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Two robbers shot, one dead, when accosting armed citizen

Originally ran here as:
"Off-duty officer shoots 2 robbers killing 1"
By CAROL CHRISTIAN
Houston Chronicle, July 29, 2001

Two men were shot, one fatally, early today in northwest Houston while allegedly trying to rob an off-duty Harris County deputy constable they found asleep in his pickup.

One man died about noon at Memorial Hermann Hospital, where the other one remained this afternoon in critical condition. Their identities were not released.

Stephen Hastings, 27, who has been a deputy constable for five years, was on his way home to Clear Lake from his Porter ranch about 2 a.m. when he became sleepy, said Houston police spokesman Martin De Leon. Hastings pulled off Interstate 45 at West Mount Houston and parked his black extended-cab pickup, with his four-wheeler in the back, in front of a Sonic restaurant.

Sometime during the night, a Houston police officer on patrol noticed Hastings in the truck but after determining the Precinct 8 deputy constable was asleep, did not disturb him.

About 5:55 a.m., two men -- described as white, in their late teens or early 20s -- parked their 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme in front of Hastings' pickup, blocking his exit, De Leon said.

The passenger got out of the Oldsmobile, armed with a .22-caliber rifle, approached the pickup and banged on the driver-side window with the rifle barrel, De Leon said. The man demanded that Hastings get out, which he did with both hands visible, according to Houston police.

"He told the suspect to get whatever he wanted out of his truck, that the money was in there," De Leon said. But the man with the rifle told Hastings to get the money out himself.

Hastings then reached into his center console, pulled out a .40-caliber pistol and shot the man, who was still pointing the rifle at him, De Leon said. Then, when the driver of the Oldsmobile got out of the car, "The officer, fearing for his safety, fired at that suspect as well," De Leon said.

Hastings, who was not injured, fired a total of seven shots before calling 911. Police had not determined whether the other two men fired any shots, De Leon said. They were taken to the hospital by LifeFlight helicopter.

The constable will be placed on administrative leave and referred to a police psychologist, De Leon said. If the man in critical condition survives, he faces minimum charges of aggravated robbery, De Leon said.


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 QUOTES TO REMEMBER
For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution. [Bliss vs. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. (2 Litt.) 90, at 92, and 93, 13 Am. Dec. 251 (1822)

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