Grand Jury Declines To Charge Man Who Fatally Shot Robber At Houston Taqueria | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Daniel Chaitin.

    A grand jury in Texas declined to file charges against the man who last year shot and killed a suspected robber at a Houston-area taqueria before returning the stolen money to other patrons, authorities announced on Wednesday.

    Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg's office said in a statement that grand jurors "no billed" the armed customer, who has not been publicly identified, following an investigation by the Houston Police Department into the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Eric Eugene Washington.

    The "no bill" decision means at least nine of 12 randomly selected residents who made up the panel determined probable cause did not exist, "effectively clearing the individual of criminal wrongdoing," according to the district attorney. "This process ensures that members of the community, rather than the District Attorney's Office, determine the appropriate outcome in all homicides in Harris County," added the statement, which was posted to X by a writer for The Texan.

    The incident happened inside The Ranchito #4 at around 11:30 p.m. on January 5, 2023. Witnesses told officers that a masked black man wearing all black clothing, a black ski mask, and black gloves walked into the restaurant, waving what appeared to be a firearm at customers while demanding their money, according to Houston police.

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    While the alleged robber, later identified as Washington, was walking around the restaurant taking money from patrons, one customer sitting in a booth with another person quickly stood up as soon as Washington passed by and pulled out a gun, as seen in surveillance video.

    The armed patron shot Washington, who collapsed on the ground. The customer, who was reported to be 46 years old at the time, continued to fire as he walked up to Washington, took his gun, and then fired one more round toward Washington. At least nine shots could be heard in the footage.

    As reported by FOX 26 Houston, the security video showed the patron apparently realizing Washington's firearm was fake as he threw it against the wall. Police said the man collected the stolen money, which he then returned to the others. He and other patrons then left the scene.

    Responding officers found the robbery suspect shot multiple times, and paramedics pronounced him dead, according to authorities. No one else was reported to be injured in the incident at the time.

    Houston police Lt. R. Wilkins said Washington was brandishing "a plastic pistol possibly an aero soft or possibly a little BB pistol," KHOU 11 reported. While Pedro Lopez, the owner of the restaurant, praised the armed patron as a "hero," some activists argued the number of shots was excessive and called for charges.

    Corine Goodman, Washington's mother, told FOX 26 that she did not "condone" her son's actions during the attempted robbery but insisted that he promised to her in a call before the incident that he was trying to be the "best person" he could be after being released from prison for prior criminal activity. Goodman also said she did not "hate" the armed patron, though she wanted to know why he fired the gun so many times.

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    In the week that followed the shooting, Houston police said the armed customer was questioned by homicide detectives in the presence of his attorney. "After consulting with members of the Harris County District Attorney's Office, it was determined the shooting will be referred to a grand jury," the Houston Police Department said in a statement. "Since the male is not arrested or charged, his identity is not being released at this time."

    The armed customer's attorney released a statement to ABC 13 Eyewitness News last January saying they were confident the grand jury would conclude the shooting was justified under Texas law. "In fear of his life and his friend's life my client acted to protect everyone in the restaurant," the statement said. "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."
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