Police in Houston, Texas, say a grand jury will decide if a man who shot and killed a robber at a local restaurant should face criminal charges. This stems from a fatal incident at the Ranchito Taqueria on South Gessner Road in Houston, Texas. A man — wearing all black, including a black ski mask and black gloves — entered the establishment. Police later identified him as Eric Eugene Washington, 30.
“Witnesses told officers the suspect entered the restaurant and pointed a pistol at patrons as he demanded their money,” Houston police said in a press release.
“As the suspect collected money from patrons, one of the patrons, described as a white or Hispanic male, produced a gun of his own and shot the suspect multiple times,” officers said. “The shooter collected the stolen money from the suspect and returned the money to other patrons. He and other patrons (victims) then fled the scene.”
As seen in the video, the restaurant patron shot the robber 4 times, then shot the robber 4 more times as the robber lay motionless face down.
The patron then, after 3-4 seconds, shoots the robber a ninth time, this time in the head.
The 46-year-old customer agreed to be questioned by police after detectives seeking to identify him released a surveillance image of him and his pickup truck. Police asked other patrons who left the scene without providing officers a statement to also come forward.
University of Houston Law Center Professor Sandra Guerra Thompson said even if he is indicted, a jury likely would not convict.
“When a person uses force during an armed robbery, they have very heightened protection under the law,” Thompson explained. “I know that there are a lot of questions about the use of a gun because it wasn’t a real firearm, but that really doesn’t make a difference because it was used as a firearm and a person would reasonably believe that they were facing an immediate threat of deadly force.”