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Published:April 18th, 2014 11:04 EST
Did the Owner of Harper`s Fine Jewelry in Elgin, Juan Torres, Cross the Line?

Did the Owner of Harper`s Fine Jewelry in Elgin, Juan Torres, Cross the Line?

By John G. Kays

The shots were heard at around 12:55 AM Monday morning in Elgin; we now know they were coming from in front of Harper`s Fine Jewelry, which is located in a strip mall (222 U.S. 290 is the address given). This is not just another ordinary burglary attempt of a business; one man died, Robert Trevino, 41, from a single shot coming from a 12-gauge shotgun. 

It`s been reported, Trevino was probably trying to rob the small jewelry store, and was already inside with a hammer in hand, when the owner, unbeknownst the burglar (who perhaps, had hit the store before), was confronted by a ready, willing, and heavily armed owner, Juan Torres, who was apparently perfectly within his legal rights to shoot the intruder.

This right to defend your property is written in Texas law in what`s known as the Castle Doctrine; what`s not so clear, and as the harrowing narrative continues on early last Monday morning, is whether it was okay for Juan Torres to fire his guns some more at a light blue Chevrolet pickup truck parked directly in front of Harper`s.

It turns out, once the police had sorted this incident out, the truck did belong to the now dead burglary suspect, Robert Trevino. But how did the owner know this, at the time when he begins to riddle the vehicle with bullets (12:55 AM, Monday, 4/15/2014)? How many shots did he fire? Where was he standing exactly when discharging his firearms?

The Elgin police chief Chris Bratton has stated to the local news that Juan Torres was firing from right inside his own business door, first with his shotgun, then he picks up a .40 caliber pistol and continues to blast away. While watching footage of KXAN, showing close ups of the shot-up blue Chevy, I was shocked by how many huge bullet holes I saw - we hear, there were 18! 

Elgin investigators confirm there were 5 shotgun shells spent. But how many times did he shoot his .40 caliber pistol? I mean, there were 18 visible bullet holes in Trevino`s truck, which is now in the possession of his cousin. Would that mean 13 were discharged from his handy .40 caliber pistol? Well, I suppose, one bullet could make more than one hole, but still.

And, most of all, did Juan Torres see the two women, likely accomplices of Trevino, inside the Chevy pick up before he started shooting? Their names are given as Sulema Sanchez, 48, and Amanda Yanez, 37, and both have been arrested by the EPD and the Bastrop County Sheriff`s Department (Elgin Courier). 

It seems a little odd that the two women would just sit in the suspect`s truck while he broke into Harper`s Fine Jewelry store, helping himself to some available gold and diamonds! This is the most confident, bodacious, and possibly the stupidest MO I`ve ever heard in my life, for a seasoned burglar to employ! One would think, he`d park his truck somewhere else, then sneak up to store for the heist (this is how it`s done in the movies, anyway!).

It`s lucky the non-participatory twosome, Amanda and Sulemo, got away with only minor injuries, as broken glass and shrapnel from the powerful firearms flew about the pummeled truck. Trevino is a suspect also in an earlier burglary of this same jewelry store; I wonder how the EPD know that? Perhaps Trevino left fingerprints the first time around, and he has a lengthy rap sheet to link him with, which includes assault, evading arrest, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and, of course, burglary. Don`t know of priors for his two lady accomplices? (

Was the owner Juan Torres a vigilante, taking the law in his own hands, or was he simply protecting his own property, perfectly within his own rights? This question will be looked at closely, I`m certain; it looks to me like he knew not to leave the ground of his own business, firing from within safe territory. This leads me to believe the owner gave it much forethought before he began to unload on the suspect`s blue pickup truck.

Well, I don`t know that he had studied up on the Castle Doctrine beforehand, but it does look as if he had a firm plan in place for how to defend his jewelry business, since he had just been hit two weeks before. The proof of this, for me, is he knew not to wander into the strip mall parking lot as he shot up the Chevy But I mean, 18 bullet holes in the vehicle? Didn`t he go a bit crazy? Didn`t he see the two women sitting idly in the truck? Didn`t he cross the line of the law?