KATY, Texas — Four family members trying to get revenge on a vandal set a trap and ended up cornering a man, chasing him down and shooting him as he tried to get away.
But police tell USA Today the victim, Eddie Clark, 29, was an innocent neighbor and had nothing to do with the vandalism. Now the family members … Joe Argueta, 19; his mother, Florinda Argueta, 39, and father, Luis Argueta, 45; and an uncle, Margarito Alcantar, 29 … all are charged with murder.
“This is an example of taking the law into your own hands,” a hearing officer said Joe Argueta in court, according to KTRK Channel 13. “Not going through the proper authorities to resolve any other harm or destruction that was being done to your own residence or your own home. It still doesn’t justify taking the law into your own hands and mistaking the person.”
The shooting occurred late Monday night. KTRK reports that court records show the family believed a male friend of Joe Argueta’s ex-girlfriend had been vandalizing their home and cars. The family then devised a plan to “take care of” the situation, KTRK reports.
The family spotted what they thought was a black Dodge Charger, the vehicle of the suspected vandal, and tried to block it with their own cars. It actually was Clark, who was driving a dark gray Dodge Challenger to his own home nearby, reports say.
When Clark tried to back away, Joe Argueta chased after the car and fired several shots, USA Today reports. Clark’s car crashed into a tree and he tried to escape on foot, but he soon collapsed, Fox 26 reports. Argueta reportedly has admitted to firing the gun.
“Seems like a tragic case of mistaken identity,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on Twitter.
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