Police officers fatally shot the gunman who murdered a manager at a Houston Cracker Barrel when she tried to protect a coworker from being mugged, officials announced Sunday night.
Undercover deputies from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office were conducting surveillance on the murder suspect, a 28-year-old black male, when they saw him leave the location around 6 p.m. and begin walking down the street, Mike Lee, Assistant Chief with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, said at a press conference.
He was approached by the deputies who called him by name before two deputies opened fire when they believed he had a weapon.
“He began running from them and as they were chasing them he made some gestures as if he were pointing a weapon at them. At that time our deputies opened fire … on the suspect,” Lee said.
The suspect was transported to Kingwood Hospital in Houston where he was pronounced dead. His name is not being released until he’s ID’d by the county forensics office.
Sgt. Dennis Wollford of the department’s homicide unit said that the suspect had two open felony assault warrants, and was “believed to be armed and dangerous.”
Wollford said there’s “not an obvious gun that we’ve located,” but said officials are still processing the scene.
Beloved 59-year-old grandmother Robin Baucom, who had worked at the Cracker Barrel nearly for 34 years, was inside the eatery early Saturday when two men in a Dodge Charger pulled up near the front door, the Star-Telegram reported.
A man got out of the car and attempted to snatch a purse from another employee as she tried to get in the door. Baucom saw what was happening and ran to unlock the front door so the employee could get inside, pushing the mugger as he tried to force his way through the door.
During the altercation, the man shot Baucom in the chest. She was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery, but succumbed to her injuries.
The two deputies who opened fire have still not provided official statements, Chief Lee said. They will be temporarily placed on admin leave, which is protocol for officers involved in a fatal shooting, he said.
Police are still conducting interviews and corroborating witness statements with surveillance footage to confirm that the deceased suspect was the shooter.
“After that information is confirmed we hope this case will end with some comfort for the family of Ms. Baucom and her family,” Lee said.
Baucom’s family described her as a “hero,” who will be remembered for losing her life protecting a fellow employee from harm.
“She would have done anything in the world to protect her employees or any of us,” her daughter Tina told KTRK.
“When I was starting kindergarten, she started at Cracker Barrel part-time. She would buy me back-to-school clothes,” Tina said. “It was supposed to be a couple of months. Thirty-four years later, a heartache, and here we are.”
Baucom’s brother, Billy Crumpton, said, “The greatest love a person can have is giving their life for another person — and that’s exactly what she did,” Fox 26 Houston reported.
“She was a protector. Not only with her family but with the ones she worked with. She protected the workers and gave her life for them,” Crumpton added.
Cracker Barrel said in a statement that the company “is solely focused on supporting our manager’s family, her fellow employees, and local law enforcement as we grapple with this tragedy and grieve.”
Baucom left behind her husband, three children and three grandchildren.