A grand jury will have to determine whether a suburban Houston man who killed a 17-year-old boy in his teenage daughter's bedroom knew he was shooting the girl's guest -- or thought he was shooting an intruder.
The shooting happened in a quiet subdivision near the northern Houston suburb of Spring after the 55-year-old father walked into his daughter's bedroom in the middle of the night, found a teenage boy there, struggled with him and fired his gun, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office. The boy was unarmed.
Investigators have not identified the man, whom they said was taken to a hospital after showing symptoms of a panic attack.
However, the boy's family identified the 17-year-old as Johran McCormick of Spring.
"I would like my baby back, but I know that's not possible. A call, you know? `I'm sorry.' He didn't deserve to die like that," his mother, Zakia McCormick, told KHOU-TV of Houston.
The shooting happened about 2:30 a.m. Thursday. Assistant Chief Deputy Constable Mark Herman says the 55-year-old homeowner heard noises coming from his 16-year-old daughter's bedroom, investigated, found the boy with his daughter and shot him in the ensuing altercation. The father says he shot the boy when the teen dropped his hands as if to grab for something.
Investigators say the girl let the boy into the house and into the bedroom, but then told her father that she did not know the boy.
While the Harris County grand jury will have the final say on whether the father will face charges, prosecutor Warren Diepraam said he doesn't expect any.
"What they found out after the fact isn't going to matter a whole bunch. They're looking at what he was thinking when he made the decision to shoot," he told KRIV-TV of Houston.
Neighbors said the family had just moved to the area and expressed conflicting emotions about the shooting in what they described as a crime-free neighborhood.
"As a mom, I just can't imagine. I know the dad was trying to protect the family, but he should have let the authorities handle it," Leticia Field told KHOU.
Regardless of where the truth lies, "both of these families' lives have changed forever," neighbor Ryan Finnin told KRIV. "That's a hard pill to swallow."