A suspected burglar died Thursday after being shot by a homeowner in Moreno Valley, California, around a week prior on June 29.
Joe Howard Teague, 93, confronted several burglars who broke into his home shortly after midnight. He shot Joseph Ortaga, 33, and had “several subjects at gunpoint” in his residence until the police arrived, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Officers and paramedics arrived to find Ortaga suffering from a gunshot wound, and he was hospitalized in critical condition. Ortaga died on Thursday.
Witnesses told deputies that many people were seen fleeing the scene prior to the deputies’ arrival.
Oscar Malma, a family member of Teague, told ABC7 that Teague’s home has been the victim of numerous burglaries. “They’ve been breaking in very often,” he said.
Malma suspected the people were after Teague’s valuables.
“He’s an old retired plumber, and he has a lot of tools. He got a lot of antiques, and he was a musician as well. So he’s got a lot of musical instruments,” Malma said. “Little by little, they’ve been ripping him off.”
Teague was getting frustrated, Malma said. “He was tired because every time he calls the police, the police were taking forever to come and assist him.”
“He took the law in his own hands.”
Detectives took Teague in for questioning, but Malma said he believes Teague will not be arrested because “he was defending his property.”
The investigation is currently ongoing.