According to court documents, a man on a date in Texas allegedly paid $40 to park and then returned to the Houston burger joint, where he discovered that he had been duped by a man posing as an attendant. Erick Aguirre, who is charged with murder in the April 11 death of 46-year-old Elliot Nix, made an initial court appearance on Thursday.
The bond amount for him was $200,000. Brent Mayr, who represents him, declined to say anything. After returning to the Rodeo Goat from the parking lot, Aguirre, 29, allegedly told his date that “everything was fine” and that he only terrified the man. According to the court documents, Aguirre appeared uneasy as they were making their way to a table, so they decided to eat elsewhere.
Two days after police released images of the couple, Aguirre’s date contacted them to report the incident. “She wanted to do the right thing. She wanted to make sure that she came forward and told the police what she knew,” Rick DeToto, the woman’s attorney told KPRC.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Aguirre, 29, and his companion stopped their cars near the downtown restaurant when Nix approached them and told them it would cost $20 apiece to park their cars. According to the police report, when Aguirre handed Nix the $40, an employee at the restaurant informed him that Nix did not work for the parking lot and had defrauded them.
A worker at a neighboring smoking store told police he observed Aguirre return to his car, retrieve a pistol, and then chase after Nix. The worker claimed he saw both men leave, but heard a gunshot before 8 p.m., and then observed Aguirre “nonchalantly walking back to his car with the gun in his hand” before putting it back in his vehicle.
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According to the affidavit, Aguirre walked back to the restaurant and went inside with his date. Nix was sent to the hospital, but he did not survive his illness. Aguirre was taken into custody this week; he is a resident of the area of Corpus Christi, which is around 200 miles (320 km) southwest of Houston. He was still behind bars on Thursday.
Grant Scheiner, a criminal defense attorney in Houston who is not involved in the case, said that Aguirre’s lawyer will likely be able to argue that the use of deadly force was allowed under state rules pertaining to the protection of property. Scheiner added that Aguirre’s situation isn’t helped by the fact that he retrieved a firearm when there was no immediate danger and continued eating dinner after the alleged shooting.
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In 2021, Texas legislators legalized concealed carry without a permit or the required background check or training. “The problem is that guns are just so widely available and there’s a lot of misinterpretation on when you can use deadly force,” Scheiner said. “You have a lot of guns and not very much knowledge.”
There have been other high-profile cases in the United States similar to Nix’s fatal shooting, in which seemingly peaceful events (such as going to the incorrect house, getting into the wrong automobile, or entering a neighbor’s yard to collect a basketball) escalated into gunfire.
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