Four family members in Texas attempted to get revenge on someone who was repeatedly vandalizing their home — but they ended up killing an innocent neighbor in a tragic case of mistaken identity, police said.
Florinda Argueta, 39, had gone to Houston police about her family’s property, including a car, getting vandalized by who she believed was a teenager connected with her son Joe Argueta’s ex-girlfriend, according to the Daily Beast.
Florinda allegedly told officers the teen suspect drove a black Dodge Charger.
On May 17, Eddie Clark III, 29, was heading to his home in the Westminster Landing subdivision in Harris County in his gray Dodge Challenger when Joe Argueta spotted him pass by around 11:30 p.m..
The teenager allegedly told investigators he and his family previously had decided on a plan to “take care of” the issue, Houston’s KTRK-TV reported, citing court records.
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According to authorities, Joe Argueta and two male relatives chased Clark and boxed his car in. When Clark attempted to drive away, Joe Argueta allegedly shot at the car, which crashed into a tree. A bullet struck the victim of mistaken identity in the abdomen and he died at of cardiac arrest.
Joe Argueta, his mother, Florinda Argueta, his father, Luis Argueta, 45, and his uncle, 29-year-old Margarito Alcantar, all now face murder charges. Both Joe and Florinda Argueta were taken into custody while authorities have issued warrants for the father and uncle, who are believed to be on the run, according to KTRK-TV.
“This is an example of taking the law into your own hands,” a court official said at a May 19 hearing for Joe Argueta, who posted $50,000 bond. “Not going through the proper authorities to resolve any other harm or destruction that was being done to your own residence or your own home. It still doesn't justify taking the law into your own hands and mistaking the person.”
Florinda Arguetta’s bond was set at $20,000.
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