Reporter Suspended for Berating Senior Citizen Who Fatally Shot Suspected Burglars

October 18th, 2007 9:19 AM

Update added 10/19 (see below)

James Walton has been through a lot recently. The 70 year old senior citizen shot and killed 2 suspected burglars within a three week span at his business and place of residence in Dallas. This prompted a Fox News reporter to track him down and berate him on camera until he broke down and cried.(h/t Malkin, Riehl World View)

The reporter, Rebecca Aguilar, tracked the man down in a parking lot where he was buying a new shot gun to replace the one that was confiscated by police as evidence in the latest incident. From there she followed the man to his car where she stood over him and berated him with questions such as "Are you a trigger happy person? Is that what you wanted to do; shoot to kill?" (video here).

The Dallas police are defending Walton's actions. According to some reports Mr. Walton has made over 40 calls to police concerning break ins.

Police said Mr. Walton is allowed to protect his property. No charges were filed against him Sunday, though the case will be referred to a grand jury, police said.

"He's got a right to defend his property. What gives a stranger the right to go in and vandalize or burglarize his business?" said Dallas police Sgt. Gene Reyes. "He's within every legal right to do this."

Fox News has removed the video of the report and suspended the reporter in response to angry viewer outrage at her demeanor.

Apparently the thought that a person has the right to defend himself and his family on his own property seems to be a foreign concept to some people. The reporter was not merely reporting on the story when she tracked down Mr. Walton, she was accusing him of being a trigger happy person that enjoys shooting people. This is ridiculous. Standing over the man and berating him in such a thug like manner was more than the man could take.

Rebecca Aguilar was just named one of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists' Broadcast Journalists of the Year.

Terry Trippany is the editor and publisher of Webloggin

Update (Ken Shepherd | Oct. 19, 15:17): Bryan at Hot Air has a related item excerpting an e-mail that Aguilar sent a viewer upset with her reporting:

A Dallas viewer started typing off an angry email to KDFW-TV’s Rebecca Aguilar even before her infamous story had finished airing. And she actually replied.

Thanks for your feedback.
First of all, Mr. Walton is the one who told me where he was going to buy his shotgun. Though he didn’t want his face on camera, after he showed us the new weapon…. he did want to share his side of the story. He didn’t want folks to think he was some kind of criminal. That’s why he shared his tears, his remorse, and his side of the story. I also reminded viewers that Mr. Walton did not break any laws, because he was in the right. I’m sorry you took my story the wrong way. You didn’t see my story yesterday…when I pointed out that the man Mr. Walton killed had a criminal record involving theft. Rebecca Aguilar Fox 4 News.

If we were allowed to show a still from the story (KDFW went the C&D route and got the video scrubbed from the internet almost entirely) I’d show a still of Aguilar standing in the open door of Walton’s car while she badgered him and fidgeted with her umbrella. It’s that picture plus Walton’s reaction, combined with Aguilar’s “Are you a trigger happy person?” line that we all “misunderstood.” It’s all our fault. Mea culpa.

It’s also my fault that I started a new genre of jokes at Ms. Aguilar’s expense too. Bad, bad blogger! Another bad, bad blogger has set up an Aguilar-related poll. Be a Democrat, and vote early, often and long after you die.