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July 1st, 2008
09:29 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Hero or Vigilante?

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight, we're taking another look at the controversial actions of Joe Horn. Back in November, the Texas man shot to death two men robbing his next door neighbor's house. That's even after a 911 dispatcher told him not to do it. Yesterday, as we told you on 360, a grand jury said Horn should NOT be prosecuted. They said he broke no laws. Yet, the legal decision has our nation divded ( just check out the reaction to this story in last night's Evening Buzz). Could this case set a dangerous precedent as some fear? We'll be looking at that tonight on 360.

Also, breaking news – manhunt over.
The search for a man suspected of killing at least 8 people over the last several days in Illinois and Missouri has ended. The victims included a child and a 93-year-old man. Tonight, we're on the scene with the latest developments. We're also looking at what would drive someone to go on a killing spree.

And, left for dead. A woman collapses in a hospital waiting room and what happens next?
Nothing. OK, well, not quite nothing. Almost everything that does happen, will make your blood boil. We're keeping them honest.

All that and more tonight on 360.
Hope you'll join us at 10pm ET.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. Brenda in Plano

    I have lived in Texas for the past seven years. Since then we have had two cars broken into, a lawnmower stolen, tools and bicycles taken right out of our garage. Several of our neighbors have suffered the same. Maybe if more homeowners reacted like Mr. Horn, thiefs would think twice befores stealing.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  2. Ben McDavid

    It is sad that a human life is worth no more than the cost of a stolen object in this country. Why is the death penelty for a misdemeanor not questioned and how can our government ordain giving all people legally carrying a firearm the right of judge, jury and executioner?

    July 1, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  3. Stan from Texas

    Two dead people, is a horrible thing.... HOWEVER.... when bad people do bad things, sometimes there are bad consequences... Since the police are sometimes ineffective in keeping the peace, it is up to the homeowner to protect life and property.. For too long, VICTIMS' RIGHTS are being whittled away while criminals rights become stronger and stronger.. If MORE incidents like this were broadcast.... maybe the potential criminal will think twice about invading the sanctity of a persons home.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  4. Quincey

    I have been the victim of a mugging and a burglary in my lifetime. I understand the feelings of anger and emotions that come over a person when they feel violated and victimized. With this said, human life is more precious than personal property any day and any time. This is the reason why I've never purchased a gun. In my view, I'd rather suffer the consequences, whatever they may be as opposed to having the live with the thought of taking a life. What has our society come to when we think that this type of vigilantee justice is appropriate. I am more afraid of people like Mr. Horn than I am of burgulars. God help this country.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  5. james

    they would of got away.if it was not for that man need less to say they could come to you house rob you or hurt they chose to do what they did life of crime is dangrous

    July 1, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  6. Pat Adams

    In my opinion, Mr. Horn represents what has always been the right of every American citizen... to defend himself, his property and the rights of others. These two men were illegal aliens. Not citizens. They were not there to fix his neighbors cable, they were robbing him. This was the first time they were caught. Who is to say that the next time they wouldnt have surprised someone in their home and ended up killing them in the process?
    Mr. Horn is not a hero, nor a criminal, but an American doing what more Americans need to do. Defend themselves...stand up for whats right and take reponsibility for the gaps in security provided by our dedicated Law Enforcement Community.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:12 pm |
  7. d. darney

    And what about the very possible instance where the Mr. Horn in the case is somehow wrong, misjudges or misperceives the situation and shoots someone innocent? Or shoots some kid who's in the wrong place for the first time in his life, along for the ride without having the maturity to know what he's doing? It's a well-known fact now how many innocent people have been found on death row.

    The less we "citizens" value life, the more we value just our property and take our power to act individually, the more we'll have primitive, militia-style or citizen executions–and some will go tragically wrong.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:12 pm |
  8. GF, Los Angles

    As a single woman living by myself, I still stand by my stance that what Mr. Horn did was right. I'm tired of people defending criminals and second guessing law enforcement when they do their job or citizens like Joe Horn who got involved with protecting his community. What if his neighbors were not away and these burglars breaking in happened to be armed or armed themselves with kitchen knives once they got in? If it was happening to me, I for one would want my neighbor to shoot whoever is trying to enter my residence. If they die, then so be it – I wouldn't want it to be me or some other innocent.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:12 pm |
  9. Mike

    everyone has the right to protect property, why should anyone who has worked hard for their home and property all their life loose it because some people want to commit a crime.

    if you come unto my property, my home illegally I'll kill you dead.

    I commend Mr Horn for a job well-done he leads by example for others to follow.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:12 pm |
  10. Sharon

    It really sadden's me to think/know that a human being sat in the waiting room that long and no one came out to check on her. Then when she fall over and died – NO ONE tried to get help and/or walked over her like she was a spot on the floor – ALL OF THEM SHOULD BE CHARGED FOR MURDER!!

    July 1, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  11. D. Myles

    Mr. Horn displays the same mentality our Leaders have these past years–a blatant disregard for human life. What is going on in this country?

    There is no way Mr. Horn was in fear of his life when he was safely inside his home. Mr. Horn was determine to right the injustice that he felt the two men were committing.

    I do not in any way condone what the men were doing. However, the punishment of two lives lost, does not equate to stolen property.

    Texas justice. Priceless...

    July 1, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  12. Donny Ray

    So much for the good Christians turning the other cheek. Good lord people are we no longer civilized. Shoot some one in the back NO MATTER WHERE THEY ARE FROM OR THE COLOR OR THEIR RELIGION or the lack of it. What would Christ do? All us good Southern christians should simply pray. Is the road to Hell is paved with good intentions and were these good intentions?

    July 1, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  13. Fraser

    Joe Horn a Hero? The Lone Star state has a long history of violence and blood shed as well, the longest list of execution types far surpassing any other state. I truly think that Mr. Horn believed that he was doing the right thing, and at the end of the day, he will have to live with himself for what he did. Could he have taken a non-lethal aim with his double barrel 12 gauge? Perhaps but dead or alive, the only reason that he walked is because the 2 desperate people he slaughtered, were not Americans. Not having seen there green card, more than anything Mr. Horn (who is probably a closet racist) should be thanking his lucky they ran the border!

    July 1, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  14. B DRAKE

    Thank you second amendment. Its about time govt. gives the good guys
    some defense rather than say RUN!

    July 1, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  15. Mechelle

    I know someone very close to me who was a troubled teen and actually burglarized his neighbors until he got his life on track. He was 18 years old at that time. Since then, he's graduated from college and is a civil engineer making six figures. I'm glad that he didn't meet up with someone like Mr. Horn or I might have never met and married my husband. People can change but these two men will never get that chance and it's not Mr. Horn's place to make that judgment.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  16. Edward NY

    How PC can we get. The writer from CNN put not into all caps.
    It is not wrong to defend yourselves. We let illegal aliens run about our country. They don't respect our laws when they came here. They were not respecting our laws when they were robbing someone's home. We have to respect other countries laws when we travel there but we don't except people to respect our laws when they come here. We have not returned to the 'old west.' We have people to decide if it is wrong and they were the grand jury. So if we not respecting our form of citizens review that we are doomed to a dictatorship

    July 1, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  17. Ivy, Houston

    Mr. Horn could have shot the men on their legs or any other part of their body without causing death.
    This situation begs these questions:
    1. If the men had turned out to be long lost relatives of the home-owner, would Mr Horn be free today?...NO
    2. If it was my house Mr. Horn was protecting would I say he was wrong for killing them?...YES.
    Mr. Horn went alittle too far in protecting his neighbours property.
    If the men were armed, after he fired the first shot, the second man could had shot him.
    Least we forget, the men were carrying out an criminal act, unarmed, for which the penalty is not death.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  18. Kelli

    It must be nice to be a white man in this society. You can just kill people indiscriminately and people barely bat an eye. The blatant racism in the Horn and Sheley stories is appalling. How do I know it's racist? Imagine if a dark skinned Mexican American had shot down two white illegal immigrants in cold blood. What if a Black man with a long criminal record had bludgeoned 8 people in a week. There would be no psychologist discussing what prompted his actions. A Chicano talk show host wouldn't have been able to discuss a Mexican American homeowner that shot whites in in the back. I'm completely disgusted by their actions and I am doubly disgusted by this soft, sympathetic coverage!

    July 1, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  19. Di

    I tell Joe that I'm sorry he feels so bad, I wish I had done it!! I'd be proud of myself. I step outside my door and half the street is legal and half is not! The laws apply to 50% of the neighborhood, and does not for the others!

    For all you people that think he was wrong-
    PUBLISH YOUR ADDRESS – Let the murders, rapists, robbers know where you live, and that they are welcome to your stuff, your wife, your kids-
    For us here we are fed up, and 3" of brass is what I call justice!

    We are fed up living in this SANCTUARY HELL HOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Joe Horn for MY NEIGHBOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 1, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  20. Charlene Ford age 68

    More criminals should be handled like Mr. Hoag(?) did. He was totally correct to react like he did...less criminals walking around.
    We're too easy in the U.S. and the criminals are using up our justice system.....legally, ha right! No. too much of our system is spent on "trying" criminals who are blatently doing what this situation showed.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  21. Subash

    What Mr. Horn did was legal and this could lead to more burglars thinking twice about robbing somebody's House. Now Mr. Horns his neighborhood may not be robbed for ever by his deed .So way to go Mr. Horn... ' Wish some one would shoot some burglars in my neighborhood...

    July 1, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  22. Chanel P

    Left for Dead-Something similar happened in the emergency waiting room at King-Drew hospital in Los Angeles, CA. I don't believe the woman was mentally ill, but she was there for treatment, collapsed and died in the waiting room after complaining multiple times of her symptoms. This is pretty disturbing...have some hospital staff become so desensitized to sick people that it doesn't occur to them that some situations are literally life and death and some may really need immediate help, or at least a triage??? Anderson, I think a "Keeping Them Honest" special report on this phenomena is in order...it's happened too many times and I'm sure it's happened more than I'm aware. I'm looking forward to you and Sanjay Gupta researching this.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  23. al

    Premeditated murder indeed come on, these guys were not on "his" property, he was also told not to go outside, how could his life be in danger if he stayed inside and watch on! then he could have been a witness to what happen and help them catch these rubbers simple as that. The question is!! Was it because they were "hispanic or black", if they were white would he shoot them?

    July 1, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  24. J. Sanchez

    Well, actually the good thing is that the bad people seem to be moving from NYC to Texas- hopefully they'll get some more of this American justice. I think that what Mr. Horn did was right. I live in nyc and I'm applying for a gun license this month so that i can protect myself in my apt. from the over-whelmingly high number of criminally-minded, psychopathic, wanna-be thuggish, threatening, aggressive people that live in the city. Crime is down, but it isn't enough. I think that more law-abiding people who live in nyc should do the same.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  25. Brett

    I suppose it's a shame those guys were killed. But not much of one.

    You have the right to defend your property, sure. But how about your neighbor's? If you can't count on the cops to take care of it (and he did give them a fair chance to get there), I'd rather my neighbor stop someone robbing my place than let them get away. Shooting them might be the only option.

    I think if something's going on, no help available, and you have the ability to intervene, you should intervene.

    We've got one case of a woman who spent more than 30 minutes dying on a hospital floor with other patients there and two security guards checking in briefly – no one lifts a finger.

    Then we've got no-one else around but Horn, and he risks himself to stop two criminals.

    I know which I'd trust more. And it certainly isn't the lazy bastards at that hospital.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  26. A.J.

    Joe Horn will be a household name for his vigilance and courage to handle the situation under his intrepretation of right to bear arms! This use of force will not work in every similar scenario! Don't try this at home!

    July 1, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  27. Mack

    Concerning Mr. Horn and the Texas Castle Law:
    Mr. Horn was absolutely right in blowing away the two illegal immigrant criminal invaders. I would be proud to do exactly the same thing in a similar situation and this event should send a message to criminals and illegals alike.

    Oh by the way, I am a minority African-American), a concealed handgun license holder and law-abiding citizen. Kudos to Mr. Horn and other law-abiding citizens who choose to carry.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  28. Geoffrey Chenault

    Joe Horn is a vigilante, he was not defending his home or property but his neighbor's property. By not charging him with a crime mean people have the right to use deadly force if they feel the need to protect anyone's property no matter if it is next door, down the block or about anywhere. I thought that was the job of the police.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  29. steve sanchez

    Do you seriously think that if those criminals were carrying guns that they wouldn't have been the first to drop and act on the neighboor? Pretty ridiculous...maybe you'd think differently if you've had a friend/neighboor/loved one raped and murdered by thugs like these.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  30. J Smith

    It seems to me that Mr. Horn had already decided when he said, "You hear the shotgun clickin," that his intention was to go outside and shoot those men. If I was on a jury I would want to go for second degree murder. If the men had broken into his home or come into Mr. Horn's yard with malicious intent then he had every right to protect his family and his property, but legally I just don't see how he his justified in insinuating himself into his neighbor's situation.

    My grandfather was a farmer in southwestern Oklahoma and lived way out in the boondocks far away from any neighbors and he had his shotgun in his living room. Every once in a while a stranger came to the door in the night to ask for directions. He had his shotgun in his hand when he greeted them, but fortunately he never had the occasion to shoot anyone. Knowing him well, he probably would have shot someone if they had broken into his house, but if someone was looting the neighbor's house he probably would have called the sheriff.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  31. matthew walters

    In the case of hero or killer....i beleive he has no right to do such a thing. What he did is a crime and I agree with the woman Anderson had on the show that argued.."there is no death penalty for robbing someone and Horn was not in danger.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  32. Juanita

    he should have stayed inside like the 911 operator asked him too

    July 1, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  33. Rob H Minneapolis

    Calling Mr. Horn a Hero is unwarranted but he is certainly not a criminal. What I think many are thinking but not stating is that I am comfortable with Mr. Horns actions and the consequences to those that were clearly committing a crime. I sleep well tonight and hope Mr. Horn does as well. One thing is for certain, his neighbors are.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  34. screna

    mr horn never would have feard for his life if he would have listend to the 911 operater and stayed in side. that was vigilante justice. and if my hubby would have done that he would be in prison. and if mr horn was a poor person he would be in prison

    July 1, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  35. Elisa- California

    murderer-
    That man had no right to take some ones lives. Now it would be a total different story if they had broke into his home. That man was specificly told not to go outside. And to shoot them in a fatal area? why not their leg or foot so that they are wounded and unable to escape? This man is no hero in my eyes. Only a murder. And that jury definitly did not serve justice.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  36. M.A alssy

    I think Mr.Horn is neither a hero nor a vigilant because even though he killed the robbers all he did was make the cops job easier. Hes like a warning sign to any robbers who want to test their luck when it comes to stealing. Now, what he did was the wrong thing. He should have let the police do their job. But, if you feel threatened you have the right to protect yourself which is what Mr. Horn did.
    I don't think theres going to be any more robbers where Mr. Horn lives.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  37. Larry Palmer

    Mr. Horn is neither a hero or a murderer. He over-reacted. Most Americans would have under-reacted and the criminals would have walked away to rob, steal, perhaps kill someone another day. As the radio host said, I have no sympathy for anyone who decides to break the law and gets hurt or killed. They were already lawbreakers, here illegally and one had a coccaine arrest in '99. If more criminals were concerned that a homeowner might stop them with lethal force we would have a much lower incident of crime.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  38. s farves

    I wonder how we all would fell if the immigrants were boys or girls. God help us all. Truely, what have we become? Are we a Christian nation or nation of individuals and self. Love the neighbor and you love yourself. The men were criminals true, but to be shot in the back is an act of cowardliness, cruel and unjust.. A nation can not stand without just and Godly laws under our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Yes, God help us all.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  39. Willem van Oranje

    Anybody want to guess what would have happened when Joe Horn had been black?

    I don't care much for the burglars in this particular case but I fear for the day were a gun-toting texan is going to ‘protect’ the property of his neighbor, only to find out after the shooting that the alleged ‘burglar’ was in fact the family friend who had fed the family's cats.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  40. Susan Johnson

    Shooting two unarmed men in the back? As they were fleeing? Joe Horn was not threatened, he was gun-happy.

    This is Texas.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  41. dylan

    I just love how some people would rather invite crime than to stop it, because it may get violent. You confront criminals at your neighbors and you have to assume some fear for what they might do to you. Can i say he acted accordingly, i was not there. I can say those men were not in this country legally, and they were causing fear and violating an AMERICAN CITIZENS civil rights. As a service member and a patriot im glad for people like Mr. Horn

    July 1, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  42. Lissette Burba

    It doesn't matter if he killed two thieves, two wrongs doesn't make one right.......Mr Horn should go to jail for killing in cold blood.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  43. Dave, Round Rock Texas

    I am currently working as a contractor in Iraq so I am a bit late in posting on the Joe Horn story. Lisa Blume has no clue what she is talking about. She is apply the law as she understands it in states other than Texas.

    She stated that there is no right to protect property with deadly force (I think her actual words were "shoot somebody over property"). That is incorrect as far as Texas goes. In Texas you can not only shoot someone for threatening your life but you can shoot them for stealing your property. and there is NO requirement to attempt to retreat.

    In reality, in Texas, you can not only use deadly force to prevent theivery but you can use deadly force to recover property regardless of where you find it.

    In Sept 07 the law was changed and it now allows you to protect your neighbors property with deadly force.

    Texas gun law for the Win! Tell Lisa to familiarize herself with CURRENT TEXAS LAW and try it again. And next time get a commentator who knows the law you are talking about.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  44. Nicki in AK

    Shooting someone in the back while they're running away is usually considered murder – especially when the runners do not appear to have weapons. I have read about three cases where a property owner shot someone he thought was committing a crime. In all three cases, a young man ended up dead, when no crime was committed. Leave the crime fighting up to the police. We don't need vigilantes.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  45. Christopher

    He is not a hero. First he was safe in his house while he made the 911 phone call, then he chose to enter the situation by going outside. Second, what if he had been shot? This shows how people care more about things then someones life. You can replace things but you can't replace life.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  46. David Brown

    I was robbed and the robber came in and walked through my seven year old nephews room in the middle of the night ...its scary and hard to deal with because of the unknown. they or he also stole seven hundred dollars and a vcr...they kept coming in and out of the house...it was scary...i didnt have a gun but i wish i did or someone else did...even a neighbor to help us.....they may have walked through my room before i actually awoke....the woman with the blond hair on tv needs to understand the unknown...who knows what they were capable of????its hard to sleep at night even today...

    July 1, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  47. Pete

    You go horn, it's time to fight back at these scums who do not want to work but steal from honest hard working americans. i have no problem with the outcome.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  48. Michael

    Well... I say that Horn shot them as they were in his property.Because technically, the yard is his property! I mean it belongs to him. The criminals were on it, they had just robbed his neighbour and he acted to protect himself. Of course an item stolen is never worth a life but still. Although the men were unarmed, and they probably would have not done anything physical to him, he still shot them. He could have done somethting else. But I understand that he was under pressure.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  49. Dan J.

    He felt he had to protect himself? Wasnt he calling from his house? Didnt he say that he had a gun and was going to go outside and "kill 'em"? Sounds like pre-meditation to me.

    Makes me wonder what would have happened if this was a black man, mexican or any other minority

    July 1, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  50. Mike

    I think more people should do what Mr. Horn did. I can't believe that people actually think that he should be convicted. This country is turning into a bunch of little babies. I mean, it's like we live in a backwards world. Two people break into a house, and someone shoots them because of it, and people feel bad for the CRIMINALS. I thought it should be the other way around. I mean I feel bad for the two people that lost their lives, but they chose to participate in a criminal act and should've damn well knew the consequences.

    July 1, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
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