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Homeowner shoots at burglar, gets arrested (Utah)

Around 4p.m. Thursday (January 31st) a Layton, Utah man named Clare B. Niederhauser came home to find a strange car with two occupants, an black woman and an "older"black man, parked in his driveway.

When Clare pulled up the driver of the unknown car honked his horn. That's when a man, identified by police as Robert Santos Cruz, walked out the front door holding a pry bar in his hands.

What would you do?

Clare grabbed his gun from his car held it on Cruz, who wisely put the bar down and got on the ground. That's when the two people in the car began to back out of the driveway. Clare fired two shots in an attempt to disable the vehicle - one at the tires and one at the engine but the suspects fled because this isn't a movie.

Clare continued to hold Cruz at gunpoint while he called 911. When the first officer arrived, he started a conversation with Clare. At that point, Cruz tried to make a break for it and ran off.

As Cruz ran into the back yard, Clare fired a single shot off target from Cruz and he was then told by officers to stop and holster his weapon.

Cruz was arrested later nearby by other officers. Both Cruz and Clare were arrested although Clare was immediately released.

It appears Clare will be charged with two counts of reckless endangerment because the by the time he fired the burglars had either surrendered or were in the process of fleeing.

Utah state court records indicate that Cruz was sentenced to the Utah State Prison in 1995 and 2003 on drug and stolen vehicle related charges. A warrant was also issued for his arrest four weeks ago out of Millard County on felony drug-related charges.

Posts: News / Homeowner shoots at burglar, gets arrested (Utah)

Posted By: barstoolguru
02/02/13 12:45 PM

Either I am missing some details or they got twisted, the homeowner shot twice but the article does not say where he was aiming at (never said a car) and the article never said the home owner is being charged with a crime

Quoted from the article: No one was injured, and police are investigating when the shots were fired and where the man was aiming.
Quote #2: Police arrived as the suspected burglar ran from the home, but they apprehended and arrested him nearby

nothing mentioned about the home owner shooting at the suppect after the cops showed up
Posted By: holymoleygone
02/02/13 11:40 PM

Ah, Jason was correct but here is follow-up story. I guess warning shots are not allowed in Layton Utah. Must be to conserve ammunition :~)
Posted By: barstoolguru
02/03/13 11:50 AM

Thank for posting the second article, it help clear things up. This is another clear case that cops are not your friends and never talk with them without a lawyer present
Posted By: Jason
02/03/13 02:27 PM

Thanks HM,

It's definitely a case of "know your local laws" as well as "the news really sucks in Layton, Utah".
Posted By: barstoolguru
02/03/13 04:17 PM

I know some of you think I am anti-cop and I hate to sound like that but if this guy talked with his lawyer before the cops his story would have been better for him. Those two shots might be more like bad aim instead of warning shots. Something to remember too is with a lawyer you MAKE one statement instead of 20 to different people trying to find flaws in it or twist your words while you are under stress
Posted By: wayneb123
02/05/13 03:17 PM

Please help us get the truth out on this story. Not the Police or the Media version. We need your help...
Posted By: Michael
02/05/13 03:36 PM

I just read that blog wayne posted at I have to say, it doesn't change my opinion that much. CCW carriers are not cops and shouldnt be shooting to protect property or keep someone from escaping.. Now that said, slap this guy on the wrist at most. I do hope he gets off, but I don't think the cops acted wrong. We can't have people firing guns to protect property or to "keep the criminals from getting away" shit will get out of hand real quick if that's allowed.

Cops aren't supposed to assess whether or not a crime should or shouldnt be enforced. thats for the judge and jury. i really do hope he beats the wrap though. a good man shouldnt have to go to jail because of bad judgement used in a situation created by criminals.
Posted By: Tisiphone
02/05/13 06:01 PM

Boy... there's really a line somewhere between vigilantism and castle doctrine. I understand he was initially surrounded by possibly armed, hostile people, but he fired at a fleeing suspect. He would need to prove to me that there was really a threat to his life or property from those people at that time.