5 things for Houstonians to know for Tuesday, September 28

Lawsuit filed against Tesla after accident that injured 5 police officers

Here are things to know for Tuesday, September 28:

1. 17-year-old killed during convenience store robbery in south Houston, police say

A suspect is in custody after police said he killed a 17-year-old during a convenience story robbery in south Houston Monday.

Officers said it happened at 9635 Scott St. around 10:10 p.m. while innocent customers and an employee were feet away.

According to investigators, a man with two guns went into the convenience store. Police said he jumped on the counter, held up the store and demanded the employee and customers not to move. That’s when police say a 17-year-old who also had a gun startled the suspect.

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2. 21-year-old Cypress man sentenced to life in prison for 2017 New Year’s murder

A 21-year-old Cypress man was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of capital murder, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Monday.

Officials said Christopher Rodriguez was 16 years old when he and another suspect, Faith Deleon, lured two 18-year-olds to a Cypress theater parking lot on New Year’s Day in 2017 by saying they wanted to buy a small amount of marijuana.

According to reports, Daniel Gerding and Colyn Timmons met the duo at the Studio Movie Grill in the 8500 block of State Highway 6. Rodriguez and Deleon got into Gerding’s Toyota Camry and demanded money, officials said. Then, according to reports, Rodriguez shot Gerding twice in the back and when Timmons tried to get out of the car, Rodriguez shot him in the face.

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3. Harris County grand jury declines to indict HPD officers fired over death of Nicolas Chavez

A Harris County grand jury declined to indict the Houston police officers fired for their roles in the shooting death of a man who had been experiencing a mental health crisis.

Nicolas Chavez, 27, was killed by police in northeast Houston in April 2020, during a confrontation that was captured on bodycam video and in part on a bystander’s cellphone.

Following an internal affairs investigation, four of the officers who fired their weapons at Chavez during the encounter were fired -- Officers Luis Alvarado, Omar Tapia, Patrick Rubio and Sgt. Benjamin LeBlanc.

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4. Lawsuit filed against Tesla after accident that injured 5 police officers

Tesla and Pappas Restaurants have been named in a lawsuit filed seven months after an accident that injured five police officers in Splendora, Montgomery County.

The Buzbee Law Firm and Muery & Farrell PC filed the suit which alleges Tesla has not done enough to address issues with the automaker’s Autopilot system.

According to the lawsuit, on Feb. 27, 2021, a Tesla Model X - with Autopilot engaged - crashed into several police officers who were involved in a traffic stop on the Eastex Freeway near East River Road. The suit claims all the officers were badly injured.

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5. Hospital bed availability in Houston trending in right direction, doctors say

While an ICU bed is still hard to come by in Southeast Texas, the number of people waiting for a general bed is decreasing, according to the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council which oversees a 25-county region.

“Cautiously, I will say things are improving,” said SETRAC CEO Darrell Pile. “I think we are past the point where someone could die because they can’t get an ICU bed.”

About a month ago, it was a case of too many patients and not enough staffed beds. Loved ones were making pleas to find an open hospital bed and patients were being flown out of state for treatment. Some doctors told KPRC 2 that they googled out-of-state hospitals to find available beds.

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