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Shop owner kills robber

Originally ran here as:
"Local shop owner released after shooting fleeing robber to death"
by Juan Ozuna, Valley Freedom Newspapers
The Brownsville Herald
May 09, 2002

McALLEN, TEXAS -- A coin shop proprietor shot dead a man who had just robbed him at gunpoint during lunch hour Wednesday in downtown McAllen near one of the city's busiest intersections.

The shop's owner, who took responsibility for the shooting death of the robbery suspect in statements to police, was released after several hours of questioning Wednesday afternoon.

Harold Falknor, 64, owner of La Casa Coin Co. at 104 N. 10th Street, told police he shot the 36-year-old Hispanic man in front of the collectibles store at 12:30 p.m., police said.

Falknor was released from police custody about 4 p.m. after making and signing an affidavit about the shooting, police spokesman Mitch Reinitz said.

According to the statement given to police by Falknor, an armed man walked into La Casa Coin and took several items at gunpoint.

Falknor told police he followed the man outside to the parking lot of the store and shot him several times as he tried to flee in a van with license plates from Mexico.

Falknor was still holding a handgun when police arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting, Reinitz said. After relinquishing his weapon to police, the shop owner was detained and taken away for questioning, Reinitz said.

The section of 10th Street in front of the store was blocked from traffic for some two hours afterward as police investigated, snarling the heavy lunch-hour traffic around Business 83 and 10th Street. Although several shots were fired, no other injuries were reported.

The dead man appeared to have been shot through the passenger side of the minivan as he attempted to back out of his parking space, Reinitz said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Ismael "Melo" Ochoa.

Witnesses at the scene reported hearing five shots, although Reinitz said investigators had not determined how many shots were fired or how many times the dead man had been hit

The suspect appeared to have been shot in the head and neck.

The minivan driven by the suspect carried Mexican license plates from the state of Nuevo León, though Reinitz could not confirm that the man was from Mexico. His identity could not be released since investigators found that he was carrying conflicting forms of identification, Reinitz said.

Items found in the minivan led investigators to believe that the dead man did attempt to rob Falknor, Reinitz said, though he could not confirm that he was armed.

Police are still investigating the case, Reinitz said, but Falknor was not charged with any crime Wednesday.

The results of the investigation will be turned over to the Hidalgo County District Attorney, who will present the case to a grand jury, Reinitz said.

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