HOUSTON -- A Heights homeowner says he has no regrets about how he reacted to a frightening ambush inside his own garage.
The confrontation happened around midnight on Friday in the 2500 block of White Oak Drive near Studewood after James Henkel parked his car and opened his driver’s side door.
Henkel soon found himself staring into the eyes of a criminal and the barrel of a gun. He said it took him a couple of seconds to realize what was happening in his backyard garage.
“Pretty quickly I realized, oh good grief, this is what’s going on,” explained Henkel. “He had to have been stalking around, looking for something.”
Henkel plays guitar for a Beatles cover band and had just finished a late performance. It was later than he normally returns home, and he believes the criminal was prowling for a target.
He said the intruder didn’t allow him to get out of his car.
“He’s got his leg holding this door, and he’s grabbing me. We’re arguing back and forth,” recalled Henkel. “He had the gun in his right hand. He was like, ‘Give me your money, don’t make me shoot you.’”
The intruder proceeded to ask for Henkel’s car keys.
Henkel said his gut told him to not give in. The scuffle continued, but Henkel stood his ground.
“The guys who are doing this need to not think I can get 100 bucks easy,” said Henkel.
It was over not long after it began. Henkel believes the armed man wanted easy money but didn’t intend to hurt him.
“[People like this] need to get shot,” he said. “Things need to go wrong for them.”
Neighbors who are on edge after the brazen attempted robbery aren’t sure if they would’ve reacted the same way.
“The man could’ve shot him. You have to judge if what he wants is worth giving up your life,” said neighbor Suzanne Bloom.
Henkel said he had been mentally prepared for this kind of moment and hopes he sent a message to the criminal who confronted him.
“If I had given him all my stuff, there’d be him out there wandering with my license, my credit cards, and the key to my front door,” added Henkel. “I just wasn’t going to roll over.”
Henkel traveled to a nearby Valero gas station after the ordeal.
He flagged down an officer and filled out a report.
He described the suspect as approximately 30 years old, either Caucasian or Hispanic, about 5’7” and weighing about 140 pounds. He said the intruder was wearing a black pullover and a wool cap.