Houston robbery shooting: Did vigilante customer go too far in killing robbery suspect at taqueria? Patron flees taco store after shooting robber as cops seek man who the internet remains divided whether they shot in self defense or not?
Vigilante justice gone amok? Texas authorities are seeking the whereabouts of a man caught on surveillance video shooting dead an armed robber who had momentarily demanded patrons hand over their money at a Houston area restaurant .
The shooting unfolded inside of Ranchito Taqueria around 11:30 p.m. Thursday when a masked suspect walked in the front door, pointed a gun at customers and demanded their money and wallets, Houston Police Department said.
Footage shows terrified customers hiding under tables as the robber, dressed in all black, going around and grabbing their belongings, which some had flung on the floor.
As the robber heads to the door to leave, seemingly content with his trove and making a break for it, a patron sitting in a booth suddenly stands up and opens fire on the suspect with a handgun, video shows.
Robber killed in Houston Taco shooting was career criminal as jury to decide if shooter face charges
Did customer fear for his life or others around him?
Then, while standing right over the robber, the customer shoots him once more at point-blank range, video shows.
The customer then collected the stolen money from the suspect and returned it to other patrons before he and other customers fled the restaurant, according to police.
The robbery suspect, identified only as a man believed to be in his 20s, was declared dead at the scene by paramedics, police said.
Investigators said they ‘want to speak with the man for his role in the shooting’ and asked the public for help identifying the shooter. It remains unclear if any charges will be filed against the vigilante shooter.
‘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,’ said KHOU Legal Analyst Carmen Roe.
Roe said it appears to be self defense, and even if the suspect’s gun was fake the customers in the restaurant ‘clearly believed it was a real gun.’
‘If you’re justified in shooting the first bullet, you’re justified in continuing to shoot until the deadly threat is no longer there,’ she said.
A question of self defense or vigilante justice?
Roe said that she would have advised the man to remain at the scene and answer questions from police there, ‘but at the same time, you have no obligation to stay on the scene of a situation like that.’
Surveillance footage obtained by police shows the shooter get into his vehicle, described as a 1970s and 1980s model pickup truck with no bed, before driving off.
Social media has debated whether the gunfire was necessary and a case of self defense.
And then there were these responses on social media that caught this author’s attention. See what you think?
‘I’d say the first round of shots was legitimate self defense. It’s going to be difficult to claim self defense on the 2nd round of shots though, given the perp was already down and motionless by then.’
‘Robber got what he deserved.’
CAUGHT ON VIDEO: A customer at a taqueria shot and killed a robber at the restaurant on S. Gessner in southwest Houston, police said.
— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) January 6, 2023
Hero or taking law into their own hands?
‘The hero was possibly a retired or active cop. He held his weapon exactly like the police are trained to do. And they are also trained to keep shooting until they are certain the threat is unquestionably eliminated. Good work!’
‘This is what society has come to as the result of woke prosecutors, judges, and mayors. If they won’t do their jobs then citizens will have to take justice into their own hands.’
‘Give that man a medal. Avoided giving progressive lawyers a chance to get him off (and saved us all the expense of a trial).’
He did a public service. Leave the guy alone.
Suicide by chicken quesadilla.