Moment customer shoots and kills robber who held up Houston restaurant with fake gun: Cops search for vigilante who fired eight bullets into thief’s back and one ‘execution-style’ into his head
- The customer, who police are now trying to track down, shot the man before taking back all the stolen good and returning them to fellow patrons
- Pedro Lopez, owner of the taqueria, said he and his employees are still in shock
- The deceased robber’s identity has not yet been released by police
- Police have not filed any charges – and just want to speak to the customer
- Do you know this man? Get in touch and email email@example.com
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 wearing a black ski mask and gloves before ambushing 10 customers and demanding their money at gunpoint.
Footage shows the shouting man wave what is believed to be a pistol around the restaurant, while customers drop to the ground and hand over their belongings.
But as the man headed towards the door, one of the patrons – described by police as either white or Hispanic – produced his own gun and shot the robber.
He fired nine times – one of which was in the head – causing him to collapse to the ground. The customer, wearing a grey t-shirt and jeans, then collected the stolen money and cellphones and started handing it back to the people they were taken from.
Police have not filed any charges and just want to speak to the customer in the clip.
The customer shot the robber, seen in the red ring, after he entered Ranchito #4 Taqueria and demanded people’s money and cellphones at gunpoint. Police believe that the masked robber was actually using a fake gun
Police now want to speak to this customer, described by cops as either white or Hispanic, who stood up and shot the robber as he was leaving the restaurant in Houston
The customer – seen sitting down with his gun raised – shot the man at least nine times after his robbery
The ‘gunman’ who entered the shop waving his pistol and shouting, was taking money and cellphones from patrons before one customer stood up and shot him
Pedro Lopez, owner of the taqueria, said he and his employees are still in shock but he is glad that his staff and customers were unharmed in the shooting
Self defense or excessive force: Will the shooter face charges?
In Texas, people are allowed to use fatal force when they believe their life or another party’s life is in immediate danger.
Experts say that Texas law also outlines specific instances for aggravated robbery where deadly force is completely justified.
In this case, where the person he shot was in the process of committing an ‘armed’ robbery, the customer’s use of deadly force in self defense is allowed.
He would have also reasonably been in fear of serious bodily injury or death, believing the robber had a gun.
The defense can be used as a defense to homicide charges. It is legal to kill someone in self defense in Texas if:
1. You reasonably believe that there is an imminent danger of you or someone else being seriously injured or killed.
2. Your use of deadly force was necessary and appropriate at the time you used it.
He then fled 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 track down to the pictured man for his role in the shooting – and that no charges have been filed yet.
The identity of the robber has not yet been released – but police believe the gun he was waving around the restaurant may 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.’
Cops have also released an image of the vehicle that the man who killed the robber fled the scene in.
The man’s vehicle 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.
The ‘gunman’ heads towards the door – before he himself is shot by a customer
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.’
Texas has some of the most permissive gun laws in the US. Residents and non-residents over the age of 21 are allowed to carry a handgun – either openly or concealed – in most places in the state.
This does not include people who have any prior felony convictions.
Since September 2021, Texans do not need a permit to opening carry a handgun in the state.
The fatal shooting occurred at Ranchito #4 Taqueria in southwest Houston, Texas
Police have not revealed the identity of the deceased robber
Police arrived at the scene on January 5 after the fatal shooting
What are the open carry laws in Texas?
Beginning September 1, 2021, a law known as HB1927 made it legal in Texas for most people 21 or over to carry a handgun in a holster without a permit – both openly and concealed.
This law changed the previous open carry law from 2016 – by eliminating the requirement to have a license to carry.
This means that most people 21 or over – who have not committed previous felonies – may carry a handgun without a license to carry in the southern state.
Governor Greg Abbott heralded the new ‘constitutional carry’ legislation at the time, saying: ‘You could say that I signed into law today some laws that protect gun rights.
‘But today, I signed documents that instilled freedom in the Lone Star State.’