Sheriff clarifies 'go back to Harris County' warning to criminals

Homeowner shoots, kills would-be robber outside home in Fort Bend County

RICHMOND, Texas – The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a homeowner shot a would-be robber multiple times at his home in Richmond.

According to deputies, a homeowner was returning to his house from work and had just pulled into his garage in the 18000 block of Mossy Creek Lane. Investigators said an alleged robber approached him, pulling out a gun and demanding the cash from his wallet.  

The homeowner then reached into his car and pulled out a gun. Deputies said he shot the suspect twice. The owner ran inside and called 911. According to deputies, the homeowner lives with his parents, who are in their 80s.

"The (suspect) ran out of the garage and fell onto the front lawn," Sheriff Troy Nehls said.

Deputies said the suspect — who is believed to be a Hispanic man in his 20s — was pronounced dead.

Nehls said the case is being investigated as an aggravated robbery. Deputies said two weapons were found at the scene, including the homeowner's and the suspect's gun.

Neighbor Nikia Smith and the other residents are glad to hear the homeowner fought back.

"I don't feel sorry for him. I don't feel sorry for him," neighbor Nikia Smith said.

"I think we work too hard for our belongings for you to just come and take it. And we're tired of it and we're fighting back," Smith said.

Nehls said Wednesday night that criminals have been coming out to Harris County and Fort Bend County more and more often. His message is for them to stay out.

"We just want to come home from work and spend time with our family. We don't need thugs coming into this county and pulling handguns and trying to rob us for our possessions," Nehls said. "Don't come into Fort Bend County and start waving guns around because you could leave in a bag. So that's my warning to the criminals here, you may want to go back to Harris County."

Nehls clarified his statement Thursday afternoon in talking about the growth and expansion of outlying areas.

"My intention was not to offend anyone. My comment and statement was made to those criminals -- and not everyone in Harris County is a criminal -- to those criminals that are moving out of Harris County to come into Fort Bend County to commit a crime, I would ask you to turn around," he said. "This is not new. This has been going on for years."

He said the majority of robberies in Fort Bend County are committed by criminals from Harris County.

Deputies said the suspect has a Houston address, but that he lived inside the Fort Bend County line.

Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers Union, said he backs Nehls 100 percent.

"Normally people don't burgle or rob in their own neighborhood they go elsewhere and I think that is going to be common in an area where you've got county lines that close to each other.

While Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner agrees that criminals have no respect for geographical boundaries, he said crime can originate anywhere. 

"I think we need to be very, very careful when we assume that it's not happening in my backyard. The reality is wherever you live there are going to be some individuals that are going to commit crimes," Turner said.

Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman told KPRC 2 he was not offended by Nehls' comments.

Sheriff Troy Nehls gives details about the shooting in Richmond. 18000 block of Mossy Creek Ln.

Posted by Jennifer Bauer on Wednesday, May 11, 2016