An off-duty officer with the Houston Police Department fatally shot a robbery suspect outside a convenience store on Sunday night. The veteran cop was coming to the rescue of a man who was jumped and beaten by two men as he was leaving the store with groceries.
The officer, identified as 22-year Houston Police Department veteran C. Rodriguez, told investigators he noticed two men hiding behind a dumpster outside of the store, arousing his suspicion. He then saw the men jump out and start beating the victim.
Police say Rodriguez rolled down his window and ordered the suspects to stop. It wasn’t entirely clear if the officer already had his gun drawn.
Rather than complying, one of the suspects reportedly lifted up his shirt to show the cop his own gun and started walking towards him in a threatening manner.
Rodriguez neutralized the threat with a very accurate shot. The suspect, identified as 17-year-old Oscar Gaspar, reportedly ran into a nearby home where he died. Though some witnesses, including one of the criminal’s friends, claimed the suspect didn’t have a gun, police recovered a handgun at the scene, according to KTRK-TV.
“He was inside the truck the entire time, the suspect was walking toward him, gaining ground on him, facing him—right on—showing the pistol. At that point the officer wasn’t taking any chances,” HPD spokesman John Cannon told KHOU-TV.
The second suspect was also apprehended. Though he was beaten, the victim will be just fine, police said.
“This officer-involved shooting is still under investigation and has been referred to the district attorney’s office,” KTRK-TV reports.