Houston taqueria shooting: Case to be presented before Harris County grand jury
HOUSTON - A customer seen on camera shooting an armed robber at a taqueria in southwest Houston will have his case presented before a Harris County grand jury, officials confirmed Monday.
BACKGROUND: Houston robbery suspect shot to death by customer in taqueria on Gessner, police say
This comes after the unidentified shooter, 46, was among several customers eating at a taqueria in the 6800 block of South Gessner Road Thursday evening.
Police said that's when a masked man came in and demanded money from the patrons while brandishing, what later was discovered to be, a plastic, either airsoft or BB gun.
"Under Texas law, the fake weapon doesn’t change his right to act, there was apparent danger," said Casey Garrett, a legal analyst for FOX 26.
One of the customers then took out his own gun and shot the robber, later identified as Eric Eugene Washington, 30, several times. He then took the stolen money from Washington and gave it back to the customers before leaving the scene.
SELF DEFENSE? ATTORNEY WEIGHS IN: Customer fired 9-shots, killed man robbing patrons in Houston taqueria
Garrett believes the customer was acting in self defense and had every right to keep firing until the threat was neutralized.
"The important thing to remember is once somebody has the legal right to act in self-defense and use lethal force in self-defense, then they have the right, whether it's shooting him once or shooting him nine times. As long as you're acting in self defense and it’s not now becoming some attenuated intentional act of actually killing somebody, he’s acting under the right to defend himself or others," Garrett said.
WHO WAS THE ROBBER? Man shot by armed customer was previously out on bond
Days after the incident, police were finally able to make contact with the 46-year-old shooter who wanted to bring him in for questioning. On Tuesday, authorities confirmed in a press release the man has not been arrested or charged, so his identity will not be released.
Juan L. Guerra, the attorney for the customer who shot the robbery suspect, released a statement on Monday night to FOX 26 saying,
"My client who wishes to remain anonymous was dining with a friend at El Ranchito Taqueria and as it has been seen on video a robbery suspect entered the restaurant, pointed a weapon at my client and the other customers demanding money. In fear of his life and his friend’s life my client acted to protect everyone in the restaurant.
In Texas, a shooting is justified in self-defense, defense of others and in defense of property. The customer has met with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and Investigators with HPD homicide. He fully intends to continue cooperating with the ongoing investigation.
When the investigation is complete, this case will be presented to a Grand Jury. We are confident that a Grand Jury will conclude that the shooting was justified under Texas Law.
This event has been very traumatic, taking a human life is something he does not take lightly and will burden him for the rest of his life. For that reason, he wishes to remain anonymous. Due to the overwhelming coverage we ask the media and the public to respect his privacy."