2 suspects charged with capital murder in death of man attempting to thwart robbers in Spring Branch

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Friday, April 7, 2023
2 arrested, charged in fatal Spring Branch smoke shop shooting
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Daniel Medrano, 20, and Andres Lara, 19, were identified as the suspects who got into a shootout with 43-year-old Joeal Villarreal attempting to stop a robbery.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Two suspects have been arrested and charged in connection with the shooting death of a man who was attempting to thwart robbers outside of a smoke shop in Spring Branch on March 28, according to HPD.

Charges of capital murder have been filed against 20-year-old Daniel Medrano and 19-year-old Andres Lara for allegedly shooting and killing Joel Villarreal, 43, outside Lighthouse Smoke and Vape shop at 7550 Long Point Road.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Man shot and killed in Spring Branch was trying to stop smoke shop robbers, HPD says

According to detectives, patrol officers with HPD were called to the shooting in a strip mall parking lot and found Villareal unresponsive on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound.

Villarreal was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

ONLY ON 13: Family desperate for answers after loved one killed while trying to stop robbery on Long Point Road

A preliminary investigation determined that an armed robbery had just occurred. Villarreal was trying to stop the suspects, later identified as Medrano and Lara, sparking a shootout between them, police said.

"A bystander tried to intervene. They got into a shootout," Det. Chettry, with HPD, said. "The bystander was wounded and transported to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries."

As previously reported, ABC13 reporter Courtney Fischer spoke to a certified nursing assistant who was driving near Long Point Road, in front of the smoke shop, when she saw the Villarreal bleeding, lying in the middle of the road.

She told her boyfriend to pull over and give aid to the victim, HPD said.

RELATED: Man sought by police after 43-year-old shot and killed while trying to stop robbers in Spring Branch

Further investigation revealed a person of interest who was wanted for questioning, and a photo was released of Andres Lara on April 3.

Three days later, a subsequent investigation identified Lara and Medrano as the suspects, and they were both arrested and charged for their roles on Thursday, April 6.