by Joshua Ford | 24News
33-year-old suspect Joseph A. Ortega was shot around midnight by a 93-year-old southern California homeowner named Joe Teague.
Teague fired his shotgun once, hitting one of the suspects. Ortega was taken to a local hospital in critical condition and later died.
Teague is not facing any charges.
Speaking to the local news outlet KNBC, Teague said a group of people consisting of “ladies and men” had “kicked the door open.”
“The big guy, he came at me,” Teague explained, adding that the rest of the group “started throwing objects that [were] in the house at me.”
“When they broke in, they got a lot of my equipment, and I approached them to put them under citizens’ arrest,” and “I kept telling them, ‘I have a shotgun with three shells in it,’ but I actually only had one. And they kept throwing stuff at me,” he explained.
Oscar Malma, who’s married to Teague’s granddaughter, s aid, “Recently he’s been having break-ins.”
Ortega was joined by several other individuals. They were inside the Teague’s residence when the shooting occurred.
“It happened once on Friday; on [a] bright day they went to break in the house. And now this happened in the middle of the night? … They were looking for him. They’ve been watching him. They’ve been watching the house for a while.”
“He was tired because every time he calls the police, [they take] forever to come and assist him,” Malma told KABC-TV. “He took the law into his own hands.” The station said authorities have not confirmed how many reported break-ins there have been at Teague’s home.
Malma added to KNBC that Teague has grown tired of the break-ins and police taking too long to respond.
Malma added to KNBC that Teague is “an old retired plumber, and he has a lot of tools. … He was a musician as well, so he’s got a lot of … instruments. And little by little they’ve been ripping him off.”
Teague was taken in for questioning following the shooting, a process that took multiple hours to complete, KNBC said.
“I don’t blame Joe,” Malma told the station. “He’s been working all his life, he’s 93 years old … and whatever little things he has, he needs to protect them.”
Malma told KABC he doesn’t believe his relative will be arrested because “he was defending his property. That happened inside his house. So I don’t think there’s any reason for him to be arrested.”