MANTECA (CBS13) – An alleged serial tire slasher was shot and killed by a neighbor who claims it was in self-defense.
The incident occurred on Sun Haven Place early Friday morning.
Two emergency calls were made. The first call for vandalism and the second just 15 minutes later for shots fired.
“He could’ve just stopped, turned around, and walked home,” Jody Lawhon said as he watched from his balcony.
He believes his neighbor went on a rampage, slashed tires, smashed windows, and even caught on surveillance video. He says the man then took a tire iron and was going to attack another neighbor.
“Don’t do it Caesar! Don’t do it, don’t do it! And he just kept walking. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,” he said.
Lawhon tells me the gunman is torn up, but had no choice.
“To me it’s a clear case of self-defense. I would’ve done the same thing,” he said.
Another neighbor told me everyone has been scared of this man for months.
“I’m in fear for my life,” he said in a video he took while the alleged suspect walked down the street swinging a hammer.
Lawhon said they even turned to city council for help.
“We have a right to a quiet and peaceful neighborhood, which we do,” he said.
But the damage was done.
The man who allegedly brandished the tire iron died from his injuries and the shooter was taken in for questioning.
“You do have rights to protect your property, but you may never use deadly force to protect your property,” said John Myers, a professor with McGeorge School of Law.
If the homeowner felt his life was threatened, Myers said he had every right to shoot.
“We have a law in California that if you are attacked with deadly force you can use deadly force in self-defense. The wrinkle here is we don’t know what the facts are yet,” he added.
While Lawhon believes his neighbor had every right to shoot, he wishes more could’ve been done to stop this in the first place.
“I’d like to say I’m sorry to his family, this should’ve never happened,” he said.
This is an ongoing investigation and police are calling both parties involved both a victim and a suspect.