Mother of Houston taqueria robbery suspect killed by customer says son promised to do better

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By Greg Wehner | Fox News

The mother of an armed robbery suspect who was shot and killed by an armed customer in a Houston, Texas, taqueria last week said she spoke to her son hours before the incident, and he promised he would do better, according to reports.

In an interview with Fox station KRIV in Houston, Corine Goodman shared what the last conversation with her son, 30-year-old Eric Eugene Washington, was like before he was killed.

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Houston police are looking to question a man seen on video shooting and killing an armed robbery suspect
Houston police are looking to question a man seen on video shooting and killing an armed robbery suspect (Ranchito Taqueria)

“Thursday morning was the last time he called me. He said mom, son to mother, I’m trying to be the best person I can be,” Goodman said.

Washington recently got a job and was the father of a fourth month-old son, she told KRIV reporter Natalie Hee. While Washington’s mother was aware of his financial struggles, she says she never thought her son would rob a store.

Video of the incident shows the suspect, Washington, wearing a black ski mask and entering the restaurant before pointing his pistol at patrons and demanding their money.

As the suspect gathered the money from patrons, an armed customer can be seen getting up from the booth he was sitting in and shooting his pistol at Washington at least nine times. Washington ultimately fell to the ground and died.

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After Washington fell to the ground, the armed suspect fired more shots at him, even striking Washington’s head.

After the incident, the customer gathered all the money and returned it to the patrons before leaving the scene.

“I don’t hate him. I can’t hate him. But I want to know why didn’t you stop?” Goodman asked during her interview with KRIV. “If you had to kill him, I can deal with that. I can come to grips with that. He did something wrong. I understand that. But for him to be shot four times in the back leaving, and when he falls down, he shoots him four more times? You abused him. He was dead already. And that hurt. That hurts.”

Goodman said she does not condone what her son did, saying he knew better. She also said Washington never led her to think he would ever go this route.

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Houston police released a picture of the armed customers truck described as a “1970s or ’80s model pickup truck with no bed.”
Houston police released a picture of the armed customers truck described as a “1970s or ’80s model pickup truck with no bed.” (Houston Police Department)

But at one time during a conversation between the two of them, Washington told his mother that sending a person to a penitentiary breaks the person.

KRIV reported that Washington was convicted of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon in 2015. As a result, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, in connection to the shooting death of a business owner.

“He was there,” Goodman said. “He did not kill their father. But he was there, and their father got killed. And for that, I am sorry. I never got to say that to them, but I am sorry for that.”

Out of the 15 years, Washington served seven years in prison before getting released on parole.

He was later charged with assaulting his wife, before bonding out.

“He’s not the monster that people picture him to be,” Goodman said.

After the shooting, it was determined that the gun carried by Washington was a fake plastic pistol that Houston criminal defense attorney Sean Buckley told Fox News Digital does not legally change the customer’s right to defend himself.

“As long as the individual, this armed Samaritan, believes that the firearm was real or could have been real, that’s what is important, not the actual nature of it,” Buckley said.

Earlier this week, the armed customer released a statement through an attorney saying that taking a life is not something he takes “lightly” and that it will “burden” him the rest of his life.

“When the investigation is complete, this case will be presented to a grand jury,” the man said. “We are confident that a grand jury will conclude that the shooting was justified under Texas law.”

Greg Wehner is a breaking news reporter for Fox News Digital.

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