HOUSTON — A taco truck owner was fatally shot overnight as he wrapped up his night's work in southwest Houston, police said.
The robbery and shooting happened at about midnight Thursday in the 13500 block of South Post Oak just north of W. Orem, according to Lt. W.L. Meeler with the Houston Police Department.
Investigators believe the victim, now identified as 49-year-old Enrique Ramirez Ayala, a father of one, stopped at a convenience store on his way home.
"He was playing the machine right there. He told me hey man I'm ready to leave I'm going home," store manager Alex Ali said.
“Soon as he walked outside walked over to the corner, white car pulled over, four guys came out, started arguing pushing back," Ali said. "They were talking about something, I can't hear him, Guy in the yellow hood – he pulled out the gun and started shooting.”
Ali says he watched in horror through the security cameras in the store.
“I ran outside right away, he try to say something, I see his face moving his head but can't hear the sound and he just look at my face, his eyes was open," Ali said. "I got my cell phone, I called 911 right away – everybody came but he passed it happened so fast."
Multiple shots were fired, and Ayala died at the scene as the gunmen fled.
The security video was handed over to police and is vital to the investigation.
Investigators believe Ayala could have been targeted by robbers who knew he owned a taco truck and knew his routine.
“The family quickly found out, and what I’ve learned from them here tonight is he was a good, honest, hard working individual in the community,” said Meeler. “These individuals decided to take his life for his property. For what belongs to him.”
The community gathered outside the store throughout the overnight hours mourning.
"Everybody liked him everybody loved him, he always helped people you know People asked him for money out here – he would give them $10, $20," Ali said.
Joseph James, who also runs a food truck, knew Ayala and noticed his truck was not parked in its usual spot Friday morning. James later learned of Ayala's death.
"It was traumatizing, but you know, we still have to press on. Because it is a business and we have a family we have to support and take care of," said James who has also been robbed at gunpoint.
Security cameras are now attached to his food truck. James doesn't work past sundown and he never takes the same route home, just in case the wrong person is watching.
"When something like that happens, it not only affects us," said James. "It affects the whole community."
A detailed description of the suspects has not been released.
“What we need right now is help from the public,” added Meeler. “Somebody out there knows something. We have multiple individuals involved, and I know that they’re out there right now. In the morning when this airs at 6 or 7 a.m. – that they are going to see this. They know what they did. They’re families are going to know what they did, and they’re going to talk about this. If these individuals talk to you about it – when they tell you what they did -- come forward.’”
Call Houston Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS if you have any information about this murder.
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