HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Deputies say they are looking for three people after a man was shot and killed over a meetup involving stolen dogs in a Walmart gas station parking lot in east Harris County.
The sheriff's office told ABC13 the shooting call came in at about 5:54 p.m. Tuesday after the man was gunned down at the Murphy USA gas station in the Walmart parking lot on Wallisville near the Beltway.
According to investigators, suspects stole multiple dogs from a breeder/kennel, then contacted the dogs' owners about returning the animals in exchange for a reward.
A friend of the dogs' owner, who family members identified as Juan Zamora, met with the suspects met at the gas station, where he ended up being shot during a fight. The victim was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, where he died.
Officials said there was another person with Zamora at the time of the exchange, who was later found and questioned by investigators.
Investigators are now asking for the public's help to identify the suspects seen getting away in a matte black Chrysler 300.
Authorities had a limited description of the suspects, describing them as three Black males in their 20s.
If you have any information, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers.
Dog owners at a nearby park were shocked to learn to news of the deadly shooting.
"It's horrible. It's unimaginable," longtime dog owner Lisa Allen told ABC13. "Having your dog stolen, but I just can't imagine being without my dog who is like part of the family. So, it's very sad."
SPCA Houston released the following recommendations for ways pet owners can keep their pets safe.
1. If you think your pet has been stolen, file a police report.
2. Never leave your pet alone in the car. Ever.
3. Make sure your pets have an up-to-date microchip as their collar and tags can be easily removed.
4. Have an updated photo of your pet on hand.
5. Connect with neighbors as well as online community boards to share images and photos.
6. Never leave your pet alone in the front yard, even if it is fenced.
7. May want to put a lock on your back gate.
8. Always walk your dog on a leash.
9. Get to know other pet owners and their pets on your street.