This is a tragedy of errors.
An investigation is underway after a maintenance worker was fatally shot while checking on waterlines at an apartment complex in Grand Prairie on Saturday evening, police said.
Officers responded to a shooting call around 6 p.m. at the Clayton Pointe Apartments along the 2900 block of Alouette Drive near Arkansas Lane and Highway 360.
Upon arrival at the scene, police said they found an apartment complex maintenance worker identified as 53-year-old Cesar Montelongo injured with a gunshot wound on a resident’s balcony.
Police said their investigation revealed that Montelongo was checking on multiple balconies for frozen or busted waterlines after pipes had burst throughout the apartment complex due to the recent arctic blast that has plagued the region.
According to police, a resident spotted Montelongo on his balcony, believed his apartment was being burglarized and shot Montelongo through a window.
Police said the resident stayed at the scene and cooperated with detectives. He was not arrested.
This was a fuck-up compounded by another fuck-up that resulted in one man dying, his family mourning, another man left with the emotional toll of what he did, and perhaps some prison time.
Let’s count the fuck-ups.
One: The resident shot Montelongo through a window. Shooting through a window or door is almost always unjustified. When the person is on the other side of the barrier, they are not in your property and don’t constitue an immediate threat.
The only exception to this is if the person on the other side of the window points a gun at you, if they can shoot you through the window, then it would be justified to shoot them through the window.
Texas law may be different. My opinion is based on a general, non-lawyer understanding of castle doctrine. But I’m inclined to err on the safe side.
Two: The maintenance man climbed onto people’s balconies without announcing himself or his intentions. If I saw a man I didn’t know on my balcony I would definitely break my gun out of the safe and call 911 expecting the worse.
The apartment management and Montelongo should have gone door to door and spoke yo residents and asked to check their balconies.
I don’t believe either man acted with malicious intent, but a combination of stupid actions created a situation that led to a tragedy.
Don’t cut corners, use your brain, and obey common sense and the law.