Authorities investigating shooting at game room

July 25, 2011 4:17:08 PM PDT
Four people are recovering after being shot at a game room in northwest Harris County. Deputies are now looking for two men suspected in that overnight shooting. The sign on the door says the place is called Mr. Game Room, and you can see exactly where one of the bullets went through the front window. There were about 12 people inside the game room on Veterans Memorial and North Camden Parkway at the time of the shooting.

In all, four people were shot including one security guard who works here. He was shot in the back, taken to the hospital and was back at the scene just a couple of hours ago, talking to his colleagues. He seemed to be in pain, but told us he's doing OK.

Investigators say just after 4am Monday, two men -- one carrying a pistol -- opened fire on the game room before even getting inside. It's still unclear whether they were targeting anyone or whether this was an attempt to rob the place.

Of the four people hit, two were grazed by bullets and treated at the scene. Another was shot in the torso, and at last check, he was in surgery at Ben Taub Hospital. We do not have an update on his condition.

"The security guard did return fire," said Sgt. David Hilborn with the Harris County Sheriff's Office. "Right now we are trying to determine how many times he fired."

People who frequent this shopping center say they believe the guard did what he had to do.

"I think that he did what he was supposed to do. I really do. I mean, that's his job, to keep the peace. But it's just so -- I've heard of it so often about the game rooms getting shot like that and robbed," said Tanya Daniels.

These game room operations stay open all night and two have been hit in the last four days. Now nearby homeowners say they are bringing the wrong kind of traffic into their neighborhood.

Carlos Gonzales opened his game room on Veterans Memorial less than a month ago and already he was robbed. Now the 24-hour game room across the street was also targeted.

With all that gunfire, Mr. Game Room is down for now. It's been unsettling for neighbors across the street who heard the shooting.

"It was just like bam, bam, bam, and I was like, whoa, wait a minute," one neighbor said. "I was feeding my baby -- I just had a newborn -- and I was thinking, was that a gunshot? And then I started hearing the ambulance and all that."

This homeowner we spoke with wanted to conceal her identity. She says since the business is open 24 hours a day, she's been concerned.

"When it's late, I can see a lot of traffic going and we maybe didn't see that, like maybe five years ago," she said.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office is investigating. Officers acknowledged game rooms of this kind are susceptible to crimes of opportunity because most patrons bring cash with them to play the video slots.

As a result of this latest shooting, one game room owner is rethinking his business idea.

"I think this time it's better to open another business, different business, ya know," said Gonzalez.

Detectives will review surveillance video to get a better look at the moments before the shooting, and get a look at the two suspects who fled on foot. Anyone with information is asked to call Harris County homicide.

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