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Hooters guard trial continues - Odessa American: News

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Hooters guard trial continues

Victim's friend testifies

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Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 5:42 pm

One of the friends of the man who was shot took the stand in the trial of the accused shooter Wednesday morning, recounting the events that led to the confrontation. 

Trevor Cain told jurors when he took the stand that he and the victim, Jared Moore, and a few others had just gotten done with work on an air conditioning job that day, and had gone to Hooters to eat and drink.

At some point during the night, the defendant, 26-year-old Rance Struck, went up to their table to tell them to be quiet, as he was working security at the restaurant that night. After that, Cain said they began joking amongst themselves about Struck, later telling officers they were shouting “top flight security”, while Struck continued pacing by their table and staring at them.

After Cain said they had had enough of Struck watching them, the group left to the parking lot, where surveillance footage showed Struck followed them outside. Cain told the jury Struck and Moore started talking back to the other, describing Struck as confrontational and egging the problem on.

But Moore was still walking toward the truck they were leaving in, Cain told the jury, when Struck reportedly said Moore wouldn’t do anything. This is when Moore charged at Struck, Cain continued, which led to Struck pepper spraying Moore. Cain said he saw Moore swing at Struck once before Struck pulled out his pistol, at which point Moore began running away, and Struck pursued and shot Moore in the back.

“Man, you shot me in my back”, Cain told the jury about what Moore said after being shot and falling to the ground. “’I was trying to run away from you and you shot me.”

Struck froze after firing at Moore, Cain said, before asking Cain if he could look for his glasses, which were knocked off during the confrontation. Cain said he didn’t say much to Struck after that, after being asked by Assistant District Attorney Michael Munk.

“I told him that this is what I didn’t want to happen,” Cain said.

Struck’s defense attorney, C.H. Brockett Jr., pointed out Cain had made no mention of Struck eyeing them at their table in his initial witness statement, and that he had told detectives they had had too much to drink that night. As later played in a recorded interview with a detective, Brockett also pointed out Cain had said he could understand if Struck was scared, due to him facing about five different guys in a parking lot.

Cain told the jury he saw Struck call 911 after the incident, and recalled him telling the operator “he assaulted me, I did what I had to do.”

Odessa Police Detective Donaciano Rocha was one of the investigators of the shooting, and interviewed Struck that night after the shooting. He told the jury Struck had said Moore had been drinking that night and giving him attitude, and that he was frustrated by some of the remarks Struck gave him, such as calling him a ‘rent-a-cop.’

Struck’s defense for shooting him in the back, Rocha said, was that Moore was turning around in a way that seemed like he was swinging a punch at him, and he couldn’t tell which way he was facing due to his glasses falling off. Despite this, Rocha said Struck also told him he was aiming for the center of mass when he shot Moore.

“I wish I could take it back, but I can’t,” Rocha said Struck told him during the interview.

Rocha said he didn’t feel Struck’s response to the situation was reasonable. He told the jury he has also worked as a security guard while off-duty, and would not have handled the situation in the same way as Struck.

“You don’t use your gun just as a deterrent,” Rocha testified.

Rocha had also charged Moore with assaulting a public servant, but court records show that charge was later dismissed, with the reasoning stated being “the defendant has a valid defense.”

The trial is expected to complete tomorrow. Should Struck be found guilty, he could serve between 2 and 20 years in prison, or just probation.

Odessa, TX

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