The armed patron who opened fire on would-be robbers at a Houston bar early Saturday morning may face felony charges for violating Texas law, which bans guns from bars, if authorities ever find him.
At closing time — around 2:30 a.m. — four would-be robbers entered EJ’s Place, about 20 miles north of downtown Houston. The two men who were armed told everyone to get on the floor and demanded money, while other two lingered by the bar door, said Jenny O’Donnell, the bar’s owner, to The Houston Chronicle.
O’Donnell was not there at the time, but spoke on behalf of her employees.
But the armed patron sitting at the bar caught the robbers off guard when he pulled his own handgun. After a brief exchange of gunfire, two of the suspects lay injured and the others fled. No one else was hurt.
By the time officers arrived, one suspect had died right outside the bar and the other at the end of the parking lot. And the armed patron, who O’Donnell calls a hero, was nowhere to be found.
“We’re still trying to determine who he is, and why he left the scene,” Harris County Sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Spurgeon told KHOU.
But the fact that Texas law prohibits guns in bars, and there’s even a sign on the front door stating so, could explain why the man took off.
According to state law, guns are banned from businesses that derive more than 51 percent of its income from the sale or service of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises — even for those with a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
One customer said the armed patron always stays until closing and walks the female employees to their cars. The patron would never start anything, the customer said, but he would always protect his friends.
“He was just trying to protect people, and a lot of times, especially nowadays, that’s what you have to do,” another longtime customer told local media.
The attempted robbery was captured on the bar’s surveillance video and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said it’s possible that the four suspects were responsible for other armed robberies which occurred Friday night.
There’s no word on whether or not the armed patron will face any charges.