Woman Shot by Off-Duty Guard During Car Theft: Police

By Frank Heinz
|  Thursday, Feb 6, 2014  |  Updated 5:22 PM CDT
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Off-Duty Guard Shoots Car Thief: Police

Garland Police Department

Damaged Mercury sport utility vehicle, left, and Karen Esparza, right.

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An off-duty security guard shot a woman who forced him out of his vehicle and stole his car after a crash on snow-covered roads Thursday morning, police said.

According to the Garland Police Department, a uniformed, off-duty police officer was in the parking lot of the American Pawn Superstore when he spotted a Nissan Xterra that he believed had been reported stolen a day before.  At about 9:15 a.m., the off-duty officer then saw a woman walk to the vehicle and get in the driver’s seat.  As the uniformed officer approached the driver, she drove west toward the parking lot exit along Broadway Boulevard.

On the slippery, snow-covered road, the woman collided with a Mercury SUV being driven by a 67-year-old off-duty security guard, police said.

The woman, later identified by police as 22-year-old Karen Esparza, exited the crashed Xterra and walked toward the guard’s SUV. As he got out of his vehicle, the woman forced her way into the driver’s seat, police said.  The off-duty guard, who was armed, fired one round at the woman before she drove away, police said.

The woman didn’t get far, police said, as officers were able to catch up to her after she crashed into three other cars near Interstate 30 and Northwest Highway. After she came to a stop, police said Esparza was taken into custody without further incident.

Esparza was transported to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas for treatment of a gunshot wound to the leg.  Her current condition is not known.  Upon her release, Esparza will face two charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, police said.

The guard was not arrested, though police did say the shooting will be referred to a grand jury for review.

Police said there were no other injuries reported in connection with any of the crashes.

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