Last week, a thief stole a man’s unoccupied truck from his San Antonio home. Unbeknownst to the thief, inside the truck was an Apple AirTag device, which the owner could track with his phone. The owner located his truck and the police are now investigating the circumstances that led to one man’s death.
San Antonio Shooting Incident—
According to a KHOU 11 report, around 1 PM, the San Antonio Police Department received a call from a resident in the north part of the city that someone stole his truck from his home.
The truck’s owner began tracking the truck’s location with an Apple AirTag. He tracked the truck to a shopping center on the southeast side of the city about 20 miles from his home. According to reports, the owner didn’t notify the police that he located the truck.
The owner approached the occupied vehicle. Police say that according to initial statements, the suspect may have “pulled a gun.” The truck owner shot and killed a man he suspected of stealing his truck. Police responded and are now investigating the incident. KHOU reports that several cartridge casings were visible in the parking lot and during the shooting, windows of two unoccupied vehicles in the parking lot were shot out.
SAPD’s Nick Soliz said: “If you are to get your vehicle stolen, please do not take matters into your own hands like this, it’s never safe as you can see by this incident.”
SAPD hasn’t cleared the truck owner and is continuing the investigation to see if he will be charged.
What is an Apple AirTag—
If you’re not familiar with what it is, the device is small, about the size of a half dollar. According to Apple, the AirTag: “sends out a secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby devices in the Find My network. These devices send the location of your AirTag to iCloud — then you can go to the Find My app and see it on a map. The whole process is anonymous and encrypted to protect your privacy. And itʼs efficient, so thereʼs no need to worry about battery life or data usage.”
They aren’t expensive, and people use them to help locate important items.
Unfortunately, there is a downside that comes with using a device like the Apple AirTag. This article from Breitbart showed how criminals used the device to track expensive vehicles to a more private location—like the owner’s home—and steal the car. Stalkers have used AirTags to track their victims.
This is Not Uncommon—
In February, I posted a similar story out of Colorado. In that case, a man tracked down his stolen vehicle using an Apple AirTag. When he located the vehicle, several people were still inside. Armed with a handgun, he confronted the people inside his car. A shootout erupted, and he shot and killed the 12-year-old driver.
I haven’t found an update on this incident, but currently, police have not charged the owner of the car who shot the driver.
Police are unwilling or more likely, unable to curb surging of property crimes across the country. Police can’t or don’t investigate the overwhelming majority of property crimes, so they go unsolved. So, people have resorted to protecting themselves and their property and doing the work of the police. That said, there are also people who are more than happy to bypass law enforcement and enact “justice” on the person who wronged them.
Is This a Justified Shooting?
I don’t know what motivated the truck owner in this case, and I haven’t found any details other than what’s included above. It would be unwise to make an unequivocal statement about this incident. But there are a couple of things to consider.
First, just because someone is inside the vehicle, doesn’t mean that person stole it. Imagine a dirtbag who steals your car, and tries selling it to an unsuspecting person. They meet in a parking lot to check out the car. All of a sudden you show up, blasting away at everyone involved. Is it likely? Maybe not, but that isn’t the point.
What is important is how you evaluate an incident before involving yourself or using force. Consider questions like: is this something I need to involve myself in? Is involving myself worth risking mine or someone else’s safety? If I don’t intervene, is someone likely to get seriously hurt?
The reports don’t indicate police found a second gun, or another weapon. This doesn’t mean he wasn’t a deadly threat, especially if he was in the vehicle and tried using it as a weapon against the owner. But again, there isn’t any report of that.
News reports are not always reliable, but this one provides just enough, that I suspect if there was a second gun or weapon, or the dead guy tried to run the owner over with his truck, either the news or the police would include it.
All of this is to say, while I’m not going to say unequivocally this was justified or not, I feel completely comfortable saying, it’s not a clear cut case of self-defense and I wouldn’t want to be in these dude’s shoes.
I don’t think what this guy did was wise. It may turn out he acted lawfully, but that doesn’t mean it’s wise. There is also a chance he acted illegally, but there just isn’t a strong enough case, and the prosecutor passes. Still, not wise. It could be he gets charged, and can bargain it down to a lesser crime. Still, not wise.
Track down your stuff, that’s cool. But stay in a safe location to observe and call the police. These types of situations are too volatile and you risk way more than the price of any replaceable object.
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