Man resumes date after leaving to shoot dead ‘scammer’ over $40, police say | Texas

What started as a date at a Texas burger joint earlier this month ended with one of the participants going to jail after allegedly murdering someone else over $40 and carrying on with the rest of the date as if nothing happened, according to authorities.

Erick Aguirre, 29, stepped away from a dinner date he had with a woman to grab a pistol from his car and shoot 46-year-old Elliot Nix dead after Aguirre learned from a restaurant employee that he had been scammed by a parking attendant, investigators have said.

Aguirre then reportedly returned to the Rodeo Goat, insisting to his date “everything was fine”, the Washington Post reported. Houston police later arrested Aguirre on a count of murder after releasing surveillance photos of him to the local news as they investigated what they are calling only the latest instance in the US of a relatively petty dispute escalating into deadly gun violence.

The woman who was on the date with Aguirre was “shocked to see a photo of herself on the news and to hear that she was a person of interest” in the investigation, her attorney Rick DeToto told the Washington Post. DeToto said that his client voluntarily spoke to police after she saw the photos, leading to Aguirre’s arrest. She will not be charged in connection with the shooting and was “devastated” to learn of Nix’s death.

“She was simply having dinner with the defendant and was unaware of the shooting,” DeToto said of the woman, who has not been publicly identified.

On 11 April, after Aguirre and the woman parked their cars, Nix – posing as a parking attendant – approached them in a lot across from Rodeo Goat in Houston and told them that it would cost $20 each to park their cars. Nix claimed they would get their money back if they returned from dinner with a receipt. Aguirre got cash from a nearby store and paid $40 to Nix.

Once the pair were told that Nix had been a “known parking scammer”, Aguirre allegedly left the restaurant, sprinted to his white Cadillac, retrieved a gun, and chased after Nix. The Washington Post reported that witnesses heard a single gunshot and told police that they saw Aguirre “nonchalantly walking back to his car with the gun in his hand”.

He allegedly returned his gun to his car and went back to the restaurant to resume his date. Police said that Aguirre and the woman soon left, however, after Aguirre “started to look uncomfortable” being at the restaurant.

First responders were soon called out to the scene of the shooting, and Nix was pronounced dead. Police noted in a press release that Nix and a man later identified as Aguirre “were involved in an argument that escalated into a shooting”.

Nix was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. Local prosecutor Michael Hanover told reporters on Thursday that Nix was allegedly shot in the back.

Police arrested Aguirre on 25 April in Aransas county, Texas, roughly 200 miles south-west of Houston, where he lived and worked as a crane operator. Nix’s killing was not the first time Aguirre has been accused of acting violently – he had previously been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2017.

Aguirre would face life imprisonment if he is convicted of murder.

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