Authorities said investigators had been monitoring a group that was responsible for at least 10 aggravated robberies in Harris County. It was part of a multi-agency investigation involving DPS, ATF and Houston police, officers say.
At around 9:40 p.m., DPS spotted a Ford Mustang wanted in some of the robberies in the parking lot of a Jack-in-the-Box at 6902 north Highway 6 at FM 529.
"At one point, the suspects came in here, donned some masks and armed with a long rifle and handguns," Acevedo said.
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According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, two of the men were armed with guns and went inside the restaurant to demand money from the cash registers. The employees gave them the money and the suspects took off.
Task force members of the Houston Police Department and DPS were waiting for the suspects at the front of the building. They ordered them to stop and surrender but instead, the suspects shot at them.
"We heard about 40 or 45 shots go off over here," witness William Fincham said.
Three suspects were hit by gunfire and one of them died after being taken to the hospital. Another suspect was arrested at the scene.
Two suspects have been identified as 17-year-old Xavier Cox and 18-year-old Javalon Robinson. Cox was taken to Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in non-life threatening condition. Robinson was arrested and not injured.
A 16-year-old male was pronounced dead at North Cypress Medical Center and a 15-year-old male was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in downtown in critical but stable condition.
No employees or customers were injured.
Houston police said seven officers discharged their weapons, including three HPD officers and four DPS troopers. No officers were injured.
"This investigation is going to be complex. There are multiple shooters," Acevedo said.
Cox and Robinson are charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.
The Harris County Sheriff's Department believes the same group is responsible for the robbery of a Shell gas station in the 10000 block of Fry Road on Sunday night. A few hours later, they believe the group then robbed a Stripes convenience store at the 8000 block of Fry Road.
Stripes store employees report seeing the same white Mustang at their store as the one involved in the Jack-in-the-Box shootout.
"At that time, right after it happened, I was concerned they wouldn't be caught, because they were wearing (black) masks, we couldn't identify them," said a Stripes employee who was on duty early Monday morning.
She says the robbers pointed a gun to her side, forcing her to hand them cash out of the cash register.
The woman was relieved to hear that the group of young men suspected of robbing the stores have been captured, even offering a few words of sympathy to the young man who was killed during the shootout with police.
"Really sad, I feel sorry for their family. They made some bad choices, but you know, at that age, they should have known right from wrong."