HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Two robbery suspects accused of following a business owner from a bank were shot and killed in the Greater East End on Wednesday morning, according to police.
Houston police were called to a shooting in progress at 11:11 a.m. at Ruiz Cash & Carry Co. at 1703 S. Sgt. Macario Garcia Drive near Avenue Q.
At the scene, they found two men dead with gunshot wounds.
The business owner told HPD he had just left the bank when he arrived at his business, parked, and was walking into the shop.
That's when he was hit in the back of the head with an unknown object, HPD said.
After he was hit, the business owner turned around and saw two masked men wearing gloves, police said. The owner immediately discharged his firearm.
An employee inside the store heard what was happening, came outside, and also fired shots, HPD said.
"One of the employees of the business heard the commotion, came out, and saw what was taking place," Assistant Chief Chandra Hatcher said. "The employee also began discharging a firearm."
According to police, one man died inside the store while a second died in the parking lot. A third person took off in a newer-model, black Lincoln Navigator with license plate RTS-3919.
ABC13 obtained a nearby store's surveillance video, which shows a car matching the description doing circles in the street before taking off.
SkyEye flew over the scene, where one of the alleged suspects was seen covered in a sheet.
"I want to appeal to anyone who is watching. Please consider your actions. Please consider your decisions, because your choices have consequences. Unfortunately the suspects here, I would believe, have loved ones who will now be grieving their loss," Hatcher said. "But again, choices have consequences. We don't ever advocate for violence or crime, but our citizens do have the right to defend themselves. And choices have consequences, crime does not always pay."
HPD said the business owner is shaken up but OK. The employee is also said to be doing fine.
"He's like, 'I got lucky,"' Jacqueline Hernandez, whose father, Javier Hernandez, works at the store but was not involved the shooting, said. According to Jacqueline, Javier typically makes the bank runs but went out on a delivery on Wednesday instead. He missed the shooting by minutes.
"He feels sad because his boss is a very nice person and his manager, as well. They have a very good relationship, so the faster they were in this situation, they feel sad about," Jacqueline said, translating for her father.
She adds that her father did not have a means to protect himself like his colleagues and can't imagine her father in a life-or-death situation.
"I'm lucky it wasn't my dad, because I think it could have been a different situation," she said. "Maybe he would not have been able to defend himself the same way the boss was able to defend himself. It's sad that these people have passed away, but it could have been something different. Maybe it would have been my father."
Neighbors who live just behind the business are heartbroken that members of their community were targets.
"It's very sad," neighbor JR Rodriguez said.
"I was like, 'Oh, my God.' I started thinking in my mind, 'I hope it's not the owner,'" neighbor Rosa Linda Yante said.
Houston police said this is the first robbery at the store this year, but neighbors said another armed robbery happened a couple years ago.
"They work hard every day for what they have. It's just sad. Sad all around to see people lose their lives over a piece of paper. It means nothing," neighbor Mersed Delacruz said.
Anyone with information about the third suspect is encouraged to call HPD's Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).