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

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Monday, April 3, 2023
Family searches for answers after man trying to stop robbery killed
Joel Villarreal's family continues to search for answers after he was killed while trying to stop a robbery on Long Point Road in Spring Branch.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston police are searching for a person of interest in the deadly shooting of a man outside a smoke shop in the Spring Branch area.

Investigators believe the man who was killed, identified by family members as 43-year-old Joel Villarreal, was trying to stop a group of robbers from fleeing the scene.

The video above is from a previous report.

Officers were called to Lighthouse Smoke and Vape at 7550 Long Point Road just after 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28.

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

Police said two or three suspects had just robbed the smoke shop and were fleeing when a bystander tried to stop them, sparking a shootout.

Investigators said two or three men had just robbed the shop and were fleeing when a bystander tried to stop them, sparking a shootout. Police said at least one of the suspects had a gun.

Villarreal was shot once and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Now, police are looking for a man who was caught on surveillance video at the scene.

The person of interest is described as a Hispanic male wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. He has not been charged, but police want to talk to him because they believe he may have direct knowledge of what happened.

READ MORE: Family desperate for answers after loved one killed while trying to stop robbery on Long Point Road

ABC13 spoke to a certified nursing assistant who happened to be driving along Long Point Road, in front of the smoke shop, when she saw the man bleeding, lying in the middle of the road.

She told her boyfriend to pull over and she tried to help the man.

The woman said he still had a pulse when she was with him before paramedics arrived. She said she talked to him, but he was slipping into a state of unconsciousness.

Joe Luis Villarreal said his brother was the kind of person to help others.

"At the end of the day, he was a good man. He would give the shirt off his back," he said.

"He didn't deserve that, and I'm not going to stop until I find out what happened to him. And they're going to pay. I'm going to make sure they pay," Villarreal's sister, Veronica Gonzales, said.

Anyone with information on the identity and/or whereabouts of the person of interest or in this case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or speak anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.