Rice Military residents were fearful as armed man lurked through their neighborhood

The mystery man seen multiple times walking around the west Houston neighborhood left residents puzzled and a bit scared.

Mycah Hatfield Image
Thursday, September 16, 2021
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People living in Houston's Rice Military neighborhood are puzzled and, at times, a bit frightened over a mystery man seen multiple times holding a gun. This has prompted questions of whether walking like this is protected under Texas' open carry law.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A man seen carrying a gun in his hand walking through the Rice Military neighborhood put residents on high alert last week.

A homeowner in the area, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was outside on O'Reilly Street last Thursday morning when he saw a man with a gun start walking in his direction.

That homeowner said he did not wait around to find out what this man was doing or why, he just quickly went back inside his home.

Surveillance cameras at another neighbor's home caught video of the man around 6:40 a.m. walking back and forth down the dead end street.

Video shows him also walking in at least one person's driveway.

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Around 7:20 a.m., the man is seen, once again, on surveillance cameras walking around on the street.

Carol Musick said she did not see the man in person, but she did see a post about what happened on Nextdoor.

"I saw that somebody had posted video of him walking down the street with the gun and I was very curious as to where," Musick said. "I was very surprised when I saw it was on my own street."

With just seeing the surveillance video, Musick said it was scary.

"I am very thankful, whatever his intentions were, that he didn't follow through for his sake and for anybody else that would have been involved sake," she said. "We don't have a clue. We don't know what really was going on in his mind."

Musick said she wondered after seeing the video if the unknown man was within his legal right to carry the gun the way he was since constitutional carry went into effect on Sept. 1 in Texas.

SEE ALSO: What to know about 'constitutional carry' now that it's in effect

"I've heard so many different tales about it, what you can and can't do, and it sounds like the wild wild west," she said. "You can just go out there, and have a gun and do whatever you please with it."

ABC13's legal analyst Steve Shellist said that is not the case, and what the man was seen doing is against the law.

"If this fellow was walking around and holding it in his hand, he would be violating even the new law," Shellist explained.

The law, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, explains that if a gun is visible, it must be in a holster.

Had someone been outside with their own gun, they could not have used it on the man, according to Shellist, unless he posed an imminent threat to them.

"Unless you feel you are being threatened with deadly force that could cause you death or serious bodily injury, imminently," he said. "Unless the person turns around and points the gun at you, and you are in fear of your life, then you can shoot them back. If someone is walking down the sidewalk with a gun in their hand, you can't just shoot them. Go back inside and call the police."

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