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Man allegedly shoots, kills car thief in Washington

A 25-year-old thought to be a car thief was allegedly shot and killed by the vehicle's 56-year-old owner. A search warrant identified the SUV owner on March 25. However, he has not been taken into custody. Spokane detectives seized the SUV's headrest after determining a bullet pierced it. Although they found a gun on the man, they did not specify if it was the gun that shot the alleged thief.

The authorities are investigating criminal charges of second degree murder. The vehicle owner allegedly waited until the younger man drove off with his car before shooting. The authorities are speculating on a possible justification for the shooting.

Officials confiscated the man's handguns. The accused man does not have a criminal history and has a license to carry weapons.

Earlier that morning, the accused man called emergency personnel to report that his SUV had been stolen and that he shot the alleged thief. He fired because he saw the driver raise his arm and thought he had a weapon. The gunshot wound caused the thief to crash the car, and the medical examiner determined that the injury to his head killed him.

Law enforcement personnel found tools commonly used in car thefts in the vehicle and on the deceased man's person. However, there was not a gun in the SUV.

Because the accused man allegedly killed the thief as he was stealing his SUV, the authorities may consider the shooting justified. A criminal defense attorney might be able to argue that he was just protecting his property.

Source: KXLY, "Man involved in car theft shooting identified," Jeff Humphrey, March 27, 2013

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