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Texas restaurant customer who fatally shot robber, gave stolen cash back to victims, now ready to talk to authorities, police say
Image source: YouTube screenshot

Texas restaurant customer who fatally shot robber, gave stolen cash back to victims, now ready to talk to authorities, police say

Houston police said the restaurant customer who fatally shot a masked robber and gave stolen cash back to victims is now ready to talk to authorities, KHOU-TV reported.

Police on Sunday said an attorney representing the diner in question contacted the department to set up a time for the individual to come in and talk to investigators, KRPC-TV said, adding that details of the meeting are "still in the works.”

What's the background?

Houston police told KHOU in the station's original story that an armed man in a mask entered Ranchito Taqueria on South Gessner near Bellaire Boulevard just before 11:30 p.m. Thursday and demanded money and wallets from customers.

Surveillance video shows the crook going from table to table and taking cash; amid the robbery, two customers tried to take cover underneath a table:

Image source: YouTube screenshot

But seconds later, one of the customers sitting to the side drew a gun and fired at the robber who was walking past him.

KHOU said in its broadcast that it froze the surveillance video before shots were fired but that the full video shows the robber being shot multiple times. KPRC in its video report said nine shots were fired.

Here's the surveillance video:

Raw video: Customer at taqueria shoots robber as he was leavingyoutu.be

Customer who shot robber returned stolen money

What's more, police told KPRC that the customer who shot the robber retrieved the stolen money from the robber’s pocket and returned the money to other patrons.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

In fact, KPRC said the customer could be heard on surveillance video saying, “Come get your money.”

KPRC added that video showed the customer discovering the robber's gun is fake and throwing it against a wall in anger. Investigators told KHOU the robber's gun is a plastic pistol.

Finally, the customer walked to the door, dumped a beverage on the robber lying on the floor, and walked out.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Those inside the restaurant departed before police arrived, KHOU said, adding that there were no reported injuries among customers or restaurant staff.

Police told KHOU that the customer who shot the robber is wanted for questioning, although he hasn't been identified and is not charged. Police also released surveillance images of him:

Two lawyers weigh in on the shooting

Thomas Nixon — a former Houston police officer and now a lawyer — told KPRC that "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. He was reasonably in fear of serious bodily injury or death.”

Nixon added to KPRC that the video shows the shooting 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 also told KPRC.

KHOU legal analyst Carmen Roe told the station the shooting appears to be in self-defense but understands why police still want to talk to the customer who shot the robber.

“One of the reasons that law enforcement is seeking out this individual is to find out whether he was in fear for his life or the lives of the people around him because that’s absolutely essential to a self-defense claim under the law," Roe told the station. “If you’re justified in shooting the first bullet, you’re justified in continuing to shoot until the deadly threat is no longer there."

Roe added to KHOU it doesn't matter that the gun used in the robbery was fake because the threat was real: “Everybody in that restaurant clearly believed it was a real gun."

Another concern has been that the customer left the scene without talking to police, but Roe noted to the station that the customer wasn't legally obligated to do so.

“Staying there to answer questions is important," Roe told KHOU. "It’s something that, as a lawyer, I would have advised him to have done, but at the same time, you have no obligation to stay on the scene of a situation like that," Roe said.


KHOU added that the restaurant owner and employees are calling the customer a hero. The "hero" sentiment is reflected over and over again in numerous comments from the previous tweet from Houston police.

Taco shop customer fatally shoots armed robber, returns money to fellow victims before fleeing s...youtu.be

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Dave Urbanski

Dave Urbanski

Sr. Editor, News

Dave Urbanski is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@DaveVUrbanski →