Just before midnight on Christmas Eve, Gareth Long woke to a noise outside his bedroom door. He got out of bed, grabbed a handgun and went to investigate.
In the hallway of his Cedar Hill home, Long's attorney told The Dallas Morning News, he encountered a stranger. Several times, Long told the man he was armed and asked the intruder to leave. When he wouldn't, Long fired.
The man, identified by police as 31-year-old Joshua Slaven, was pronounced dead one minute before the clock struck midnight.
Slaven is reportedly the stepson of Cedar Hill Mayor Rob Franke, who lives a couple of blocks away from Long on the same street.
According to court records, Slaven wasn't supposed to be at either home. The Morning News reports that he was arrested on November 25 for violating a protective order after showing up at the mayor's home and attempting to persuade his sister to let him in.
Long's lawyer, Chris Knox, says Long's actions were justified under Texas' castle doctrine.
"It's very unfortunate that Mr. Long was forced into a position of having to defend himself, his wife and his home from a nighttime intruder," Knox told the News. "Nobody ever asks to be placed in such a life-threatening position, but Mr. Long's actions were absolutely justified and completely protected under Texas law."
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.