Only on 13: Story behind the viral shooting in SW Houston taqueria you haven't heard

Jessica Willey Image
Friday, January 5, 2024
Only on 13 attorney details why customer acted in taqueria killing
After a grand jury declined to charge a man in a viral taqueria killing, the customer's attorney is telling on ABC13 the story behind why he acted.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The attorney for the man who shot and killed an armed robber at a southwest Houston taqueria said a Harris County grand jury reached the right decision.

"Twelve people of Harris County concluded what all of us concluded: it was justifiable homicide," Juan L. Guerra, Jr., the shooter's attorney, said. "The danger at the time was real, and he acted accordingly."

Guerra gave an interview on Thursday for the first time since the shooting in January 2023. His client, who is "extremely relieved," wishes to remain anonymous.

Guerra told ABC13 his client still fears retaliation. After the shooting, which was caught on a surveillance camera, community activists called him a vigilante and demanded a murder charge.

On Wednesday, the Harris County District Attorney's Office announced that the grand jury declined to charge the 46-year-old man.

Guerra revealed there was more to the story.

"You've seen the video, everybody has seen the video," he said. "That young man sitting across from him, that is his best friend's son. He said something very resounding to me. He said, 'Mr. Guerra, I was not going to have a conversation with my best friend about his son being murdered because I did not act.' That's why he acted."

The video shows the armed suspect, identified as Eric Eugene Washington, robbing customers at gunpoint at The Ranchito #4 on S. Gessner.

Once his back was turned, Guerra's client took out his gun and fired multiple times. Afterward, the shooter returned what was stolen to the customers and then realized Washington's gun was fake. He can be heard yelling on the video before he throws the fake gun against the wall.

"He was visibly upset that this young man lost his life over a fake gun," he said. "And it doesn't matter in Texas whether it was fake or not."

Guerra said his client is traumatized. He called the ordeal tragic but is grateful the restaurant had a camera because, without it, he believes there could have been a different grand jury decision.

"I think we'd probably be trying this case, to be honest. Videos are the most important pieces of evidence," Guerra said.

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