Texas: Shootout at grocery leaves customer dead

Houston, Texas

From the Houston Chronicle of December 15, 2007

Shootout at grocery leaves customer dead

A botched robbery of a Fiesta grocery store in north Houston is believed to have left two people dead — a 68-year-old woman buying cold medicine and one of the men who tried to hold up the store.

Janette Dominguez, who was caught in the crossfire Friday night between the would-be robbers and the store’s security guard, died at Ben Taub General Hospital.

The body of a 27-year-old man, thought to be one of the gunmen, was found later that night at 1208 Northville with a gunshot wound to the torso.

The store’s security guard, who was shot in the abdomen, is reportedly in stable condition at Ben Taub.

On the same night, the owner of a small Texas City mom-and-pop grocery store shot and killed an armed robber, authorities said. No charges have been filed against the store owner.

At the Fiesta at Fulton and Patton, two men — one armed with a shotgun and the other with a handgun — entered the store about 9 p.m. Friday, said Sgt. Robert Odom with the Houston Police Department’s homicide unit.

Wearing hoods and ski masks, the gunmen threatened a male employee to try to gain access to the store’s courtesy area.

“They apparently walked in and grabbed the nearest employee and demanded to be let into the courtesy booth,” Odom said.

The armed security guard was taking a break in the coffee shop near the back of the store when he heard the disturbance and went to investigate, Odom said.

When one of the suspects saw the security guard come around the corner, he opened fire, said Odom, noting that the guard’s uniform closely resembles an HPD uniform.

The gunmen and security guard exchanged gunfire. Dominguez, who was waiting to check out in the first express lane near the entrance, got caught in the crossfire, authorities said.

“There was a bottle of cold medicine still sitting there,” Odom said.

The gunmen fled in a stolen minivan that crashed several blocks away, in a ditch behind the Irvington Pentecostal Church. Police found blood inside the vehicle, thought to be from the man later found dead, Odom said.

(More)

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