Several social activists came to the taqueria and said that the man who shot 30-year-old Eric Washington went beyond self-defense.
HOUSTON. Several community activists gathered Sunday at a taqueria in southwest Houston where a mugger was shot dead earlier this month.
They said the shooting went “beyond self-defence” and also described it as “a cold-blooded execution”.
While some call him a hero, this group wants the shooter to be prosecuted.
“We must not allow citizens to become judges, juries and executors,” said the group, which included Dr. Candace Matthews (Texas Coalition of Black Democrats/Rainbow/PUSH Coalition/New Black Panther Nation), Quanell X (New Black Panther Nation). ), family members of the victims and other human rights organizations, the statement said.
Quanell X said the group did not condone the actions of 30-year-old Eric Eugene Washington and said he was wrong about the store robbery. He said he deserved to be punished and sent to prison, but not to death.
“He went too far,” Quanell X said. “This is overkill. It’s not self-defense anymore.”
They are calling for the shooter to be prosecuted. Quanell X said he was not sure what that charge should be.
“This person has gone from a law-abiding citizen to now committing criminal acts and criminal offenses. We think… I think he needs to be blamed for something, because we can’t have a society where our citizens are judges, juries and executioners,” Quanell X said.
See the full press conference here.
The incident took place shortly before 11:30 p.m. on January 5 at the Ranchito Taqueria on S. Gessner near Bellaire Boulevard.
Police said a masked gunman, later identified by authorities as Washington, entered the restaurant and demanded money and wallets from patrons. As he was leaving, one of the clients pulled out a gun and fired several shots at Washington.
After the shooting, the same buyer took the stolen money from the robber and returned it to other patrons, police said.
According to authorities, the rest of the people in the restaurant left the scene before police arrived.
Police later said that Washington had no real weapons.
“The suspect in the robbery … entered the store wearing a mask and gloves,” Police Lieutenant Wilkens said. “He had a plastic gun, maybe an airsoft gun, or maybe a small BB gun.”
No one else in the restaurant was hurt.
Last week, a lawyer representing the man who shot Washington released a statement on behalf of his client.
The statement said the shooter wishes to remain anonymous and is speaking out about what happened at the restaurant, as seen on security camera video from inside the restaurant during the robbery and shooting. It goes on to say that they consider the shooting justified, and the grand jury will come to the same conclusion.
The statement also sheds light on how the man who shot the mugger is now feeling.
“This event was very traumatic, taking a human life is something he does not take lightly and will burden him for the rest of his life,” Juan L. Guerra Jr. said in a statement.
Police officers have been looking for the man who shot at Washington since it happened.
After the shooting, the customer left the scene. The authorities immediately said they wanted to talk to him to get his point of view.
Last weekend, a lawyer claiming to represent a client said his client contacted HPD and said he was ready to talk. A day later, the man spoke to investigators. Authorities said the 46-year-old man was questioned by homicide detectives. He has not been arrested or charged and his name has not been released.
HPD said the case will go to a grand jury to determine if the allegations are justified.
The police also hope to question all the patrons who were at the restaurant that night. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Houston police.
“My client, who wished to remain anonymous, was having lunch with a friend at El Ranchito Taqueria, and as seen in the video, a robbery suspect entered the restaurant, pointed a gun at my client and other clients demanding Money. Fearing for his life and the life of his friend, my client protected everyone in the restaurant.
“In Texas, shooting is justified in self-defense, the protection of others, and the protection of property. The customer met with the Harris County District Attorney’s office and HPD homicide investigators. He fully intends to continue to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
“When the investigation is completed, this case will be presented to a grand jury. We are confident that the grand jury will conclude that the shooting was justified under Texas law.
“This event was very traumatic. Taking human life is something he does not take lightly, and it will burden him for the rest of his life. For this reason, he wishes to remain anonymous. Due to the overwhelming coverage, we ask the media and the public to respect his privacy.”
Was the shooting justified?
KHOU legal analyst Carmen Rowe said the shooting appears to have been in self-defense, but understands why police wanted to talk to the shooter.
“One of the reasons law enforcement is looking for this man is to find out if he feared for his life or the lives of those around him, because that is absolutely necessary for a self-defense claim under the law,” Rowe said. . “If you have the right to fire the first bullet, you have the right to keep firing until the deadly threat is gone.”
Nathan Beadle works for the Harris County District Attorney’s office. He said that Texas law describes specific cases regarding robbery by threat or aggravated robbery when lethal force is considered justified.
“I can tell you exactly where it is in the law: 9.31 and 9.32 of the criminal code,” Beadle said. “If someone uses lethal force in a situation, it is considered proper under Texas law.”
Rowe said it didn’t matter if the gun used in the robbery was fake because the threat was real.
“Everyone in that restaurant clearly believed it was a real gun,” she said.
Defense attorney Nicole Debord Hochglaube said that if the shooting is justified under Texas law, it doesn’t matter how many bullets were fired.
“My conclusion is that the gentleman who unloaded the weapon was acting legally and it was his right to protect himself and the patrons in this restaurant,” Hochglaube said. “If you have the right to use deadly force in accordance with the law, you have the right to use deadly force until the threat is eliminated.”
Former Harris County District Attorney Joanne Musik said she also views the shooting as a means of self-defense.
“This is a man defending himself and others in a restaurant. People are tired of crime on the streets,” Musik said.
Crime history of Washington
According to court records, this was not Washington’s first robbery.
In 2013, he and others were charged with capital murder after a man was killed during an armed robbery, according to prosecutors. The charge was later changed to aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and Washington was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
It is unclear exactly when he was released, but he was last arrested on December 16, when authorities said he pushed his girlfriend to the ground and scratched her. Washington was charged with petty domestic violence and released on bail.