Smoke shop manager shoots burglary suspect in northeast Harris County

Deputy constable and shop owner both fired shots at a pair of suspects
February 13, 2014 9:29:25 AM PST
Burglary suspects came face to face with a businessman who was not going to become a victim. A deputy constable and a store owner both fired their guns at the two suspects who tried to break in to a northeast Harris County store.

The suspected burglars are now behind bars. They made a brief attempt to run away even after being hit by a bullet.

Deputies say two men were trying to break in to the Smoke Box in the 700 block of Normandy. They didn't realize the shop's manager was still inside, and as it turned out, that man had a gun.

Sheriff's deputies got the call a little after 11pm Wednesday -- reports of a business owner who had shot a suspected burglar.

Sgt. John Hernandez with the Harris County Sheriff's Office explained, "It appears the two suspects, possibly three were trying to burglarize the place thinking it was empty. The business was closed but it was not empty."

The smoke shop's manager was still inside, and deputies say he got a gun and confronted the suspects, eventually firing in their direction.

"One of the suspects was shot in the head," said Sgt. Hernandez. "He was transported to Ben Taub Hospital."

Deputies say both suspects tried to run, but were cornered by Precinct 3 deputy constables. A Precinct 3 deputy said one of the suspects pointed a gun at him, and so he fired three shots, but no one was hit.

Both suspects were taken into custody, and deputies searched for a possible third suspect in a nearby neighborhood.

"I looked around just in case, because I got the dogs started barking," said neighbor Nicanor Barajas. "I came out and looked what was going on."

Barajas says he saw a deputy's cruiser parked on the curb outside his home.

"I didn't know what was going on," he said. "I didn't know what had happened that night."

He says there have been break-ins in the neighborhood before, but he's never heard of any issues at the smoke shop.

"It's been there for a while now," Barajas said. "I don't if they had trouble or what they sell, you know?"

A couple of employees came by the shop Thursday morning, but did not want to talk about what happened.

The sheriff's office says it turns out there was not a third suspect after all. As for the man who was shot, his injuries are not considered life-threatening.

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