Innocent taco truck owner killed in robbery outside store in SW Houston, gunmen on the run

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Police are looking for the gunmen they say shot and killed an innocent businessman during a robbery overnight in southwest Houston.

Authorities told ABC13 49-year-old Enrique Ramirez-Ayala was leaving the Post Oak Corner Store on South Post Oak near Willowmine Way when he was ambushed by four men.

They robbed Ramirez-Ayala and shot him multiple times outside the store before taking off in a vehicle, police say.

According to store manager Alex Ali, Ramirez-Ayala was inside playing the game machines, and said he'd be right back.

But as soon as Ramirez-Ayala left the store, a white car pulled up and four masked men jumped out.

They pushed him around, and Ali saw them arguing.

Then the men shot him in the chest and drove off.

Police believe Ramirez-Ayala may have been targeted because he was a local business owner known to carry money.

It's also possible the gunmen may have known his routine.

"I had arguments with him all the time. He always pulls out the money... he has $700-800. I told him not to show it that late at night... to have that much money in your pocket. He told me, 'Yeah, you know, you're right," said Ali.

Ali said he tried to help Ramirez-Ayala, but he passed away within seconds.

Officials talked to Ramirez-Ayala's family, who quickly found out what happened to their loved one. Ramirez-Ayala was a father and had a large family. He had a daughter in middle school.

"What they told me is that he was a good, honest, hard-working individual in the community here who ran a taco truck, who stopped at the store at the wrong time," said HPD Lt. W.L. Meeler. "They took a good, honest, innocent man's life tonight for no reason other than their own greed."

"They are now a broken family because of the heartless nature of these callous individuals," Lt. Meeler said.

Ali described Ramirez-Ayala as a gentleman always willing to help the community, saying that when people asked him for money, Ramirez-Ayala would give them $10 or $20.

Police say they need the public's help to track down the robbers, who are believed to be around the ages of 19-22.

"If you overheard someone planning this, we need to know that. Sometime today, someone is going to know something about this," Lt. Meeler said. "One of these guys is going to talk to somebody. It will be on your conscience."

If you have any information, you're urged to call HPD Homicide at 713-306-3800 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

Tipsters can remain anonymous.

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