A man who shot and killed another man who was stealing his car outside his home has been charged with second-degree murder as well as involuntary manslaughter, St. Louis media reports say.
Police said Charles Lewis Flagg III, of Lake St. Louis, was charged in St. Charles County after he said he shot the suspected car thief. The deceased was identified as 31-year-old Shawn T. Jimenez.
Flagg told police the morning of Nov. 4 that he caught Jimenez in the process of stealing his car outside his home on Monterey Cypress Drive, KSDK reported. Police said Flagg got out of bed and went outside with a .357-caliber magnum revolver when he heard his car alarm sounding. Flagg told police he yelled at Jimenez to stop and shot at the windshield, but the man apparently drove off with the car, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Police said Flagg shot three to five more rounds toward the car as it traveled down Lake St. Louis Boulevard. The man in the driver’s seat, Jimenez, was hit by gunfire at least once in the chest, the Post-Dispatch reported. Police said the car had been driven a block away and came to a stop, striking a home.
The charges came after a review of Missouri’s “castle doctrine,” which states that deadly force in defending oneself could be justified if a person is in fear for his or her life. In this case, police and prosecutors said Flagg gave no indication that he felt threatened.
“The takeaway from this case … is if you’re going to have the privilege of being a gun owner — which you do, very much so in this state — you also have the responsibility of knowing what the rules are,” St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar told reporters at a news conference Wednesday. “We cannot allow this to turn into the Wild West.”
Flagg was not in police custody as of Wednesday, but reports said his bail was set at $100,000.