Monday 9 January 2023

Customer Who Fatally Shot Houston Taqueria Robbery Suspect Sought For Questioning

 Texas authorities are searching for a man who fatally shot a suspected robber inside a Houston taco restaurant last week.

The shooting death occurred inside Ranchito Taqueria at approximately 11:30 p.m. CT on Thursday.

“Witnesses told officers the suspect entered the restaurant and pointed a pistol at patrons as he demanded their money. As the suspect collected money from patrons, one of the patrons, described as a white or Hispanic male, produced a gun of his own and shot the suspect multiple times,” police said in a statement.

“The shooter collected the stolen money from the suspect and returned the money to other patrons. He and other patrons (victims) then fled the scene,” police said.

ABC News reported that the suspect was later found to have used a toy gun during the incident, though customers believed it was a real firearm. ABC-13 Houston said that the robber’s firearm was either a plastic air-soft gun or a BB gun, according to Houston Police Detective Lt. R. Willkens.

The identity of the deceased robbery suspect was not revealed in the statement. He is believed to be in his 20s and wore all black, including a black mask and gloves. His verification by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences is pending, according to the police report.

The surveillance images of the customer who shot the alleged robber showed an older male in a t-shirt and jeans carrying a jacket and handgun. Another image of his vehicle showed a late model red pickup truck, likely 1970s or 1980s with no bed, as the vehicle he drove when leaving the restaurant.

[WARNING: Graphic video below.]

No charges have been filed in the incident. Police are asking those with information to come forward with details.

ABC News reported that about 10 people were eating inside the taqueria at the time of the attempted robbery. Surveillance video showed the customer with the firearm shooting the robber multiple times after money was taken from other customers. Nine shots were reportedly heard in the video.

Police are also seeking information from customers who were inside the restaurant at the time, as customers fled before police arrived to investigate the shooting incident. Pedro Lopez, the owner of the establishment, said he and his workers were in shock following the shooting, according to ABC-13.

Nathan Beedle with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office told KHOU-TV Houston that Texas law allows for deadly force when justified by robbery or threat of robbery.

“I can point you exactly where it is in the law, 9.31 and 9.32 of the penal code,” Beedle said. “Whether someone uses deadly force in the situation, that is presumed to be correct under Texas law.”

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