A Moroccan-American man was shot and killed while sitting in his car in the early morning hours on Oct. 11 in Martindale, Texas, about 40 miles outside of Austin.
Adil Dghoughi, 31, was parked in a rural neighborhood late at night. According to local reports, Dghoughi was shot through the window of the car and died on the scene.
The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said they responded to a report of a shooting at 3:42 a.m. They said a homeowner “confronted a suspicious vehicle” that was parked outside the residence.
In a statement, they said, “the shooter in this case is cooperative.” There is a search warrant out and the investigation is active and ongoing, they added. But the sheriff’s office also said the shooter is not in custody.
No other details have been released by law enforcement, leaving Dghoughi’s family perplexed and looking for answers.
A copy of the incident report obtained by Buzzfeed says the shooter was a 65-year-old man who used a handgun. Notably, the report also says Dghoughi was a victim of murder. NPR has not independently seen the incident report.
When reached by NPR, Kyle McConnell, the public information officer at the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, said with the investigation of the shooting in Martindale ongoing, they are not answering any questions or releasing further information.
Stand your ground laws in Texas
Whether the shooter could face legal penalty is complicated given Texas law, commonly referred to as “stand your ground.” Essentially, a person who commits an act of violence can be protected under self-defense. Someone who is defending their property, for example, isn’t required to back down or retreat.
As NPR member station KUT noted, though, a self-defense explanation isn’t a “get-out-of-jail-free card.” Usually, it’s brought up after someone has been charged or arrested.
“In most situations, the police will arrest and ask questions later,” says Millie Thompson, an Austin-based defense lawyer told KUT in 2018.
But there’s a history of self-defense laws being invoked when Black people are unjustly killed, like the cases of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery and Markeis McGlockton. As of 2020, the Southern Poverty Law Center says 27 states have stand your ground laws.
In the case of Dghoughi, the Council on American Islamic Relations is speaking out against it.
“Stand your ground laws across our nation have a history of being used to commit legal violence against people of color,” Faizan Syed, executive director of CAIR-Austin, said.
Dghoughi’s family is trying to hire a lawyer
Dghoughi’s family and friends have been raising money to hire a private investigator and lawyer “to ensure justice is served for Adil and his family.”
CAIR is also demanding a “complete and independent investigation” of the incident.
“This incident is tragic to the family who lost a loved one under suspicious circumstances. We call for an independent and transparent investigation into the killing of Mr. Dghoughi, who was unarmed and in his car when shot,” Syed said.
Dghoughi immigrated to the U.S. in 2013 and received his master’s degree in financial analysis from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. Dghoughi moved to Texas in 2019 to live near his brother, and a year later moved to Austin, Buzzfeed reported.
CAIR said there will be a vigil for Dghoughi outside the Texas state capitol building in Austin on Saturday.