HOUSTON – A 29-year-old man was out on a date with a woman when police said he shot and killed another man who allegedly scammed him out of money while posing as a parking attendant.
Erick Aguirre has been charged with murder for the shooting death of 46-year-old Elliot Nix.
Prosecutors said Aguirre was already out on probation for aggravated assault in South Texas at the time of the shooting.
His bond has been set at $200,000 during Thursday’s court appearance.
According to investigators, on April 11, the couple parked separately in a lot at Lamar Street and Saint Emanuel Street in east downtown, also known as “EaDo.”
They were approached by Nix, who claimed to be a parking attendant and asked for a total of $40 for both cars.
Aguirre then walked to a nearby corner store and returned with the cash before the couple went to Rodeo Goat, a restaurant across the street.
“There was a waiter who knew that the guy was scamming people for parking, and he advised them, ‘Hey, that guy is scamming you for parking,’” attorney for Aguirre’s date, Rick DeToto, said.
Employees of EaDo Glass and Smoke then watched Aguirre sprint to his car, grab a pistol, and chase after Nix. He then allegedly fatally shot Nix and left his body on the side of Chartres Street.
“The penal code in Texas, and in 49 other states, and in most civilized countries, doesn’t give you any legal basis to shoot and kill someone who ripped you off,” KPRC 2 Legal Analyst Brian Wice said. “This could have been theft by false pretense. But regardless of whether or not it was, the penal code, not to mention common sense, says that you can’t use deadly force.”
Aguirre returned the gun to his car, as observed by smoke shop employees, then to his date at the burger restaurant.
“She knows that he was upset, and he went after the person that allegedly scammed them, but they went to have dinner, and at some point, the defendant said he was uncomfortable with the restaurant and they left,” DeToto said.
She didn’t realize what happened until the next day when Houston police released surveillance images of the couple and said they were wanted for questioning in the fatal shooting.
According to court documents, the date continued hours into the evening, and within 24 hours, two Crime Stoppers tips identified the couple.
She voluntarily interviewed with police on April 13.
“She wanted to do the right thing. She wanted to make sure that she came forward and told the police what she knew,” DeToto said.
Authorities issued a warrant for Aguirre’s arrest on April 15. He was arrested in the Corpus Christi area and brought back to Harris County, where he was booked into jail on Tuesday.