The suspects crashed a stolen car at an intersection. Initially, an ordinary citizen who saw it ran over to help them, but soon figured out they were running from the law.
"This was the gun that I used," said Ryan Hansen.
After working a long night, Hansen found himself in the right place at the right time.
"The car crashed out right in front of me and people jumped out and started running," he said.
Hansen, a concealed license handgun instructor, witnessed what he'd later learn was the end of a short police chase. What he didn't know is that the four suspects riding in that hi-jacked car were career criminals who, according to deputies, had just robbed and carjacked six people in the Willowbrook and Champions Forest area.
"They literally would pull people over at intersections, block them in with other stolen vehicles, steal their vehicle, cell phones and belongings," said Harris Co. Precinct 4 Asst. Chief Mark Herman.
Hansen held one of the suspects at gunpoint until a deputy got to them.
"When I was screaming at him to get on the ground, he was trying to figure out what was going on and where he could run to," he said.
Hansen says it's the first time he's had to pull a gun on a suspected criminal. But he wasn't afraid. His military training kicked in. He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We appreciate the help he gave us out there," said Asst. Chief Herman.
He says Hansen's actions were lawful and without him, there's no telling if those suspects would be where they are now -- in jail.
"The guy is a licensed handgun carrier, he made a citizens' arrest, which is legal in the state of Texas, and he helped us out, so we're thankful," Asst. Chief Herman said.
All four suspects are in custody. They face charges of aggravated robbery and auto theft.