Shootout at the Fiesta Grocery - Innocent Bystander Killed in Crossfire

Shootout at the Fiesta Grocery - Innocent Bystander Killed in Crossfire

This is a discussion on Shootout at the Fiesta Grocery - Innocent Bystander Killed in Crossfire within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5381910.html Slain man believed to be Fiesta robber ID'd 68-year-old woman killed as thieves and guard exchange gunfire Detectives said they believe that a man ...

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  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array CT-Mike's Avatar
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    Shootout at the Fiesta Grocery - Innocent Bystander Killed in Crossfire

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5381910.html

    Slain man believed to be Fiesta robber ID'd
    68-year-old woman killed as thieves and guard exchange gunfire


    Detectives said they believe that a man found shot to death in northwest Harris County took part in a botched robbery at a Fiesta grocery store Friday night that left a customer dead.

    "He fits the basic description," said Sgt. Robert Odom, of the Houston police homicide division.

    Janette Dominguez, 68, was buying cold medicine at the supermarket in the 4100 block of Fulton about 8:45 p.m. when she was caught up in the crossfire between the robbers and a security guard, police said.

    She later died at Ben Taub General Hospital. Police said an autopsy report showed that the bullet that struck Dominguez did not come from the security guard's gun.

    The body of Lisbon Wilkins, 27, was found later that night along the 1200 block of Northville — about 10 miles from the Fiesta supermarket. Police said he had a gunshot wound to the torso.

    Detectives on Sunday were awaiting ballistics tests to determine if Wilkins took part in the robbery and was struck by the security guard's gun.

    "If the evidence we recovered matches the evidence at the scene, it'll probably be him," Odom said.

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

    "We're in the process of questioning a couple of witnesses," Odom said.

    On the same night, the owner of a small Texas City 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. on Friday, Odom said. 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.

    "They were going to dump the van once they did the robbery," Odom said.

    Witnesses told police the two men were immediately picked up by a third man in a dark Lincoln Town Car, similar to one found hours later abandoned in north Houston. The Town Car was not reported stolen, Odom said.

    The van and the Lincoln Town Car were both taken in for processing by investigators, Odom said.

    Albert Franco, a regular customer at the store who was waiting to make a purchase Friday night, said he dropped everything and ran out of the store when the gunfire broke out.

    "Everything happened so fast," Franco said. "Once I realized what was going on, I started to run for my life."

    About half the customers in the grocery left through a back door, Odom said.

    At least one suspect from the Fiesta robbery remains at large. Anyone with information is asked to contact HPD's homicide division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

    In Texas City, an unidentified man entered Jones Grocery in the 600 block of 9th Street North around 8:30 p.m. Friday dressed in black and armed with a shotgun, Texas City Police Department Capt. Brian Goetschius said.

    An employee outside smoking a cigarette was able to alert store owner Joe Kainer Jr. before being ordered away by the gunman, Goetschius said.

    The gunman entered the store and demanded money at Kainer's back counter, police said. After putting the cash in a bag, he demanded more money from the front register.

    At the front counter, Kainer was able to pull his gun out, police said.

    "As (the gunman) was opening the door to leave, which is within arm's length of the counter, still in possession of the shotgun and money, he was shot," Goetschius said.

    The robber was pronounced dead on the scene.

    "We believe (Kainer) acted within his rights under the laws of the state of Texas," Goetschius said.


    Very sad that an innocent bystander was killed in this robbery. Hopefully the two that got away will be caught soon and charged with capital murder. It will be interesting to hear who's round killed the bystander, hopefully it wasn't the security guards.
    "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground."

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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array goldshellback's Avatar
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    Guard turns the corner and comes under fire........very bad situation.
    Hope they catch those other two yahoo's wasting our good O2.
    "Just getting a concealed carry permit means you haven't commited a crime yet. CCP holders commit crimes." Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, quoted on Fox & Friends, 8 Jul, 2008

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    Sad for the innocent, but can we really question the guard's decision to fire? Walks around the corner and takes incoming, getting hit himself at some point...Good for him for tagging at least one of the scumbags. Hopefully they catch the other BG(s), and that the guard will recover fully (and step up his situational awareness). And the article does say that the round that hit the bystander was not from the guard, so it sounds like he did a great job.

    And what the heck is going on in Texas grocery stores?!
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Hard not to engage. If they're shooting toward me for all I know they are just executing everybody.
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  5. #5
    Member Array dhbry232's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=CT-Mike;562981
    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.
    [/QUOTE]

    As a former security officer, I have always advocated that security guard uniforms should not look anything like LE uniforms - too easy to be mistaken for a LEO.

    At least the guard was armed - most sites now are unarmed and you still have to wear a uniform that closely resembles local LE. Common sense and logic do not seem to play a part in management decisions regarding guard safety - or maybe they just don't care.

    The store also needed to have a way to notify the guard that a robbery was in progress - such as a hidden button to activate a pager the guard could wear. That way he doesn't walk into the situation blind and can call local LE before venturing into harm's way.

    Poor management decisions resulted in this guard being shot - and who knows how much or how little training the guard had for handling such situations. I hope it was the BG that killed the lady and not the guard.
    Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes ... they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. Thomas Jefferson

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhbry232 View Post
    Poor management decisions resulted in this guard being shot - and who knows how much or how little training the guard had for handling such situations. I hope it was the BG that killed the lady and not the guard.
    It wasn't:

    She later died at Ben Taub General Hospital. Police said an autopsy report showed that the bullet that struck Dominguez did not come from the security guard's gun.
    Battle Plan (n) - a list of things that aren't going to happen if you are attacked.
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  7. #7
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Engagement was proper as the guards reaction goes.
    Thank goodness it did not turn out to be the guards bullet that struck the innocent.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

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    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    Hummm...multiple thread creap...I wonder what would of been the liability for a CCW customer if in fact an innocent bystander was killed? Tuff call...

    Rick

  9. #9
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    bandit - If the situation were exactly the same, but the guard was just a "civvy" CCW guy, I can't see how he would be in any trouble legally unless he (the CCW guy) was grossly negligent in his acts. If someone is shooting at you, you can most certainly shoot back according to TX law. Now, what would happen in a civil suit is anybody's guess, but I would think - this being the age of litigation and all - that the CCWer would be looking at a claim of damages...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    bandit - If the situation were exactly the same, but the guard was just a "civvy" CCW guy, I can't see how he would be in any trouble legally unless he (the CCW guy) was grossly negligent in his acts. If someone is shooting at you, you can most certainly shoot back according to TX law. Now, what would happen in a civil suit is anybody's guess, but I would think - this being the age of litigation and all - that the CCWer would be looking at a claim of damages...
    Thanks OPFOR....if the guard was employed by the store...I agree. Maybe your reply said what I was thinking, but my focus was mainly just the 'average' CCW customer (not a guard).

    Rick

  11. #11
    Member Array dhbry232's Avatar
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    BG fired first shot at the guard perhaps mistaking him for a LEO. The guard was obligated to check out the disturbance. Could he have been more careful? Perhaps, but he stands out in that uniform and appears to be a threat.

    A civilian with a CCW would not be obligated to check out the disturbance except to be sure he and his family were not in danger. He could blend in with the other customers. If he saw the robbery going down, but no shots were being fired, he is best served by staying out of sight and calling LE - not engaging the BG. Now if the BG sees him and starts shooting? Well, then let the chips fall where they may. I'm glad the guard is going to be OK. My prayers go out for the lady's family. Just goes to show, you never know what will happen when you just need to make a quick trip to the store (Aw man, that gun is just too big and heavy and too much trouble to strap on just for a quick trip like this...)

    I wonder if the BGs knew the guard was on break when they hit the store. Could they have been casing the store prior to the robbery?
    Last edited by dhbry232; December 17th, 2007 at 10:31 AM. Reason: grammar
    Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes ... they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. Thomas Jefferson

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Agreed OPFOR.

    Liability which is civil toward a GGs bullet is always there be he a CCW or employed security guard or even a police.
    Every bullet fired has a price at it's point of impact. Some impacts will cost more than others, some much much more in dollars and cents alone. This has been established in many real world cases to date.

    As to lawfulness the shoot is a good shoot and it sucks that an innocent was killed.
    It's good though, for the surviving GG, that the BGs jumped and shot first.
    If the GG had seen them and been catalyst to the resulting shooting even as he'd have been right to do so per his employ a person (not necessarily a judge or jury though) might see him as being 'responsible' for the loss of life.
    Yeah I know, skewed way to look at things but the potential is there and it has happened in recent times past. :\

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    As far as liability goes, the instructor at my class said it was simple. If your bullet hits anything except a bad guy, get out your check book. The shield law for civil liability only means the bad guys and their families can't sue you if the courts say it is a good shoot. If your miss hits someones car in the parking lot, you are paying for a trip to the body shop. If your miss strikes an innocent person, you better have a very good lawyer.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Array digitalexplr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    As far as liability goes, the instructor at my class said it was simple. If your bullet hits anything except a bad guy, get out your check book. The shield law for civil liability only means the bad guys and their families can't sue you if the courts say it is a good shoot. If your miss hits someones car in the parking lot, you are paying for a trip to the body shop. If your miss strikes an innocent person, you better have a very good lawyer.
    Maybe, maybe not. In Missouri if someone dies during the commission of a criminal act the person committing the criminal act is deemed responsible for the death. If a BG gets in a shoot-out and the police hit an innocent bystander, the BG is charged with murder. If there is a car chase and an innocent is injured or killed the BG is charged with the assualt/murder.

    It appears that the way our ccw/selfdefense/castle doctrine statues are written that the same holds true for a private citizen IF they are found to have been acting in compliance with state law.

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalexplr View Post
    Maybe, maybe not. In Missouri if someone dies during the commission of a criminal act the person committing the criminal act is deemed responsible for the death. If a BG gets in a shoot-out and the police hit an innocent bystander, the BG is charged with murder. If there is a car chase and an innocent is injured or killed the BG is charged with the assualt/murder.

    It appears that the way our ccw/selfdefense/castle doctrine statues are written that the same holds true for a private citizen IF they are found to have been acting in compliance with state law.
    We've had some good gains lately in Mo. Let's hope the trend continues before there are major changes in Jeff City.

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