A customer fatally shot a robber in the head after he held up a Texas restaurant with a fake gun – and police are now searching for the vigilante who helped get the stolen money back to the patrons.
The robber, believed to be in his 20s, entered Ranchito #4 Taqueria in southwest Houston on Thursday night dressed in a black ski mask and gloves before ambushing 10 customers and demanding their money at gunpoint.
Footage shows the shouting man wave what is described to be a pistol around the restaurant, while customers drop to the ground and relinquish their belongings.
But as the man moved towards the door, one of the patrons – recorded by police as either white or Hispanic – unveiled his own gun and shot the robber.
Full clip with audio of self defense shooting in Houston robberypic.twitter.com/SGj2dq20mj
— Nuance Bro (@NuanceBro) January 7, 2023
He fired nine times – one of which was in the head – causing him to fall to the ground. The customer, wearing a grey t-shirt and jeans, then gathered the stolen money and cellphones and started giving it back to the people they were stolen from.
Police have not filed any charges and just want to talk to the customer in the footage.
He then left the scene in a dusty pickup truck at around 11:30pm on January 5, along with the other customers in the taqueria on South Gessner Road.
Investigators say that they want to find the pictured man for his part in the shooting – and that no charges have been filed yet.
The identity of the robber has not yet been disclosed – but police believe the gun he was brandishing around the restaurant might have been a plastic BB gun.
HPD Homicide Division Sergeants M. Arrington, C. Duncan and Detectives S. Overstreet and L. Lovelace said in a report: ‘Officers were dispatched to a shooting call at the restaurant at the above address and observed an unknown black male in all black clothing, a black ski mask, and black gloves had been shot multiple times inside the business.
‘Paramedics pronounced him deceased. 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.
‘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.’
Pedro Lopez, owner of the taqueria, said he and his employees are still in shock.
He told ABC13: ‘Everyone was scared, nervous. I was too. Some customers were seated here, others were over there, he go the money and was going to leave
‘You never really know what is going to happen.’
It is a 1970s or ’80s model pickup truck with no bed in a rusty-red color. Cops are hoping that this may lead them to the man they are wishing to speak to.
Experts believe that the customer will most likely not face charges – as his use of excessive, deadly force was justified considering the circumstances.
Former Houston police officer, now lawyer, Thomas Nixon said: ‘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.’
Nathan Beedle with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office believes that the shooting was justified, adding: ‘I can point you exactly where it is in the law, 9.31 and 9.32 of the penal code.
‘Whether someone uses deadly force in the situation, that is presumed to be correct under Texas law.’
?#WATCH: Self-defense shooting of armed robber at a restaurant
Watch as a brave customer at a taqueria shot restaurant shot and killed an armed criminal who was robbing from other customers. Houston police are now looking for that person for questioning pic.twitter.com/g7EYjms5PZ
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) January 7, 2023
Houston Police are seeking to question a robbery victim who shot dead a masked male who used a realistic-looking fake handgun to rob people at the Ranchito Taqueria on Jan. 5. Because the robber was black, some leftists say this was an unjustified shooting.https://t.co/nij2ED2kp5
— Andy Ngô ?️? (@MrAndyNgo) January 8, 2023