Gas station customer takes on multiple armed robbers

Gas station customer takes on multiple armed robbers
CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS / @CSI:cafe

Authorities in Houston, Texas say a gang of armed robbers targeted a Valero gas station and convenience store on the city’s southeast side late Thursday night, but were stopped by an armed citizen who opened fire.

Police responded to the store shortly before 9 p.m., where witnesses told them that a car with five individuals inside had pulled in to the station. Four of the men got out of the vehicle and entered the store, with the fifth man remaining behind the wheel. Once inside, the four pulled out guns and demanded customers and employees hand over their cash. That’s when one customer drew their own gun and fired. Three of the would-be robbers were hit by the armed citizen’s shots, though police say a customer was also injured in the exchange of gunfire between the armed citizen and armed robbers. It’s not known at this point who fired the shot that injured the bystander, but thankfully they’re expected to be okay.

The local media in Houston are downplaying the armed citizen aspect of this story to the point of absurdity. Here are a few of the headlines about the incident:

4 hospitalized after shots fired at SE Houston gas station

At least four shot during attempted robbery at southeast Houston gas station, police say

Five injured in robbery shootout at southeast Houston gas station

One of the few media outlets to acknowledge the armed citizen in its headline was the Houston Chronicle, though the paper makes it sound like the armed customer just started banging away at everyone inside the store by proclaiming “4 injured when customer pulls gun during attempted robbery in SE Houston“. Even the paper’s lede fails to acknowledge that three of the four people who were shot inside the gas station had pulled guns of their own and were robbing the place.

Four people were injured late Thursday when a customer pulled a gun and fired at men trying to rob a convenience store in southeast Houston, officials said.
It’s not until the next paragraph that the Chronicle acknowledges that three of those who were wounded will be facing charges thanks to their attempted robbery, or that police haven’t said if the bystander was shot by the robbers or the citizen. Those just scanning headlines or giving the story a quick once-over may very well be left with the idea that the armed citizen just randomly shot four people while trying to prevent the armed robbery, which is absolutely not the case.
The only media outlet that did a decent job of accurately portraying what happened in its headline was KTRK-TV, the ABC affiliate in Houston. “3 suspects shot when customer opened fire during robbery at SE Houston gas station” is a much better representation of the incident, and their reporting was solid as well.
A shopper at a southeast Houston convenience store opened fire when four masked robbers stormed inside, sending three suspects to the hospital.

Houston police said at least one of the robbery suspects was armed.

HPD officers were called to a Circle K convenience store at a Valero gas station located at 8040 South Loop East at 7:55 p.m. Thursday.

According to Asst. Chief Ernest Garcia, four suspects in masks entered the store and started robbing customers at gunpoint.

That’s when an armed customer pulled out their weapon and shot at the suspects, Garcia said. Three of the robbery suspects were shot.

One bystander was also hurt, though it was unclear if he was shot by one of the suspects or the customer, HPD said.

Kudos to KTRK for its straight reporting on this incident, instead of downplaying the armed citizen’s actions or making it sound like they shot four innocent people as other press outlets did. The anti-gun media bias is real, and while we generally see far more of it at the national level the coverage of this defensive gun use is a reminder that our local news sources can be just as bad.