The man caught on surveillance camera at a Houston taco shop shooting a robber in the back acted as “judge, jury and executioner,” civil rights activists from several organizations say. Photo courtesy of the Houston Police Department/Twitter
Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The man caught on surveillance camera at a Houston taco shop shooting a robber in the back acted as "judge, jury and executioner," civil rights activists from several organizations say.
On Jan. 5, 30-year-old Eric Washington entered Ranchito Taqueria in a mask, brandishing a fake gun and demanding patrons to turn over their wallets. As he turned around to leave, an unidentified middle-aged male patron aimed a handgun at Washington and shot him in the back.
Quanell X, a member of the civil rights organization New Black Panther Nation, said the first shot was justified, but the several shots that followed changed the man from a "law-abiding citizen" to a "criminal."
"He stood over the young man and shot him multiple times over and over again when he was no longer a threat," he said as several activist organizations met outside Ranchito Taqueria over the weekend.
"I know for a fact that this was not just a simple act of a good citizen defending himself. There was no justification to walk up on him and put multiple shots, then leave with the weapon and come back and shoot him in the head again. That's too much."
Quanell X said the man then left the shop and did not call 911. He and Dr. Candice Matthews of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, along with members of Washington's family, said the man should face some kind of criminal charges for his actions.
"He should be charged with something," he said. "We cannot have a society where our citizens are judge, jury and executioner. Based on that man's behavior we don't need a criminal justice courthouse. We don't need judges. We don't need prosecutors. We don't need the police."
He reiterated that the man had the right to defend himself and use deadly force but he went too far.
The Houston Police Department questioned the man early last week after an attorney who claimed to represent him contacted the department and said he was ready to talk. He was not charged or taken into custody, and his identity has not been made public.
The attorney released a statement, obtained by KHOU 11, that says the man wishes to remain anonymous.
"This event has been very traumatic. Taking a human life is something he does not take lightly and will burden him for the rest of his life. For that reason, he wishes to remain anonymous. Due to the overwhelming coverage, we ask the media and the public to respect his privacy," the statement said.