HOUSTON – Houston Police will soon be able to question a man who shot and killed a robber inside a taco shop in southwest Houston late Thursday, police said.
Officers responded to reports of a shooting at the Ranchito #4 Taqueria in the 6900 block of South Gessner Road at around 11 p.m.
Lt. R. Willkens with HPD said a masked man with what was believed to be a “plastic gun” pointed it at customers who were eating inside the restaurant and demanded their wallets and money.
Surveillance video showed customers throwing cash to the floor as the robber walked to each customer one by one, waving what appeared to be a gun around.
When the robber walked past a man sitting in one of the booths, the video shows him get up from his seat, pull a gun, and shoot the robber several times.
The robber died at the scene.
“The person he shot was in the process of committing robbery and consequently his use of force in defense of himself and innocent third parties is completely justified in Texas,” said former HPD officer, now lawyer, Thomas Nixon. “He was reasonably in fear of serious bodily injury or death.”
Nixon said the video helps discern without testimony, and without knowing who the shooter is, that it was justified.
“It is a justifiable homicide, but the grand jury in Harris County is going to want to know all parties involved in the homicide so that they can investigate,” he said.
Police said the shooter recovered the stolen money from the robber’s pocket and returned the money to other patrons.
The shooter could be heard on surveillance video saying, “Come get your money.”
He and other customers did not stay at the scene before officers arrived.
Nixon said the shooter had no obligation to stay at the scene and explain himself since he didn’t commit a crime. There are only two crimes in which someone has to stay on the scene under Texas law, he said, both involving vehicle accidents.
On Sunday, HPD representatives said “an attorney representing the diner that shot the robbery suspect at the Taqueria contacted HPD to set up a time for the shooter to come in and talk to investigators. The details of the meeting are still in the works.”
“Everyone has left the store except the owners and workers of the store,” said Lt. Willkens. “It would be great if they would come back to the scene and talk to us or call HPD homicide. They need to give us their statements especially the individual who did the shooting and left.”
Anyone with information in this case is urged to call HPD Homicide Unit at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.