A Webster Groves homeowner who fatally shot an intruder three weeks ago will not face charges, the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announced on Sept. 2.
“These cases are never easy in the sense that any death is tragic. But based on the facts as we know them, this is clearly a case of an individual protecting his home (and family) from an intruder,” St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said in a statement.
Brian A. Vazquez, 43, was shot to death after entering through the back door of a home in the 1400 block of Grant Road near Forest Green Drive at roughly 2:51 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 13, according to Webster Groves Police Lt. Andy Miller.
Police responded to a “burglary in progress” at the residence, which happened to be the same night as widespread power outages in Webster Groves, which included Grant Road.
During the incident, Vazquez was confronted by the homeowner, who was armed with a shotgun, according to police. Miller said the homeowner, whose name has not been released, shot Vazquez when he did not comply with the homeowner’s demands that he leave the residence. Vazquez was then taken to a hospital where he died.
The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office did not say whether Missouri’s Castle Doctrine — the state’s self-defense law — played a role in the decision not to charge the homeowner.
Police identified Vazquez through fingerprints. Vazquez previously lived and worked in Colorado and had been staying with friends in St. Louis.
Several municipal traffic violations in Shrewsbury list Vazquez’s address in the 8900 block of Lou Court in Crestwood. The house on Lou Court is about a mile from the Webster Groves home on Grant Road, but Vazquez had reportedly been staying with a friend at a house less than a block from the one where he was shot and killed.
Police said they haven’t been able to determine why Vazquez entered the home. Friends of Vazquez have said they are certain he meant no harm to the homeowner, and likely wandered into the residence by accident. Friends have also said he may have recently been struggling with mental health issues, and possibly drugs. Vazquez grew and sold marijuana legally while living in Colorado, and later worked growing marijuana plants on a farm in the state of Washington.
Bell spoke to the possibility of Vazquez dealing with mental health issues when he announced the homeowner would not face charges.
“There has been some speculation in the media as to the mental state of the intruder, but even if true, this would have little weight on the homeowner’s ability to protect his family,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this tragedy.”