Man who shot dead burglar in southwest Houston taqueria interrogated and released, HPD says

Police are looking for the man who shot and killed another man during a robbery last week. On Monday, the 46-year-old man was interrogated and released without charge.

HOUSTON. The Houston Police Department said homicide investigators were questioning a client who last week shot and killed a man who robbed a restaurant in southwest Houston.

On Monday, the day after a lawyer representing a client said his client was ready to talk, HPD officials said the 46-year-old the man was questioned by homicide investigators. 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.

HPD was looking for a man who was seen on video footage shooting a mugger, later identified by HPD investigators as Eric Eugene Washington, 30.

What happened

The incident took place shortly before 11:30 p.m. Thursday at Tuckeria Ranch on S. Gessner near Bellaire Boulevard.

Police said an armed man wearing a mask entered the restaurant and demanded money and wallets from customers. As he was leaving, one of the clients pulled out a gun and shot the suspect several times.

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 the burglar did not have a real weapon.

“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.

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.

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.

The customer who shot the suspect left the restaurant after the shooting. Many asked if he was legally required to stay until the police arrived.

“Staying there to answer questions is very important. This is what I, as a lawyer, would advise him to do, but at the same time, you do not have to stay in place in such a situation, ”Rowe 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.

Music said she wasn’t surprised the case went to a grand jury.

“That means it’s too close to call. That this is a requirement of self-defense, this is the protection of third parties. That the D.A. isn’t going to just take it on the phone or just look at the evidence and press charges. They’re going to present it to a grand jury – it’s 12 citizens who sit and look at the evidence, and they’re looking at both sides. They are analyzing whether this self-defence was justified,” Musik said.

The Houston police want people to know that taking matters into their own hands can have unintended consequences.

“If you legally carry a gun and are in an institution and decide to take matters into your own hands, you should also take into account that if you also hit an innocent person, you are responsible for every bullet fired from that gun,” said a police detective. Police Jeff Breeden.

The restaurant owner and employees call the visitor a hero.

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.

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