Violent restaurant robbery caught on video

April 14, 2010 2:39:24 PM PDT
Surveillance video may be exactly what Harris County investigators need to find the gunman who shot three people during a robbery Tuesday night. It happened at a Church's chicken on Kuykendahl just south of FM 1960. On the dramatic surveillance video, you can the suspect approaching 18-year-old Javier Leyva, who was working behind the counter when the man pulled a gun. The video shows Leyva's hands go up. Investigators say he is demonstrating he is not putting up a fight, but the man shoots him in the chest and leg anyway.

"Another thing that makes this criminal dangerous, he's just shooting just to shoot," said Sgt. Robert Shields with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Fortunately, Leyva's wounds were not fatal. He's listed as stable. Those who frequent the Church's restaurant say the teen is a hard worker who is always friendly. They are relieved he's alive.

"Always smiling and a good kid," said customer Shelby Andrews. "I love them in there."

"I stopped by to see these people," said customer Steve Baze. "I get my coffee here all the time."

Leyva is a high school senior. The manager says he works to help support his family. Customers came by all day Wednesday, most unaware that at 10:30pm the night before, a gunman tried to rob the restaurant and after shooting Leyva, shot two customers in the parking lot, hitting them in the hand and wrist.

Regular customers believe they recognize the man caught on tape.

"I've seen that man a half a dozen times in the area," said Andrews. "Seen him in the store, too."

"I'm always out here and I've seen him around there several times," added customer Jean Bunch.

The restaurant's employees are also recognized the man, saying he has eaten here in the past. They showed up for work Wednesday, too upset to talk on camera. Instead of opening the restaurant as planned, the manager decided to close so they could visit their coworker at the hospital.

There's a $5,000 reward being offered that leads to an arrest of the suspect. If you have any information on the killings, call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.


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