Houston police: Customer who killed attempted taqueria robber could be willing to meet with investigators

HPD says it received a call over the weekend from someone claiming to represent the man wanted for questioning in the Jan. 5 shooting death at a restaurant in Southwest Houston.

Taqueria Robbery Shooter Truck
Houston Police Department
The man wanted for questioning by police in the fatal shooting of an attempted restaurant robber left the scene in the pictured pickup truck, according to the Houston Police Department.

As Houston police continue searching for a man who shot and killed an attempted robber at a restaurant last week, they say someone claiming to represent the man has indicated he could be willing to talk to investigators.

Houston Police Department spokesperson Victor Senties said Monday the department received a call over the weekend from someone who identified themselves as a representative of the man wanted for questioning in a Thursday night shooting at The Ranchito No. 4 Taqueria, 6873 S. Gessner Rd. That’s where another man attempted to rob customers as they were dining and was fatally shot by one of the patrons, who then recovered stolen items and gave them back to his fellow customers, according to police.

HPD released surveillance photos last Friday of the shooter and his vehicle – a 1970s or ’80s model red pickup truck without a bed – but Senties said Monday the man yet had to be identified by police. He said police also have not identified the person who called them over the weekend.

Taqueria Robbery Shooter
Houston Police Department
The man in this surveillance photo fatally shot an attempted robber on Thursday night at a Southwest Houston restaurant and is wanted for questioning by the Houston Police Department.

“It’s our understanding that the gentleman’s attorney reached out,” Senties said. “We just received a call from somebody stating that they represent him and wanted to set up a time to speak with investigators. That’s all we know.”

Senties said HPD doesn’t have “any timeline” for when a meeting with the man, who has not been charged with a crime, might take place.

The attempted robber who was fatally shot was a Black man believed to be in his 20s, according to HPD, which said last week that his identity was pending verification by the Harris County medical examiner, which did not respond to an inquiry Friday.

HPD said in a news release that its officers responded to a shooting call at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday at the Southwest Houston taqueria, where they found a Black man with black clothing, a black ski mask and black gloves who had been shot multiple times. He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, HPD said.

Citing witnesses, HPD said the deceased man had walked into the restaurant and pointed a pistol at customers while demanding their money. Before leaving the business, he was shot multiple times by the man now wanted for questioning, who was dining at the restaurant, according to police.

Police say the man who shot the attempted robber then collected the money that had been taken from his fellow customers and gave it back to them, before all the customers left the scene.

According to photos released by HPD, the man wanted for questioning is white or Hispanic with a bald head and stocky build.