Cops: Restaurant Customer Killed Robber, Gave Money Back to Patrons

Grand jury will decide on charges for Texas man
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2023 6:45 PM CST

A man who killed an armed robber Thursday night at a restaurant in Houston came forward to speak to police Monday. Surveillance video shows a masked man dressed in black waving a gun around as he robs patrons at a taqueria in southwest Houston. Police say the customer rose from his seat and shot the robber multiple times as he was collecting money from patrons, NBC reports. The customer then took the money the robber had collected and returned it to other diners. By the time police arrived, all the customers had left. Police said the weapon the robber threatened patrons with turned out to be a toy gun.

The video shows the customer shooting the robber several times after he fell to the ground, the Houston Chronicle reports. The Houston Police Department said Monday that the 46-year-old customer agreed to be questioned after police released his photo and asked for information, ABC reports. "It was determined the shooting will be referred to a grand jury," police said in a statement. "Since the male is not arrested or charged, his identity is not being released."

Legal analyst Carmen Roe tells KHOU that the customer will likely be able to make a self-defense claim under the law if he was in fear for his life or the lives of people around him. "If you're justified in shooting the first bullet, you're justified in continuing to shoot until the deadly threat is no longer there," Roe says. "Everybody in that restaurant clearly believed it was a real gun," she says. Roe says that while she would have advised the customer to stay in the restaurant until police arrived, he was not legally obligated to do so. (Read more Texas stories.)

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