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Young thief shot dead by homeowner

Excerpted from story that originally ran here as:
Another boy shot prowling in dark

By Bill Hendricks and Ihosvani Rodriguez
San Antonio Express-News,
April 20, 2001

A South Side homeowner told police he shot and killed a teen-ager prowling in the dark on his property early Thursday.

On Thursday, 14-year-old Alfred Aguinaga Jr. collapsed and died in the 6100 block of South New Braunfels Avenue, about 200 yards from the house where police report the shots were fired.

Homeowner Robert Flores told patrol officer Brent Bell that he fired about four shots from his .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol at intruders he suspected had cut a hole in a chain-link fence that runs across the back of his lot in the 400 block of Koehler Court, near South New Braunfels Avenue and Interstate 37.

Flores said the prowlers were trying to steal six of the prized fighting cocks he raises.

On Thursday morning, Aguinaga, shot once in the back, was pronounced dead about 5:45 as he lay in the street.

Police found a sack containing a half-dozen young game chickens, worth an estimated $600, beside the body.

"It's a shame that a kid had to die because of this," police Sgt. Rene Rodriguez said.

"Hopefully, this sends out a message to anyone who's thinking of doing something senseless like this."

Flores, 27, said a security camera at the back of his house caught people moving toward the chicken coop in his back yard.

Police said Flores got his gun, went into the back yard and shot at the intruders.

Minutes later, officers found the dying boy in the street. With him was his uninjured brother-in-law, Juan Ibarra Jr., 20.

After interviewing Flores, police charged Ibarra with burglary. He was being held late Thursday in Bexar County Jail in lieu of posting $10,000 bail.

No charges were filed against Flores.

As he had after Monday's shooting, police spokesman Sgt. Gabriel Trevino said Texas law gives homeowners wide discretion, including the use of deadly force, to defend property, especially at night.

No charges have been filed against the car lot operator, the wounded boy or his teen-age companions in Monday's shooting.

Aguinaga had attended Connell Middle School, neighbors said, but dropped out and had been sleeping in a car parked in front of the Hillje Street residence.

Police said Flores had flagged down an officer earlier Thursday morning and reported that someone had gotten into his chicken coop and taken two roosters.

The shooting that left the teen-ager dead erupted about two hours later.

Police records showed Flores had reported thefts of his gamecocks twice last month.

In one instance, he reported losing five worth $1,000, and one worth $150 in a separate incident.

State law makes cockfighting illegal, but does not ban breeding and selling game birds.

According to the city attorney's office, keeping chickens inside city limits is legal if certain guidelines are followed.

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