HOUSTON – Outside Edwards Cinemas in Greenway Plaza, the drama spilled over from the big screen and into the streets early Sunday.
“It’s a shame you can’t get out into the community at night without having to worry about somebody taking what you have,” said moviegoer Patrick Martin.
It happened just after midnight. Police say off-duty officer J. Johnson was taking his girlfriend to the movies. They were walking near the intersection of Weslayan and Portsmouth when Ruben Anthony Zelaya, 17, Macedonio Rivera, 18, and Luis Angel Aquino, 17, pulled up in a silver sedan. Police say Johnson, who was wearing plainclothes at the time, thought they were stopping to ask for directions.
“Instead the front passenger (Zelaya) produced a pistol, pointed it at the couple and demanded their belongings,” said HPD spokesman Kese Smith. “At that point Officer Johnson, fearing for his girlfriend’s safety as well as his own, drew his duty weapon firing more than once hitting the vehicle.”
The sedan sped off, and police recovered a handgun a short distance away.
“Shortly after the incident, the sedan arrived at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, where three individuals went inside, two of them seeking treatment for gunshot wounds,” Smith said.
Zelaya and Rivera were treated for non life-threatening gunshot wounds. Aquino was not struck.
All three were taken into custody and charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.
It’s not the kind of thing many would expect to happen during a simple outing to the movies, especially in that part of town.
“It makes you concerned for your safety and well-being this day and age,” said moviegoer Ferlin Clark.
“Its’ really a difficult situation, and it definitely raises the question about guns and how we’re handling this. I think we’re becoming a gun-crazy society,” said moviegoer Wanda Sanchez Klineberg.
“We go out to the theater and a lot of other things, so we’re always making sure we pay attention to who’s around us and if cars are coming up. Things of that nature and honestly, that’s about all you can do,” said Martin.