Houston food truck operator who shot robber says she didn't think she'd use gun she owned for years

Saturday, April 1, 2023
Food truck operator still haunted days after shooting robber
In an interview you'll only see on ABC13, the food truck operator who opened fire at a man trying to rob her business says she's still haunted by what happened.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The woman who killed a man who attempted to rob her food truck said she fired the gun to save her and her brother's lives. She was also back in the kitchen when Elite Eats and Cold Treats opened up Friday night. It was the first time they welcomed customers back since the shooting.

"We're back, you know, trying to get everything back on track again," Jacqueline Mitchell, a relative of the shaken woman, said. Mitchell added they never considered keeping the truck closed because it's how the family makes their living.

A small crowd of family, friends, and regulars showed up before they even opened for dinner.

"I'm really happy that she's still here and alive and breathing," customer Felicia Jones said.

"We feel the support and the love from everybody," Mitchell said. "Millions of people have posted things and shown their love by calls, texts, and online. We are very happy and grateful for that."

Their grills have been going for four and a half years, and Mitchell said all they want to do is keep cooking.

"We are not trying to hurt anybody or do anything to anyone. We just want to run our business and make sure we make money so we can support our families," Mitchell said.

WATCH: Food truck reopens days after co-owner shoots robber

A family running a Houston food truck said they had to reopen even with one of the co-owners still shaken after shooting a robber to death.

The shooting happened at about 1 p.m. on Tuesday in the 14500 block of South Main Street near Fondren Road.

ABC13 agreed to conceal the identity of the woman who shot the robber in light of what happened. She is retired from Houston ISD's nutrition program.

She said she and her brother got to the Elite Eats and Cold Treats food truck at about 10:30 a.m. to start setting up. By the time of the robbery, they had only two or three customers and made a mere $40.

Ricky Jimenez, who has since been identified by the medical examiner's office, approached the truck.

ORIGINAL STORY: Suspect killed while trying to rob food truck on South Main Street in SW Houston, police say

"My brother was telling him what we sold, and I was over in the corner. And when he told him what we sold, the gun came through the window and I panicked," the woman recalled.

She said she was working on something else during her brother's initial interaction with Jimenez so she did not know his demeanor. She saw her brother close the window to the truck that they use to serve customers.

"He snatched the window back open and put the gun through the window," she recalled.

The woman remembers the man pulling the trigger on the gun, but it jammed. She pulled out a gun of her own and started firing.

"I'm licensed to carry a gun, too, and I didn't ever think I would have to use it," she said. "I've had that gun for years."

Jimenez attempted to leave the parking lot where the food truck was parked but collapsed a few yards away and died.

"I called 911," the woman said. "I was screaming and crying and I told them to send me a paramedic and ambulance because I had just shot someone who tried to rob me."

The woman said she has cried every day since it happened.

"Both of us could have lost our life because I don't know if God hadn't allowed that gun to jam," she said.

If she knew the day would end how it did, she said she never would have opened the truck that day.

"That's not me," the woman said crying. "I'm not that type of person. I would have gave it to him. He could have had that whole truck at that time, if possible, if that's what he wanted. But he chose to try to kill me and my brother."

She said many people have offered support and prayers to her in the days following. She asks them to offer the same support to Jimenez's family.

"I just pray that God give us both guidance and understanding to get through this situation, to get through it on both sides of the family, so we can get through it on my side of the family, and that God gives his family understanding that I didn't try to hurt him," the woman said crying. "He tried to kill me and my brother."

Houston police at the scene called it a "self-defense shooting." The following day, they said the case would be referred to a grand jury.

The woman said she does not know what is going to happen. She has never been in this situation before.

SEE ALSO: Lawyer breaks down self-defense process following alleged robbery and violent attack in Houston

This week, two victims fought back against their attackers or robbers, claiming it was self-defense. ABC13 is told what happens after can make a big difference in determining if it was justified.