Gunfire erupts in restaurant parking lot

July 13, 2008 4:02:41 PM PDT
A man was gunned down in a restaurant parking lot, just feet away from where people were eating. And the search is now on for the shooter. Folks say it's just the latest violence in their neighborhood off Southmore near Highway 288. The victim is fighting for his life at Ben Taub Hospital. Police say he never made it inside the Denny's restaurant after being shot several times.

While they should have been preparing for the Sunday morning breakfast rush, Denny's employees were cleaning up from that early morning shooting.

"Right now, we don't know the motive behind the shooting," said Richard Martinez with the Houston Police Department homicide division. "We know it took place in the parking lot."

Police say the victim was sitting in his car when the shooting happened. He ended up getting out of his car and running towards the Denny's when he collapsed.

Police say the victim, 35-year-old Ronnie Robertson, was shot multiple times. Detectives found bullets scattered across the parking lot.

"There are always problems over there at that Denny's," said resident Dana Lowe. "Police are always over there. If it was up to me, they really need to look into probably shutting it down."

Dana and Irma Lowe have lived in the neighborhood for years. They saw the commotion and drove by to see what was going on.

"I saw the whole place was taped up and I saw HPD, I figured something bad happened," said Irma.

Neither was surprised by the shooting, especially with the amount of violence that they say has been going on in this area.

"In these apartments right here, a guy got gunned down like that. He got shot nine times," said Irma.

"Another guy got gunned down at the park over here. He got shot seven times, 14 years old," added Dana.

Police say the suspect in this shooting likely knew Robertson, though it's still unsettling to the Lowes, who have a teenage daughter, and are concerned by the fact this suspect fired multiple times into the restaurant parking lot.

"Sometimes when they go out, they like to go over there and eat," said Irma. "We asked them to stop going there because there's too much going on in this area."

Police are still investigating, but they say they do not think robbery was a motive. No on in the restaurant was injured.

If you have any information on this case, call Harris County Crime Stoppers. The number is 713-222-TIPS.

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