A family of four is facing murder charges after they killed a neighbor in what authorities are calling a “tragic case of mistaken identity,” ABC13 in Texas reported.
Nineteen-year-old Joe Argueta, along with his mother and father, 39-year-old Florinda Argueta and 45-year-old Luis Argueta, plus his uncle, 29-year-old Margarito Alcantar, were all charged with the murder of Eddie Clark III, a 29-year-old Black man from Katy, Texas.
This altercation reportedly took place Monday night on May 17, when Clark was cornered, chased down, and shot to death around the corner from his home in the Westminster Landing subdivision of the Houston suburb. The victim was said to have been driving home at the time of the incident. When authorities on the scene around 11:30 p.m., they found Clark’s car crashed into a tree on a neighbor’s property. He managed to exit the vehicle but collapsed a block away from the crash site.
In a statement, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said the Argueta family and Alcantar were looking for a teen they believed was responsible for a pattern of vandalism of their property. Records show they filed several reports with the sheriff’s office regarding the damages to their home and vehicles. Authorities listed a black Dodge Charger as the “possible suspect vehicle” in one of the reports.
In a criminal complaint obtained by People, Joe told a deputy that a teenager “had been damaging his home and threatening him for a while over an ex-girlfriend” and that he and his family devised a place to “take care of” the problem. Joe claimed that around 11:30 that evening, he spotted a car he “believed was related to [the teen] drive near his home, and he assumed the occupant of the vehicle was the same person.” The car was actually a dark gray Dodge Challenger and not a black Dodge Charger, as stated in the report.
He then told police he chased the vehicle on foot while his mother followed suit in her car and tried to block the victim from escaping. Clark was attempting to drive off when “two male family members approached the Challenger on foot,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release. “One male was armed with a baseball bat and the other male with a pistol. When the Challenger attempted to flee, the male with the pistol fired multiple gunshots at the passenger side of the Challenger.”
Clark was shot in the torso and subsequently crashed into a nearby tree. He was later flown to Hermann Hospital, where he died of his injuries. A neighbor’s home security video captured a portion of the incident.
Joe posted his $50,000 bond the following Wednesday. “This is an example of taking the law into your own hands,” a hearing officer told the teen. “Not going through the proper authorities to resolve any other harm or destruction that was being done to your own residence or your own home. It still doesn’t justify taking the law into your own hands and mistaking the person.”
Joe’s mother was also released, and both are scheduled for an arraignment on May 27. Neither has a criminal history in Harris County. Meanwhile, Luis Argueta and Margarito Alcantar have not been arrested, according to the Harris County District Clerk website. The pair fled the scene before police arrived.