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Man interrupted dinner date to kill parking lot scammer over $40, police say

Image source: Houston Police Department

Police say a man who interrupted a dinner date to kill a parking lot scammer was arrested on murder charges Tuesday.

Erick Aguirre, 29, was arrested north of Corpus Christi, Texas Tuesday, the New York Times reported. He is charged in connection with the April 11 death of 46-year-old Elliot Nix in Houston. He was jailed on a $200,000 bond after an arraignment Thursday.

Aguirre and his date, Melanie Castillo, arrived in separate cars for a date at a restaurant called the Rodeo Goat on the night of the shooting, according to the Times.

Once they parked, a man approached them to pay a $20 parking fee each car. Aguirre paid, and the couple went on to the restaurant. When they got to the Rodeo Goat, a worker told them the seeming parking attendant was actually a "scammer."

Castillo, who voluntarily gave a statement to police two days after the shooting, reportedly said Aguirre "sprinted" back to the cars while she waited outside the restaurant.

A witness from a nearby smoke shop told police he saw Aguirre pull a pistol from his car. Next, he heard a gunshot, saw Aguirre return to the car with the gun, then saw Aguirre go back to Rodeo Goat, according to the Times' review of court documents.

Castillo, the woman on the date, said Aguirre told her he "just scared the guy." The pair went inside the restaurant, only to leave shortly after when Aguirre suggested going someplace else.

"She was devastated to learn of the death," Castillo's attorney, Rock DeToto, told the Times. He added that Castillo was "shocked to see a photo of herself on the news and to hear that she was a person of interest."

"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," legal analyst Brian Wice told KPRC.

"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."

South Central officers found Nix unresponsive when they responded to a shooting call at 1300 Chartres Street Tuesday, according to a statement from HPD. Houston Fire Department paramedics transferred Nix to a local hospital in critical condition where doctors pronounced him dead.

Harris County Sheriff's Office records indicate a court date has been set for June 27.

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