Man Fires 13 Rounds Through Door At Men Trying to Break Into His Apartment-DGU Video

Police arrested one of two suspects involved in an attempted home invasion robbery that included bullets flying in both directions. On August 19th, two men targeted an apartment in the Oak Cliff neighborhood outside of Dallas, Texas. The two men got more than they bargained for when they attempted to kick in the door of the apartment where renter Ethan Rodriguez and his brother were inside playing video games.

Screen grab from a WFAA Fox 8 News report.

Video From Attempted Oak Cliff, Texas Home Invasion—

We have a great video of the incident, as well as an interview with victim Rodriguez conducted by ABC 8 WFFA Dallas News. I've embedded the video from that report below.

Giving Post-Shooting Interviews—

The video of the crime itself is interesting, but equally interesting are the responses the victim gives to the reporter. While I'm thankful Rodriguez answered the reporter's questions, you should be very careful in what you say during any post shooting interview, especially an interview with the media. This is good advice even if, like in this case, the facts point to a justified use of force. If you have legal representation, consult with them, and if you're on your own, consider if the interview is worth it.

Using Door Bell Cameras—

This is a great example of how beneficial a door bell camera or other surveillance cameras are. What is especially nice about the door bell cameras is not just that you can see who is outside, but that you can communicate to the person through the device. With one installed, you really shouldn't need to open the door to a stranger to find out why they are at your house.

There are two schools of thought on what to say to a stranger when speaking to them through a device like a door bell camera, and there are benefits and drawbacks to each.

One view says that if a stranger comes to your door, you should not answer the door or let them know you're home. This method can work when you're confident the person is actually a salesman and you're not interested. However, it doesn't come without a downside.

dallas apartment home invasion

Screen grab from a WFAA Fox 8 News report.

The other idea is that you should always tell the person you are home, but just can't come to the door right now. The chief argument in favor of this approach is if the person is a criminal, he might try to determine times when the residence is vacant so he can break in without resistance.

The suspects in this incident may have tried to break into this apartment specifically because the person they spoke to on the door bell camera said nobody was home. Then again, maybe not, because one of the two was holding a handgun in his hand as he kicked the door, which seems to show he thought someone could be inside.

The downside to always telling the person you are home, but just can't come to the door is that if a criminal hears a child or woman on the other side of the door or through the door bell camera, they could conclude the person is home alone and doesn't have the means to defend themselves. One thing I recommend when using this method is instead of saying something like “I can't come to the door,” instead say “we are busy and can't come to the door.”

I'm not dogmatic about either approach, and think how you respond will have a lot to do with the ability to recognize if the person there is actually from a company, government organization etc., or if something just seems off based on the time of day, what they look like, or the things they are saying etc.

oak cliff dallas texas home invasion shooting

Screen grab from a WFAA Fox 8 News report.

Asking Questions—

Rodriguez said he believed the suspect was lying about needing to replace the furnace filter. If you think you might actually need to open the door, ask probing questions before doing so. Asking questions you know the answers to is a great strategy. Ask a question like “are you the guy who said he was coming back to check the plumbing leak”? If the guy says, “yeah that's me,” you know he's lying.

Consider it may be a law enforcement officer coming to your door. If it is someone posing as law enforcement, call 911. Give the dispatcher your name and address and ask them if they have any officers dispatched to your house. You don't want to run into confusion.

Man Shot and Killed by Police Responding to Wrong Home

Your Armed Response to the Late Night Knock at the Door Could Get You Killed

Screen grab from a WFAA Fox 8 News report.

Keep The Gun Nearby—

Rodriguez said that he went to get his gun which “was far away.” Some people carry their gun even at home. You might work alone or live in a remote area where the emergency response times are long. Consider keeping a firearm on you, or at worst, close by.

Recognize and Act When Things Don't Seem Right—

Pay attention to your gut. After Rodriguez figured out the man outside was lying, he said he went back to playing video games. We shouldn't assume everyone knocking on our door wants to break in and kill us, but when we've identified someone trying to get inside by lying about who they are, consider calling the police and paying more attention to what's happening outside.

Your Tactical Approach—

Once the suspect started kicking the door and Rodriguez armed himself, he said he took up a position “by his couch”. Consider where you would position yourself to give you the best opportunity to engage someone if they can kick in the door. Behind cover at the end of a hallway or somewhere that gives you distance and allows observation of the person before they see you.

oak cliff home invasion shooting

Screen grab from a WFAA Fox 8 News report.

One of the safety rules is that we need to identify the threat and what is beyond and around it. For this reason, we shouldn't necessarily fire through doors or walls at people we can't see. In this case, Rodriguez had a camera showing exactly where the suspect was standing. He also said that he saw the man kicking the door had a handgun in his hand, and that he feared what would happen if he breached the door.

Consider the Backdrop—

Rodriguez said he “let out” 13 rounds as he fired through the door. Rodriguez recognized that the bullets fired impacted the apartment across from him. He thanked God that the residents of that apartment had just left before the shooting. I am unaware of what happened to the bullets once they hit the neighbors' wall. They might have stopped inside the wall, or continued through with lethal or non-lethal velocity. In any case, there was really no way Rodriguez could anticipate exactly what would happen.

Now, am not saying Rodriguez was wrong for firing. What I am saying is we need to be aware of what is beyond and around our threat or the direction we are shooting and use as much restraint and discretion as possible.

Screen grab from a WFAA Fox 8 News report.

What's Your Plan?

There are many more things we can take from this incident, and Rodriguez' subsequent interview, I just pointed out a few. Have you thought about how you would respond to an incident similar to this? Even if you have, consider this online course called Complete Home Defense. It walks you through everything you need to know about how to establish a proper home defense strategy to defend your family and your home.

complete home defense class

About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.

1 Comment

  1. Old OutdoorsGuy on August 30, 2023 at 11:18 pm

    I realize that this was all recorded on this guy’s “Ring” camera, and I also have doubts that if he was positioned behind his couch that he would have such a sharp angle to fire his weapon from? It appeared that he was firing at least 2′ to the right of the neighbor’s door but, when the perpetrator knocked on the neighbor’s door, it appeared to be directly across from this man’s entry door. And the 2 “mystery” shots returned by the 2 guys trying to break into the residence, that doesn’t sit right with me, because it doesn’t make sense that it did NOT show up on his ring camera whatsoever. I have serious reservations about the integrity of the resident’s story, his nervious glancing around, his very rushed speech pattern, and the general tone of his voice and mannerisms as he went through the description of the encounter are indicative of someone who is winging his way through a story. Too many unnecessary extra details, quick speech patterns, and general nervousness all make me wonder if he didn’t fire a couple of shots from the outside of the door himself to make it look like the perps fired back at him.

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