Lufkin shooting victim hailed hero, Hudson man charged with capital murder
By JESSICA SAVAGE
Cox East Texas
Monday, August 18, 2008
A man who was shot and later died after defending his girlfriend during an attempted robbery at a Lufkin restaurant Sunday night was a "true hero," a manager said Monday.
Keith Edward Labrozzi II, 24, of Lufkin, died at a local hospital after being shot multiple times by a man attempting to rob his girlfriend, manager Katherine Lynn Jeffreys, 23, outside David Beard's Catfish King, 806 S. Medford Drive, at 10:36 p.m. Sunday. Jeffreys, who was shot through the ankle, is recovering at a local hospital, said Pam Minefee, another manager. The couple has two children together, ages 3 and 1.
"He was a true hero," Minefee said. "He saved his girlfriend's life and possibly others who would have been here."
Lufkin police have charged Brian Martin Womack, 19, of Hudson with capital murder. Womack is recovering from surgery at a local hospital where he is being kept under police guard. Labrozzi, who had a concealed handgun license, shot Womack in the abdomen during the incident, using a handgun he carried while escorting Jeffreys as she closed the restaurant before depositing the night's till.
"As they walked from the business toward their Chevrolet Tahoe vehicle, Katherine, who was carrying the night deposit from Catfish King, observed a male suspect running toward her from the wood line at the back corner of the property," an arrest affidavit stated. "She heard the suspect yell something, but she did not understand what he said."
Womack, brandishing a handgun, then shot Jeffreys in the ankle before exchanging gunfire with Labrozzi, who had a handgun on him, the report stated. Womack allegedly fled on foot and the couple were taken to a local hospital where Labrozzi later died. Police recovered both handguns at the scene along with the money, the release stated.
Police later found Womack in a ditch alongside Ford Chapel Road near Renfro Street — a block from Catfish King — approximately 20 minutes after the shooting, the release stated. Emergency responders transported him to a hospital where he is expected to recover.
Criminal records show Womack has one prior arrest. Hudson police booked him into Angelina County Jail in March 2007 and charged him with deadly conduct for allegedly fighting at Hudson High School where he was a student.
Sunday night's deadly attempted robbery is the second incident in eight months at Catfish King in which an armed robber approached a manager closing the business. Two men robbed an assistant manager Dec. 22, according to a previous police report in The Lufkin Daily News. The woman robbed in December is not Jeffreys, who was shot Sunday. Jeffreys has worked at Catfish King for six months.
In the December robbery, the woman told police she was walking to her car when she heard a rustling noise in the woods before two males with blue bandanas approached her. One pulled a handgun and told her, "This is a robbery." The other sprayed the woman with pepper spray and took her purse before both ran back into the woods. No arrests have been made in that case.
A month later, the same assistant manager was robbed at gunpoint while making a deposit at Huntington State Bank, off U.S. Highway 59 South, Minefee said. She was not injured during that attack and the robbers have not been caught. The incident was captured on a bank camera, the manager said.
Minefee said the restaurant is in the process of implementing on-site security following Sunday night's slaying. In the meantime, the restaurant will be adjusting its operation hours. Catfish King closed at 2 p.m. Monday. It will also close the day of Labrozzi's funeral. Labrozzi's funeral arrangements are pending with Gipson Funeral Home.
"We deeply regret what has happened and extend the deepest sympathy to the families," Minefee said.