Suspected Robber Dies in Starbucks Crash

December 2, 2014

A high-speed fatal police chase that ended with a suspected armed robber crashing into the Starbucks coffee shop at Bissonnet and S. Rice has closed down that intersection.

The suspect died at the scene, and at least one other person was injured.

The crash happened shortly after the driver committed an armed robbery of the Game Stop store, located at Weslayan and Bissonnet, at about 11:40 a.m. Tuesday, according to HPD spokesman John Cannon.

There were eight customers and two employees inside the Starbucks when the crash happened.The scene is being managed by the Houston Police Department, Cannon said..

The crash happened shortly after the driver allegedly committed an armed robbery of the Game Stop store, located at Weslayan and Bissonnet, at about 11:40 a.m. Tuesday, according to John Cannon.

Officers from HPD’s Westside Tactical Division, noticed a “suspicious” man leaving the Game Stop store, and alerted other officers from that division. The officers went into the store to investigate, and several employees said that the man had put on a mask and “robbed them at gunpoint,” Cannon said.

Those officers radioed another HPD tactical division vehicle and let those officers know that the suspect was driving a brown, 2003 Chevrolet Impala. They continued to follow the suspect, but called for a marked patrol unit to assist in stopping the suspect.

“They did that at Academy and Bissonnet,” Cannon said. “So the pursuit began. The suspect now sees a marked patrol car and he speeds away. He flees that marked patrol car at a high rate of speed.”

The marked patrol car was “about 100 yards away” from the suspect’s vehicle as he approached the intersection of S. Rice and Bissonnet in Bellaire, Cannon said.

A woman who was driving a white Honda Pilot south on S. Rice “had the green light as she was going through the intersection,” Cannon said.

“The suspect ran the red light and struck the front of her truck. His vehicle then struck and took down the pedestrian walk light, sideswiped a Lexus in the parking lot and crashed into the Starbucks store,” Cannon said.

“The owner of the Lexus that was in the parking lot was sitting at a table near the windows. He managed to only suffer minor injuries from flying glass and debris,” Cannon said. The man was initially treated at the scene by paramedics, and said that he would later see his own physician, Cannon said.

“Obviously, we are very fortunate there weren’t more injuries than that,” Cannon said.

The driver of the Honda gave police a witness statement, Cannon said.

Cannon said that Houston police discovered a BB gun “right outside of the suspect’s crashed vehicle.”

Inside the car, officers found several gaming systems that were taken in the Game Stop robbery, Cannon said.

“There were a number of other items, as well,” Cannon said.

Cannon said the only information that HPD has available is that the man appeared to be in his 20s, or 30s.

But, officers from the Westside Tactical Division said that the man’s description, method of operation in the Game Stop robbery and the vehicle used “may have been involved in more than a dozen business robberies on the west and southwest side of Houston,” Cannon said.

“It’s very, very fortunate there weren’t more innocent civilians involved,” Cannon said.

As is routine,  “these incidents are always investigated by HPD Internal Affairs, as well as the Traffic and Accident division,” Cannon said.