Viewers, neighbors speak out about shooting of boy

Posted at: 11/12/2012 6:38 PM
Updated at: 11/12/2012 10:26 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News

Photo: Michael Zamora
Photo: Michael Zamora

Viewer comments have been pouring into KOB Eyewitness News 4's newsroom about the Albuquerque man who police said shot a 13-year-old boy who he thought was stealing his car.

Michael Zamora claimed he was protecting his family and property when he went outside with his gun.

KOB tried to contact a number of authorities, from law enforcement officials to the district attorney, to discuss what would justify defense of self or property in New Mexico.

No one wanted to speak on camera for the same reason: Each case is open for interpretation in court.

Neighbors who spoke with KOB said if they caught someone on their property in the middle of the night, chances are they would do the same thing.

"If I see it's a man, I'm going to probably shoot him. If it's a kid, I don't need a gun, I'll take care of the kid with my hands," one man said.

Without hesitation, other neighbors said they can understand why Zamora acted the way police said he did at 3 a.m. Saturday, when he saw a 13-year-old boy in his driveway.

The teen told KOB he snuck out with some friends and was playing around when he hid under Zamora's truck.

Zamora went outside with his gun and told police he thought the boy was about to steal his truck.

Zamora claimed the boy even punched him in the face.

"Told me to get the (censored) on the ground, so I put my hands up and I got on my knees.  And then he grabbed me by the back of my shirt," the boy told KOB in an interview Sunday.

The teen told police Zamora dragged him into his garage, zip-tied his wrists and kept him inside until police arrived.

He also had a bullet in his shoulder, but Zamora said it was an accident and he did not mean to shoot him.

"I was just protecting my property and my family, you know. That's all I can do.  I think any other red-blooded American would have done the same thing," Zamora said.

According to the Uniform Jury Instruction, in New Mexico, self-defense is justified when, "There was an appearance and fear of immediate danger or death or great bodily harm to the defendant."

A retired judge told KOB New Mexico does have a Stand Your Ground Law that explains, if a person is attacked, they can stand their ground; adding, there is no law in New Mexico that state a person can use deadly force in defense of property.

Regardless, neighbors told KOB they stand behind Zamora.

"Oh yeah, if somebody is messing around with your stuff and your property then I feel like nowadays that's the only thing you can do," a man said.

Zamora is charged with false imprisonment and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.