Photo: Yi-Chin Lee, Staff PhotographerIMAGE 1 OF 4
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez arrived at the home invasion robbery attempt scene, where three suspects were shot to death, on the 1800 block of Amie Michele Lane on Monday, Dec. 23, 2019, in Channelview.
Three would-be burglars are dead after a Channelview resident confronted them with a shotgun as they entered his home Monday, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.
The incident unfolded when three men backed into the driveway of a mobile home in the 1800 block of Amie Michele Lane off Sheldon Road near Wood Road sometime Monday morning, Gonzalez said. One of two residents inside the home spotted the three men exiting the car and walking toward the home.
Gonzalez said the resident told detectives that he saw at least one of the three men armed with a gun, so he hid inside the house.
The three men entered the home, although it was not immediately clear if they forced their way in or simply walked in, Gonzalez said. That’s when the second resident, hearing the commotion, exited a room armed with a shotgun and opened fire on the three men inside the house, killing them all where they stood, Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said the dead men appeared to be in their 20s.
One of the suspected burglars managed to shoot back at the armed resident during the gunfire, Gonzalez said. According to family members, he was taken to Memorial Hermann hospital where he remains in serious condition.
“We are sad and dismayed, but thank God we are not the ones losing the life of our son,” said Lino Pérez., stepfather of Yair Gallegos, and speaking on behalf of the family including Gallegos’ mother, María Guadalupe Gallegos. “I am like his father because I have been with him since he was 4 years old,” he said.
The couple live with their two other children in the same block. Pérez said he was already at work as a mechanic when a neighbor called him “saying that some young guys entered into the property” where Yair Gallegos lives with a roommate, “and that there was a fight going on there.”
“I talked to my wife to go see what was going on there, but by the time she got there… the fight was over, the three guys dead and my son wounded,” Pérez said, adding, “most people would agree with me in that this was a matter of survival, it was those guys who enter the house, or my son.”
César López, a cousin of Gallegos who lives two houses away from him, was also already at work on Monday when friends in the neighborhood called to check on him.
“They were worried about me because they heard gunshots next to my home,” Lopez said. He immediately went back to the neighborhood and learned that “they were arguing at the door, they tried to get in, armed.”
Lopez said the argument made him believe that his cousin or the roommate could have known someone among the intruders. But MaríaGuadalupe Gallegos “said she did not recognize anyone among the dead.
Both Lopez and Pérez said she provided first aid to her son, including applying a tourniquet to contain bleeding from one of his legs.
At mid-afternoon Monday, María Guadalupe Gallegos was still at the scene with the police.
While Pérez said he didn’t know all the medical details, the family is more concerned about the potential consequences of a gunshot wound to their son’s spine.
Neighbor Alberto Martinez said he didn’t hear any shooting from his home, about six or seven houses away from the crime scene. He said he and his wife know Gallegos’ parents and that “the family, they are really good people.”
However, Martinez said he has doubts about the authorities’ version of the crime.
“They say it may have been a robbery. I don’t think it was a robbery. It looks more like, I don’t know, revenge or something like that,” Martinez said. “Those boys had nothing of value in that house. It wouldn’t be the house that a thief would choose to steal in this neighborhood.”
Regardless of the kind of crime, neighbors were surprised that a crime took place in their community.
“I have never seen a crime happening in this neighborhood in the five years I have lived here, let alone a shooting,” said Margarito Rodriguez, a construction worker who lives in the same block. “People here are good, many work in construction. This is a good neighborhood. I am really surprised.”
Gonzalez initially tweeted that there were four suspected burglars and that the fourth was wounded and hospitalized but later clarified that there were only three suspects inside the home, all of whom were killed. There may have been a fourth suspect outside, but no one was found when deputies arrived, Gonzalez said.
The car, believed to belong to the suspected burglars, was left running in the driveway as detectives combed over the evidence inside the house.
“Having three dead bodies inside a home is not very common,” Gonzalez said, adding that his detectives are working to confirm the timeline.
A grand jury will decide if Gallegos will be charged.