Off duty Houston firefighter Sam Keen was shot dead by his neighbor on St. Patrick’s day, after a night of drinking at a local bar. The drunk firefighter had been asked to leave a South Montgomery County bar by employees and his friends put him in a cab on his way home. Unfortunately, Keen never made it home.
The cab drove the drunk firefighter to the right street and almost the correct home, he just happened to be one address off. Sam Keen left the vehicle and staggered up to the residence he believed was his home. It was only around 9:30 pm when the firefighter made his way to the door and began jiggling his keys, trying to force the door open.
Keen’s frightened, 64-year-old neighbor was home at the time and was startled by the man outside of her home. Afraid that the drunk firefighter might actually be an intruder, the neighbor called out for him to leave her alone. When he persisted, she threatened the intruder, letting him know that she had a gun. Apparently too drunk to understand or comply with the warnings, Keen continued to attempt to pry his way into the home. That’s when the woman shot her neighbor dead, firing two rounds through the door. She then called 911.
Sam Keen was taken to Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, where he was pronounced dead. Keen was 27 and married to another Houston firefighter. It is not being disputed by authorities that the Houston firefighter was drunk. According to Montgomery County Sherrif’s Office Lt. Brady Fitzgerald, investigators have confirmed “that (Keen) was intoxicated when he went to her house.”
The neighbor who shot him has not been formally charged as is common in Texas with home invasion shootings. Instead, she will appear before a grand jury where her fate will be determined. There will be many questions surrounding the shooting, and it is sure to be a difficult process. Neighbor George Henry told KHOU, “She’s a good woman, I known her about five years. She’s a very nice person.” One concern that will be investigated is why the woman waited until after shooting to call 911.
As far as authorities can tell, even though Keen was drunk, there is no reason to suspect that he had done anything illegal prior to arriving at his neighbor’s door. Mayor Annise Parker told the press, “My understanding is that the firefighter, off-duty, had been out. He did what he was supposed to do: he took a cab ride home, got dropped off in the wrong place and wasn’t aware of it.” Tragically, that mistake proved fatal.
Houston firefighters put their flags at half mast on Tuesday in honor of their fallen family member, even if his death was in a tragic off duty accident.
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