger, Deadly force must only be used against Deadly Force. This guyshould face Murder charges or at least Man Slaughter. Texas residents are too gun happy, this shooter, had allready made up his mine to kill these two suspects, and that my friends, is Preimeditated Murder.

    June 30, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  6. y breaux

    He shot these two men in the back. How did he feel threatened by two men who were running away? The 911 call lasted for several minutes., so this is nothing less than premeditated, calculated murder. He was certainly not in any immediate danger- He just wanted to kill these men

    June 30, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  7. Peter McConnell

    Clearly the jury decided he was within his legal right according to Texas law, which represents the will of the people. And it would seem that the people of Texas still believe robbery warrants the death penalty. Pretty extreme. Either the law should be rewritten or criminals should consider the job hazard.

    June 30, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  8. Phil (in IRAQ)

    Absolutely! Two less criminals if you ask me. Crime shouldn’t pay, and in this case it didn’t. If there was more people like Joe Horn criminals would re-think their profession. Good shooting Joe, but I would have taken those criminals out in 2 shots. Your neighbor owes you a beer.

    June 30, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  9. igal e

    i am a business owner in florida .
    if tomorrow , someone going to shoplift in my store – can i chop his hands off ? ? ?
    thats too much to take the law to yourself .
    leave it to the cops . thats why we have law enforcement . . . !

    June 30, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  10. steve

    I live houston. My mother was shot to death gunpoint by a black man trying to steal 50 dollars. He is still at large. I do not condemn Joe Horn.

    June 30, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  11. Kenny

    I think Mr Horn was totally wrong for shooting two men in the back. He had called the police, they told him not to go outside they were on the way. Mr Horn knew the law and he took advantage of that law and got away with murder, but who cares they were just illegals right.

    June 30, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  12. Kimberly

    What has not been discussed is the civil ramifications of Mr. Horn's actions. Although the Grand Jury chose not to indict him, he will probably be sued in civil court by the families of the decedents for wrongful death. He will likely lose everything he owns and be destitute before it is all over. The sadest part of this story is the death of the burglars, but it is also sad that Mr. Horn's neighbor's belongings were probably covered by insurance. Mr. Horn used very poor judgment and will pay in more ways than one.

    Austin, Texas

    June 30, 2008 at 10:59 pm |
  13. John

    Continuing with the last...the founding fathers recognized the 2nd amendment as an individual right for self-defense. Too many times it is only mentioned in terms of hunting. During the course of elections, the 2nd amendment is frequently only referenced in terms of hunting. It is not only about hunting. Similarly, the first amendment is not only about free speech in certain circumstances, but all circumstances. Protection from illegal search and seizures is not just for some searches, but all, etc.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:59 pm |
  14. Wilson

    I think Mr. Horn was quite justified in his actions. WAKE-UP America! It seems that we are just walking around with our heads in the clouds. I think America would be a much safer place if we were all more observant about our surroundings, and held people accountable.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:59 pm |
  15. Donald Granchi

    It sounds like citizen induced capital punnishment for a crime other than murder. Didn't the supreme court just rule that capital punnishment was unconstitutional if the crime did not include taking a life earlier this month in a case which the crime was child rape. So how can it follow that it is legal to shoot 2 people in that back for robbing a neighbors house when it was clear that the shooter's life was not in danger. What happens the next time when the neighbor had given premission for the items to be taken from the house. This will certainly make the repo-man's life more exciting!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:59 pm |
  16. P Hubert

    I hope I am never in a situation like Joe Horn was in. But, if I ever am in that situation, I hope I have the courage to do the right thing. Joe Horn is a shining example of right winning over wrong. The criminals paid the ultimate price for their wrong doing. this part is sad for their friends and families. But, had the two burglars been anywhere else in the world that evening, Joe Horn would not have shot them!

    Joe Horn should recieve a medal. He can move into my neighborhood at his earliest possible convenience.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  17. Dale

    The grand jury who had ALL the facts said he did not commit a crime. I wonder what you, who judge with just a few facts and automatically think that someone who uses a gun is guilty, would do if you thought your family is threatened. Maybe if your lucky a neighbor will have a gun and rescue you. But no, you wouldn't want that, guns are bad.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  18. mary

    I don't believe for one minute that he thought , he was in danger. Sounds like a pretty clear case of premeditated murder. He was on his phone with 911 and law enforcement was on their way. This is a sign to all the people registered to carry hand guns that they can say that they felt threatened and get away with murder. The guys were wrong to break into someone's home, but does that give us the right to be judge, jury and carry out the verdict.. God have mercy on our souls.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  19. Josh Stoner

    To all the people out there who use the argument, "It was just a robbery.", or "no one was in immediate danger." Then if God forbid anyone ever comes to rob your house or you see a robbery in progress, then just go and ask if they need any help. You people need to quit making excuses for others who make poor decisions. Those men were responsible for their own actions, and had to know what they were doing was very dangerous and risky buisness.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:49 pm |
  20. Sonia

    I am deeply sickened in listening to this 911 tape. Mr. Horn sounded as though he was just waiting for an opportunity to shoot someone because he knew he could. If law enforcement has to use equal force, then why don't homeowners. Just because the law may allow it, doesn't mean it's always the right thing to do. They were just taking someone's STUFF! Mr. Horn should have stayed in his home and locked his door and stayed on the phone with the dispatcher. Had they then broke into his home...different story.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:49 pm |
  21. Jaci LeDoux

    How many people are robbed everyday? How many get away with it everyday? How many people are found guilty of robbing your house and get out of prison to do it again and again? How many people never recover items that are handed down through the familes for generations? It is about time the victim has some rights. If you are injured or killed in THE PROCESS OF BREAKING THE LAW so be it. It is an easy fix: DON'T BREAK THE LAW! It works, the crimminals should try it!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:49 pm |
  22. Ken

    He was absolutely justified in shooting two buglars, I would do the same!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:49 pm |
  23. Elscotto

    Thank you Joe Horn. People like you are why criminals should be more nervous and the rest of us less so. Right on brother !!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:49 pm |
  24. John Bangkok

    The USA has more than 2.5 million violent crimes every year. The police are incapable of protecting indviduals. That is a unfortunate fact. These individuals have every right in the world to protect themselves. Criminals should expect die if they commit a violent crime. Too often we hear about the poor criminal that died while commiting a crime. Joe Horn deserves a big thankyou!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  25. Pat Manzione

    Mr. Horn was completely justified in what he did. In fact he should be congradulated for getting involved. The recent Supreme Court decision on the 2nd ammendment also justifies Mr. Horn's action as justifiable!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  26. alan w

    Anderson missed the most important part of Clark's comments. When Clark pointed out that the large squadron that McCain lead was "not a war time squadron". This is clearly an attempt to diminish McCain's military record. That's the comment that offended me. I'm disappointed that Anderson did not point this out on the show when James Carvell said that "there was nothing to apologize for". Come on Anderson, did you even view the entire interview?

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  27. Stacey Guyah

    This is unbelievable! America likes to pride itself on being civil, especially when compared to some non-western countries....but how in a country like this can a grand jury really allow this man to go free!? Lets not pretend that the fact that the victims were illegal aliens did not play a role in the decision. It's appalling, and anyone who played a role in the decision making should feel really ashamed and should take some time examine their motivation for letting this man go free. They may have been illegal aliens and criminals, but they were human who could have been made to pay by other means. This is just wrong any way you take it.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  28. gary

    folks like me watching a few seconds or minutes of selective info about the shooting cannot make a rational judgement about this man's guilt or innocence. That's what juries are for.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  29. teresa harris

    It's about time that someone can protect their own home and that of their neighbors without being punished . I'm really sick of our "justice" system that gives all of the rights to the criminals. It defys common sense. Of COURSE that man was right to do what he did. I wish he was MY neighbor.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  30. Alicia Warfield

    I live in Texas right near Pasadena where this incident occurred. I am horrified that this man has been allowed to take away two individuals lives like they were dogs in the street. I do not condone at all the fact that the men were stealing and they should have been punished, but the punishment they received does not fit the crime. If the situation had been reversed and the man pulling the trigger was Hispanic or Black and the thieves had been white, there is no doubt in my mind that charges would have been brought against the shooter, and it definately would not have taken this long.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  31. K

    Youm know if his neighbors were at home I could understand. But they weren't and he had already called the cops, who were on the way. His words about the change in the law suggests a scary forthought to his actions. He sounded quite happy to go out and use his hunting skills on people.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  32. Laura

    Based on what I heard on the 9-11 tape, Clark had the intention to kill the men regardless of their crime. This was a planned killing – I did not feel there was enough evidence that the 2 men threatened Clark in any manner. In addition, the men were shot in the back – it's a bit hard to threaten someone when you are facing him/her. So, what's next? If anyone is allowed to kill anyone that they feel "threatens" him/her, are we going to allow killing people that go door-to-door selling cookies? What about Jehovah's witnesses? This man almost seemed racist to me – so if a black boy or Hispanic girl is knocking on my neighbor's door or walking in the neighborhood, is shooting them justified if I am white? This decision by the grand jury sickens me because it just feeds the hate in this country and the fear mongers that want to continue the "invisible" segregation in this country. Were the two men innocent? Absolutely not – but did they deserve to die for breaking and entering? If that's the case, then I hope that American teenagers are listening. You might die for that dare.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  33. pamela

    This is an absolute outrage Joe Horn is a murderer.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  34. Shirley P. Garza

    Yes, he was justified. The burglars were in the wrong. They could of killed or hurt some innocent person in the home they were burglarizing. Besides, the police cannot be in ALL places. Citizens need to look out for each other!!

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  35. jeff w

    we have a right to defend ourselves and our property. obviously our police cannot be everywhere to defend us. our government has failed to keep the illegals out so we must take care of ourselves. we just recently had another home invasion in phoenix by former mexican military personnel. not that i would shoot a guy in the back but i wasn't there. solve the illegal immigration problem and we would solve alot of our problems.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  36. Jim

    I think we need more Mr. Horn's in this country. I hope if a neighbor caught some low life breaking into my home they would do the same. Why spend taxpayer money on a trial for a slap on the wrist? And if they are sentenced, we're spending taxpayer funds to keep them.
    People like this have no place in a decent society.

    What if there had been a woman alone in the house they were robbing? How would they have brutalized her after breaking in?

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  37. dave

    God bless the common sense of the state of Texas.

    I wish I had neighbors like Mr. Horn.

    People in this country, reguardless of race, age, religion are just plain tired of being of being victims. The fact that both men shot were already criminals (a.k.a illegally in America) and they were in the commission of another crime seems to have nothing to do with it.

    It saddens me greatly that liberal idiots in America would have let these criminals go on unpunished. The two men in question would have probably escalated into murder and or rape at some point.

    Thank you MR. HORN. You are a true American hero.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  38. Jim Roberts

    Has anyone checked to see what the legislative intent language was when they voted to pass the law. I will bet that they thought If crime had more consequences attached we would certainly have less criminals. It's just human nature.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  39. Jessica

    Thank god I am Canadian.
    Thats all I can say, how can someone take another's life just like that. Could he not of shot them in the legs, anywhere to debilitate them, rather than kill them! This is absolutely disgusting. In no way am I saying stealing is right, it is completely wrong, but how is it legal in a society to make materials more valuable than life. I can't even comprehend the notion of "my property" is more important than life itself. I bet this man is completely against abortion as well.. Oh the hypocrisy.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  40. Allen Jordan

    oh god the race card is so old. yes it is still around, but damn this had nothing to do with it.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  41. scott

    I do believe the man had the right to shoot , do I believe that he could have stopped them without Killing them though, yes I do. Maybe just maybe it will make the next person think before they break into someones house, I don't think he had to waste the third shot though.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  42. tanya flangan

    why bother paying for police forces at all....why not just let everyone fend for themselves...you know, eye for an eye kind of stuff... i wonder how that would work??

    June 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  43. ANGEL

    Mr. Horn just took this as an opportunity to try the new law that had been put in place and abused what the law was meant to enforce. He'd been waiting for the opportunity and he got away with cold blooded murder.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  44. S Walker

    Crime is a deadly occupation......

    June 30, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  45. Kosta Nikolopoulos

    No, it was not justified. He himself said they came out with a bag of something. A bag! What could possibly be so valuable in that bag that the two men deserved death. Jewellery? A video game? A movie? Let them have it! Who does he think he is? What does he think gives him the right to take a human life? He was given fair warning not to shoot, and it's common sense. He could have simply tried to scare them with a gun, but even that is ridiculous. I'm a fourteen year old Greek-Canadian and I know better.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  46. Melissa Cox

    While I believe in the right to bear arms, I also believe in the right for local and federal governments to restrain the use of those arms. What Mr. Horn should have done was enact "citizens arrest" and held them at gunpoint until the police showed up. That way, justice would have been served without anyone being killed.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  47. Jimmie L. Bailey

    Joe Horn is definitely a hero. He was protecting his neighbors property and he did a good job. Every red blooded American should wish for a neighbor like Joe Horn. Thank You Joe Horn. I only wish you were my neighbor.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  48. laney

    I totally agree with Pete

    June 30, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  49. Monroe from Texas

    The 911 tape shows that he had a clear intention to kill the men regardless of the threat they posed. He may have gotten off due to an atrocious Texas law, but what he did was morally reprehensible. I believe the law needs to be changed to ensure that deadly force can only be used for self-defense.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  50. Kurtis

    I totally support Mr. Horn's choice to fire. He wouldn't have been indicted if he were dead. Also these guys robbed his neighbors house. If I was his neighbor I would have to thank him because where I come from your neighbor could see a stranger raping your sister and might not even talk to the police. So i think he did the right thing and I'd live next door to him any day

    June 30, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
1 2 3 4 5