Four family members face murder charges after being accused of ambushing and fatally shooting a neighbor they suspected of vandalizing their home in Houston.
Police say the family pursued the wrong man — in fact, authorities say the victim, 29-year-old Eddie Clark, had never before met the family members prior to the fatal shooting late Monday night.
Joe Argueta, 19; his mother, 39-year-old Florinda Argueta; his father, 45-year-old Luis Argueta; and his uncle, 29-year-old Margarito Alcantar, have all been charged with murder, according to a statement from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Joe Argueta told deputies he fired the fatal shots, however all four family members were involved, the sheriff’s office said.
The mother told police she filed several police reports about vandalism to the family’s home and vehicles. She said she suspected a teenage, male friend of her son’s ex-girlfriend. Deputies had responded to the family’s home at least seven times in the last three weeks after reports that their house had been “shot up” and that tires had been slashed in the driveway, Sgt. Ben Beall said at a Tuesday news conference.
Police reports listed a black Dodge Charger as a possible suspect vehicle, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Police say Joe Argueta spotted what he believed to be the suspect’s vehicle in the neighborhood, and his family members attempted to block the man’s car with their own vehicles.
Two men approached the car, one armed with a pistol, the other with a baseball bat. When the man in the car fled, one of the men fired multiple gunshots at the passenger side. Police said Joe Argueta told officers he was the man who fired the shots.
Deputies responding to the scene found a dark gray Dodge Challenger — not a black Dodge Charger — had struck a tree in a front yard and had multiple bullet holes on the passenger’s side.
Clark left the car and fled on foot before he collapsed, according to the sheriff’s office. Clark was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Clark was on his way home when the Arguetas confronted him, according to the sheriff’s office. They said Clark was not known by the Arguetas, and investigators have no information suggesting Clark was involved in the dispute.
“Seems like a tragic case of mistaken identify,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on Twitter.
Joe Argueta and his mother were arrested while the father and uncle fled the scene before deputies arrived, police say.