San Antonio TX: A Texas father protected his young family by shooting and killing a restaurant robbery suspect earlier this week, according to local police. Carlos Molina, 32, was eating dinner at a Popeyes restaurant on Southeast Military Drive near Flores Street in San Antonio on Wednesday around 9:00 pm. Andrew Herrera, 19, stormed into the restaurant with a gun and ordered him to hand over his money. According to the San Antonio Police Department, Mr. Molina told the robber that he had just spent his money on the meal. He then asked if he, his wife and children could leave the restaurant.
Mr. Herrera turned to the counter, pointed his gun at the restaurant manager and began yelling at him to stop running, apparently intending to hold up the premises. Mr. Molina and his family quickly moved toward the exit of the restaurant, but two of his four children were still in the bathroom. When his children walked back into the dining room area, Mr. Herrera immediately turned the gun on them, police say. Mr. Molina, who is a licensed handgun owner, allegedly fearing for his kids’ lives, pulled out his own gun and shot the robber several times, killing him instantly.
San Antonio police say that Mr. Molina shot in defense of a third person, although the incident is still currently under investigation. Witnesses believe that Mr. Molina saved lives in the restaurant and may have even averted a possible mass shooting.
Texas law allows licensed firearm owners to carry weapons openly in the majority of restaurants. In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed a bill to allow concealed handgun permit holders to carry handguns openly, which was signed into law and took effect on January 1 last year. Although the Texas handgun carry permit was previously called a “Concealed Handgun License” (CHL), this changed to “License To Carry” (LTC) in 2016 when the law was changed to allow “Open Carry”.
Democratic attorney generals have repeatedly called on Congress to reject legislation that would allow Concealed Carry gun permits issued in one state to be valid in all states. Ignoring the documented cases in which civilians carrying licensed firearms have neutralized an active shooter and saved lives. Top Democratic prosecutors claimed in October that the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 — which already has more than 200 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives — would “lead to the death of police officers and civilians, the proliferation of gun traffickers, and acts of terrorism and other mass violence.”
January 2017, the New York Times editorial board opined, “The grim truth is that concealed-carry permit holders are rarely involved in stopping crime.” Mr. Molina’s actions at the Popeye’s restaurant in San Antonio is just one of many such instance. The Violence Policy center cited in the Times article also admits that “for the five-year period 2007 through 2011, the total number of self-protective behaviors involving a firearm by victims of attempted or completed violent crimes or property crimes totaled only 338,700.”
Estimates of the number of defensive gun uses vary wildly, ranging from low-end estimates in the range of 55,000 to 80,000 incidents per year, to high end estimates that reach 4.7 million per year. The wide range of estimates are due to methodology differences as well as definitions of “defensive gun use.” Some estimates only count incidents where the gun was fired and others account for instances where merely brandishing the firearm ended the threat with no shots fired.
The Popeyes case is still under investigation. Mr. Molina is not currently facing any charges in relation to the shooting. There has not yet been any comment from the Popeyes restaurant or the Popeyes chain in regards to their company or individual franchise policies on legal firearms carry on their properties.