HOUSTON – A suspect in a fatal robbery at a west Houston smoke shop was arrested Sunday after another store robbery victim spotted him in an Academy store, Harris County Sheriff's Office officials said.
The crime happened on Saturday at about 8:15 p.m. at the FM 529 Smoke Shop located at at 16247 FM 529 #B. Police said the robber shot the store's clerk multiple times before fleeing with the cash drawer. Ziauddien Sharique Khan, 44, was transported to Ben Taub Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
"He had taken the day off (for Monday) so he could be home with his family and have his children go to school," said friend Brenda Rodriguez. "He was a family man."
Police said the 22-year-old suspect, Sergio Gil, is the same man seen in surveillance video at another smoke just a few miles away. In that heist he fired his gun, but didn't hit anyone. Khan wasn't so lucky Saturday night.
"That's very young, to have done such a brutal thing," said Rodriguez. "There was no necessity to take someone's life. He was innocent."
Then on Sunday at about 3 p.m. the manager from a smoke that was robbed on Thursday, August 21, recognized the suspect in the Academy store located in the 10300 block of Interstate 45 North. Investigators said Gil was trying to stock up on more ammunition.
Deputies detained Gil until homicide investigators arrived. Gil was transported to the Homicide Unit where he confessed to committing several "smoke shop" robberies and also to the shooting death of Khan, deputies said.
Gil was charged with capital murder and placed in the Harris County Jail.
"I'm very relieved," said Rodriguez.
Now Khan's friends and family can focus on mourning his loss. A makeshift memorial sprouted outside the smoke shop. Many people in the community wondered why the crime happened to Khan, while praying for strength.
"When I came in this morning and saw the flowers and notes, some were from his customers that had turned into friends, that's the type of person that he was," said Rodriguez.