Man Suspected of Breaking into Car Dies after Being Confronted by Neighbors

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STOCKTON — An attempted car theft turned deadly Sunday night in Stockton after police say neighbors intervened.

Officers say the 35-year-old suspected thief had a heart attack.

“The residents there confronted him and overpowered him,” police spokeswoman Rosie Calderon said.

By the time officers arrived, investigators say the man was dead.

Attorney Allen Sawyer says when it comes to the use of force, the law is explicit — with few exceptions.

“You’re only allowed to use deadly force to defend a person or another person, not property,” he said. “We will assume that deadly force would be appropriate is when someone breaks into your house, ‘cause that’s your home.”

Sawyer adds there is a number of questions that need to be answered, such as if the man had an underlying medical condition.

“It would be critical to know if he had a weapon on him, if he had anything that would make someone think that their life was in danger,” Sawyer said.

Investigators later reported the man did not have any weapons on him at the time.

The San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office says it is waiting for the police report and autopsy before reviewing the case and making a decision whether to file charges against the two men.

For now, police say no charges have been filed.

“At this time, it’s still an ongoing investigation,” Calderon said. “Once we get more information, we’ll be able to release that, but at this point, there has been no arrests made.”

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