Early on Monday, an off-duty Texas highway patrol officer thought someone was trying to break into his apartment in Houston, according to authorities. He pulled his gun out, shot the person behind his shuttered door – and realized it was his neighbor, the Guardian reports. The latest case of an off-duty law enforcement officer encountering and shooting a member of the public took place after midnight at an apartment complex just outside Minute Maid Park, where Houston’s professional baseball team, the Astros, plays. Yasar Bashir, assistant Houston police chief, told reporters that it was unclear why the man who was shot had gone to the apartment. But the highway patrol officer feared the neighbor was trying to gain entry. The trooper reportedly gave “several commands” for the man to step away from the door before the trooper fired his gun.
The neighbor, a 35-year-old Black man who also lived in the building, was hit in his right shoulder but survived.
No charges had been immediately filed in the shooting. The case echoed other similar encounters in which people shot others who went near their residences without understanding why those who were shot had approached. Those cases have often sparked debate over race and gun policies in the US, especially off-duty police officers’ use of force. Perhaps most notably, in 2018, a Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger, mistakenly entered Botham Jean’s apartment after a work shift when Jean, 26, was eating a bowl of ice-cream. Guyger, who was white, believed Jean, a Black accountant from St Lucia who lived a floor above her, was a burglar and shot and killed him. Guyger, who was fired from her job, argued that she feared for her life. She was convicted of murder and is serving a 10-year prison sentence.