HOUSTON – In a press conference Friday afternoon, family members and police spoke out about a good Samaritan who was gunned down trying to save a woman from an armed purse-snatcher at a Chevron station.
They said 24-year-old student Samuel Irick, who gave his life for a complete stranger, was a hero.
Irick was killed early Thursday morning in the 4600 block of Beechnut by an unknown suspect.
The entire crime was caught on tape.
"It’s not often that we get to actually see a capital murder that’s captured on video, that has audio as well, that starts at the beginning of the incident all the way to the point at which the victim takes his last breath," HPD Sgt. Eli Cisneros said. "For me to watch that—I’ve been in law enforcement for 18 years—I find it sickening and I’m appalled by it."
Cisneros said the main door to the Chevron station closes at midnight, and customers have to use a drop window to make their purchases.
Around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Amberley Wait is seen on camera approaching the window, where the suspect was standing.
Cisneros said the suspect even spoke to Wait as she walked up.
Irick walked up and stood behind her, waiting in line.
Cisneros said the suspect suddenly put a gun to Wait’s abdomen and demanded her purse.
Irick intervened, and in a matter of seconds, Cisneros said the suspect pointed the gun at the college student’s midsection and fired a single shot.
The suspect fled on foot, and Irick crumpled to the ground.
At that point, Cisneros said the clerk ran around and unlocked the door, so Wait could get inside. Irick managed to get to his feet and get inside, too, but he eventually succumbed to his injuries.
"All we need is the public’s assistance in getting us a name of this individual," Cisneros said, adding that anonymous tips were accepted by the Crime Stoppers hotline (713-222-TIPS).
Wait’s husband, Jeb, said words can’t describe the gratitude and sadness he feels for Irick’s family.
"There are only true heroes in real life – not sports, not driving cars, but in real life. And Samuel yesterday morning … saved my wife’s life," Wait said, choking back tears.
Wait said he and his wife have three young children: a 9-month old girl, a 3-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl.
"He saved their mother," Wait said. "[She] wasn’t someone who was out doing something bad – it was a mom that he saved. I’m just sad that I can’t see him and tell him that … He gave his life for someone he didn’t know, had never seen, had never met. I don’t think you could ask for anything more from anybody."
Wait said he and his family have doubled the amount of money offered by Crime Stoppers for information on Irick’s killer, bringing the cash reward to $10,000.
Irick’s actions came as no surprise to his family.
His uncle, Joe Halm, said Irick was a "good kid" who would do anything for others.
"I never met a more giving person," Halm said. "The tragedy to our family still hasn’t sunk in yet."
Halm said Irick worked full time, went to school full time and made straight A’s.
Irick’s mother, Randi Wood, said she sometimes worried that her son put himself in peril, but he felt like it was worth it.
"Everyone that met Sam, from the time he was little, he made an impression on them. He really did. From his coaches to his teachers … People loved him," Wood said. "He was a giving, loving person. And it doesn’t surprise me that he tried to help this lady. I just can’t believe it ended like this."
Wood said the last time she saw her son was Saturday, when the family met at her mother’s house to plan Thanksgiving.
She said Irick had just adopted a dog from an area shelter.
"I’d just like to say I loved my son and I really don’t want another mother to go through what I’m going through so anyone out there that knows anything about this murder it would … please come forward," Wood said.