Townhouse Resident Kills Car Thief

Bob Irwin highlights the latest self defense and other shootings of the week. Read them and see what went wrong, what went right and what we can learn from self defense with a gun.

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Townhouse Resident Kills Car Thief
Bob Irwin
Bob Irwin

USA –-( The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports 11-04-2016 in Lake St. Louis, Missouri, just before 1 a.m., the resident of a townhouse on Monterey Cyprus Drive called 911. He had heard his car alarm and 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.

Bob Irwin, The Gun Store, Las Vegas

About Bob Irwin

The writer is the owner of The Gun Store in Las Vegas and has a gun talk radio show “Fired Up with Bob Irwin” Firedup is now on KSHP 1400 am radio from 5 to 6 pm on Thursdays and at the same time also on YouTube “Fired Up with Bob Irwin.

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Chuck M

Well I don’t know the criminals history and don’t really care but maybe it was karma from something he did earlier in his life but we can all agree his criminal career came to an abrupt halt when he decided to steal said car. Now as far as the shooter goes I definitely would not want to be in his shoes either for obvious reasons and yes he should have had insurance that may or may not pay him face value for his car but like everyone seems to agree he should not shoot over the loss of property and… Read more »


In Texas the shooter would not be charged!!!

Old 1811

This happened in Missouri, so what does Texas have to do with it?
Someone always brings up Texas. Texans, please remember that Texas law doesn’t follow you around. If you happen to be in another state that honors Texas permits and you shoot someone who is stealing your car in the nighttime, you’ll go to prison, regardless of what Texas law says.
That’s a good reason to have as your personal use-of-force policy to NEVER shoot to protect property.

Wild Bill

@Old, True, but Texas state law could be a model for other states, if those states wanted more humane and forward looking statutes.


Texas is not the only state providing for use of lethal force to protect property. California, last I checked, believe it or not, was/is another one. Further, many state also allow for the use of lethal force to stop a felony crime in progress. And stealing a car is, in almost every state, a felony crime. Don’t know Missouri’s laws… but a citizen should NOT be required to stand idly by and watch a criminal leave with MY property. How are you certain the car was insured against theft? A car that old mightn’t be…… Part of this discussion is… Read more »

Old 1811

Because the coppers have a duty to pursue and apprehend, and you don’t. Because of their duty, they also have qualified immunity in case something bad happens during the lawful performance of that duty, and you don’t. Most state laws that allow deadly force to stop a felony in progress limit it to violent felonies against the person, i.e., murder, sexual assault, battery, robbery, and arson. And sophistry about property crimes being crimes against the person, because your property represents part of your life because you spent X amount of your life working for it, won’t get you very far… Read more »

Old 1811

Most states that allow the use of deadly force to stop a felony, specify that the felony has to be a violent felony, i.e., murder, sexual assault, battery, or robbery. Some states include arson, especially if the arson is of a dwelling. The key, once again, is the danger to life, not the loss of property. Police can use deadly force in situations like this, but not to protect the property itself. They (unlike you) have a duty to pursue and apprehend, and using deadly force in that context constitutes a seizure under the Fourth Amendment. In addition, the police,… Read more »


I am a Texas resident and I would not shoot anyone to protect property. As stated by others I can replace any property. But if I or my friends /family feel threatened or in danger(even if no weapon is visible) then I would use deadly force . Like the tee shirt says ” too old to fight ,too slow to run. I’ll just shoot you and be done with it”

Craig Butelo

You should know where your line is drawn way before you find yourself in an incident . My line says never kill someone over the loss of property. This is rule one. Was the property owners life in danger? I am sorry my brother gun owner but you give gun owners a bad name and you do right thinking gun owners a disservice. Buying a gun does not make you a better person. These things need to be contemplated before the mud hits the fan. Train, train, train.

Old 1811

NEVER shoot to protect property. The law is settled: No piece of property is worth a human life, not even a criminal’s. If you shoot someone to save your car, jury nullification may “save” you, but you’ll still have to sell the car you saved to pay your lawyer. And if you have to depend on jury nullification, it’s fairly obvious that you didn’t do the right thing. And even if you’re acquitted, you can still lose a civil suit for big money. Just ask O.J. Your car is insured. You pay taxes for police. Use your head before you… Read more »


Of course you’re legally right … but your morally wrong. And, no law is ever settled! Every man and woman has the right to defend their life, and until the ne’er-do-wells and snow flakes started mucking around with the laws and justice system, every man and woman had the right to defend their property as well (which was often the means of their economic livelihood and survival). We used to string up cattle and horse thieves. We should start again with car thieves. That crap (auto theft) would end quickly and in the process our insurance bills would be cut… Read more »

Old 1811

I don’t think I’m morally wrong. Human lives are worth more than any car, or any other piece of property. The law is unsettled in many areas, but I don’t foresee it deciding that a human life is worth less than a car any time soon. In the old days, people used to string up cattle and horse thieves, but that was because stealing someone’s livestock threatened his livelihood, and stealing someone’s only means of transportation in the middle of nowhere was tantamount to murder. Nobody in the United States today will die because his car got stolen. My car… Read more »


The right of Jury Nullification can protect him. If you are on a jury in a case like this refuse to find guilty. It only takes one juror to stop a bad trial.


Exactly. Jury nullification has been used in ridiculous extremes like the OJ case, we should inform folks far and wide that there are many legitimate uses of it.


It was not used in the OJ case. You do not understand how it works. The just found not guilty because elf poor evidence and the glove issue & DNA issues. Jury Nullification is when the just is aware the defendant committed a crime but believes the law is wrong so they refuse to find guilty.

Wild Bill

@djr, I don’t think that you understand the OJ case. That jury was going to find OJ not guilty no matter what the evidence showed. It was a down town Los Angeles jury that hated and continues to hate the police, the sheriff, the prosecutor, and every authority of government except the welfare office. Having been there at the time, I believe that the OJ case is a good example of jury nullification.

Thom Paine

High time for the innocent citizen to be protected rather than the criminal .


The owner has been charged for shooting the car thief as he was backing out. The owner was in no danger.