A 25-year-old man is facing charges for allegedly tracking down the man, 41, who stole his car in St. Charles County.
Brandon Cauthen, 25, is charged with assault and armed criminal action.
The shooting happened at McDonough and 6th Street in the historic downtown area in St. Charles just before 10 p.m. on March 22.
Kevin Reece told News 4, "There was a bunch of gunfire right here. There was a series of shots and then a couple more shots."
Police say Cauthen drove away from the scene to report he had shot a man who stole his car.
According to the 25-year-old, the thief stole his vehicle in the 5000 block of O’Fallon Lakes Drive in O’Fallon Missouri while it was running but unattended. The shooter was able to use a tracking device to locate his car in the 800 block of 6th Street in St. Charles, and the 41-year-old was still inside it.
Cauthen confronted the man and believing him to be armed, shot him. The suspected thief got out of the car and was seen staggering through a yard.
St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar said their evidence shows Cauthen was not in danger and this is a prime example of why people cannot take justice into their own hands.
"There's a predatory element to this, he had 20, 25 minutes to reflect on what he was doing he easily could have called police ahead of time, he was not in a situation where he was in any sort of danger or fear, he sought out the danger to be honest," said Lohmar.
Firearm instructor Paul Bastean said these kinds of incidents were his fear when Missouri did away with Conceal Carry training requirments. But he says it is imperative for every gun owner to know the laws.
"You can't use deadly force in protection of property, some people disagree with that, but that is the law," said Bastean.
The Castle Law Doctrine does not extend to protecting your car.
On the night of the shooting, Tommy Atkinson said, "We saw someone walk up our side street here and then kind of fall into our yard. Started walking in our yard toward the front of our front door, you know kind of stumbling. At that point, I just ducked and immediately I didn't know what was going on if he was the gunman or something."
A St. Charles resident called police after the suspect knocked on her door.
"By the time I opened it, I heard banging across the street at my neighbor's house, so I closed the door and ran to the window and I saw a man stumbling along the sidewalk yelling for help, so I grabbed my cell phone to call the police," said Tracy Palacios. "At that point and then the guy was walking across the street, fell on his face, got back up and stumbled further down the road."
The suspected thief was taken to a hospital in serious condition. Police say he has not yet been charged because the investigation remains underway.
Cauthen is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.
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