Residential Video Surveillance Aids Homeowner in Intrusion

Dec. 29--CROSBY -- Startled by a loud noise in the middle of the night, Jay and Russell Jefferies stumbled from their beds early Wednesday to view the monitor of their home security camera to see what had interrupted their slumber.

What they saw jolted them awake.

According to authorities, four heavily armed men were outside their small house in the 3900 block of Crosby Barbers Hill Road trying to kick in the front door about 2 a.m.

The Jefferieses, whom investigators think are brothers, rushed to grab their shotguns and opened fire as the intruders burst through the door shooting, said Harris County sheriff's Sgt. N. Araguz. One brother managed to call 911 in the midst of flying bullets, he said.

By the time Harris County sheriff's deputies responded to the weapons-disturbance call, two suspects had been fatally wounded. Several hours later, deputies arrested the other suspects on charges of aggravated robbery.

Suspects Charles Duran and Rodney Jones, both 19, had fled the scene by car, taking Robert Deleon Jones, 20, and Jonathan Garcia, 19, to San Jacinto Methodist Hospital.

Robert Jones was later taken by helicopter ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, where he was pronounced dead. Garcia died at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital, Araguz said.

Deputies detained Duran and Rodney Jones at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital and took them to the sheriff's office for questioning.

"They were cooperative and gave statements," Araguz said.

The men were arrested and booked into jail. Both have been released -- Duran on a $20,000 bond and Jones on a $30,000 bond, according to jail records.

Investigators said they were told that four suspects had been attempting to rob the home.

The homeowners apparently were within their rights in protecting their property and will not be charged in the shootings at this time, Araguz said.

The Jefferieses were not at home Thursday and couldn't be reached for comment.

A man who lives next door was seen Thursday afternoon screwing a plank of wood to the front door frame of the Jefferieses' home. The man declined to give his name or talk about what happened.

Araguz said investigators do not know if the suspects have been involved in other robberies, but investigators are looking into it. A search of criminal records revealed no criminal histories for the suspects.

He declined to say whether drugs were involved in the case or if the Jefferieses knew the suspects.

Araguz also said he did not know if the Jefferieses had been robbed before, but said the low-tech camera they installed helped alert them to trouble. He said it is not unusual to see homes with security cameras these days. A rise in Christmas display vandalism has partly contributed to the increase in security cameras, he said.

"A lot of people are going that route," Araguz said.

Copyright (c) 2006, Houston Chronicle Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.



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