Man who shot taqueria robber talks to HPD as legal expert weighs in

HOUSTON (KIAH) — A man seen on video shooting and killing a mugger who had just robbed a taqueria in southwest Houston spoke to Houston Police Department Homicide detectives.

This man was not arrested, so the police are not releasing his name.

Their conversation with him took place on Monday, the same day it was announced that a grand jury was to determine whether any criminal charges would be brought against the shooter.

The incident took place late Thursday at El Ranchito #4 at 6873 S. Gessner Road.

Sandra Guerra Thompson, professor of criminal law at the University of Houston Law Center, had not seen the CCTV footage as of Monday, but she weighed the situation after hearing the description.

“Texas self-defense law, which could be referenced here, gives very broad rights to self-defense in situations where the shooter reasonably believes that the use of force is absolutely necessary,” Thompson said.

In addition to self-defense, she says a person’s right to protect property could also deter a shooter from filing charges — even if a grand jury decides security video shows the burglar turned to leave the restaurant before the fatal shots rang out. . .

“My guess is that the shooter abandoned the wallet,” Thompson said. “And if this is true, and this is clearly a night robbery, then again the use of force to return the wallet will be justified. But I think it’s more likely to be treated as a case of self-defense.”

On the day of the shooting, Houston police said the burglar’s gun was actually a fake made out of plastic.

Thompson says this should not affect whether a grand jury finds the shooting justified or not.

“If the gun was taken as real, then it’s aggravated robbery,” she said. “And, frankly, any threat of force and seizure of property is robbery.”

It is not yet clear when the case will go to a grand jury.

Similar incident last month

It is also unclear if a similar December case was considered before a grand jury.

On the twelfth of last month, Houston police say a man fired a rifle and killed a woman who may have broken into a car near his home on the 2000 block of Harland Drive in Spring Branch.

From what has been reported, Thompson says that unlike shooting a mugger in a taqueria, the rights of self-defense probably do not apply in this case.

But she says another law unique to Texas could still protect the shooter and encourage a grand jury to find the shooting justified as well.

“It’s kind of an extreme law because it doesn’t require any kind of warning,” Thompson said. “This does not require you to try to use a less lethal force or anything like that. The only restriction is that the person must reasonably believe that this was the only way to protect the property.”

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