New York Times reporter Gretel Kovach reported on the tragic shooting death in Dallas of Jeffrey Carter Albrecht, the keyboard player for Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, in "Musician Is Killed For Banging On a Door." But unwittingly or not, that headline (killed for banging on a door -- talk about harsh Texas justice!) suggested the shooting was an overreaction, and Kovach's article further politicized the issue from the second sentence on.
A Texas rock musician was shot to death here early Monday by a neighbor who fired through a closed door, thinking he was scaring off a burglar. The incident occurred just three days after a new law took effect strengthening the right of Texans to use deadly force to protect themselves and their property.The musician, Jeffrey Carter Albrecht, 34, a keyboardist with Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians and the Dallas rock band Sorta, was shot in the head after he startled a man and his wife about 4 a.m. by pounding and kicking at their back door, the police said. Mr. Albrecht had just assaulted his girlfriend, who lives next door and had locked him out of her house, the police said.The neighbor, who has not been identified by the police, was awakened by his wife's screams that someone was breaking into their home, according to the police report. The man yelled for the person to go away, but when the pounding continued, he fired through the top of the door. Mr. Albrecht, who was about 6-foot-5, was struck in the head.The police said the case would be referred to a grand jury for review. Mr. Albrecht's mother, Judith Albrecht, would not say whether she thought the neighbor should be charged with a crime.
(On Wednesday morning, Dallas police said they would not press charges against the homeowner.)
Texas has protected the right to "stand your ground" and use deadly force to protect oneself at home without first trying to retreat since 1995. And a law that took effect on Saturday expanded that so-called "castle doctrine" to apply to public spaces. The law also expanded civil immunity and could make it more difficult for the Albrecht family or relatives of those killed in similar incidents in Texas to win a wrongful-death suit, said James Dark, executive director of the Texas State Rifle Association, which lobbied for the new law.
Marsha McCartney, president of the North Texas chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, called Mr. Albrecht's death "one more gun tragedy.""I'm sure the man who did the shooting feels terrible about it," Ms. McCartney said, "but legally in Texas he can do exactly what he did because he feels frightened."
The Associated Press reported the shooting with additional details of Albrecht striking his girlfriend in the face and "trying to kick in the door" of his neighbor's house (instead of merely "kicking at" the door, as the Times had it). The AP also managed to report the story without calling anti-gun advocates to add "I told you so."