• August 17, 2019

More details revealed in Hooters shooting - Odessa American: Courts

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More details revealed in Hooters shooting

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Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2019 5:17 pm

The trial for the former Hooters security guard accused of shooting a man in the back continued Thursday, as another witness at the scene took the stand to testify, shedding more light on  what led up to the event.

Michael Martin was the employer of the victim, Jared Moore, and accompanied Moore, along with about five or six other people to Hooters that night for dinner and drinks after they finished working that day, Martin testified. They had come to Odessa from Houston for an air conditioning job.

His testimony was consistent with prior statements by Trevor Cain, another of his employees who testified. He said the defendant, 26-year-old Rance Struck, had come by their table that night to ask them to quiet down, and later asked them to leave at some point, despite management saying they were fine.

When they did leave, Martin testified that Struck shoved Moore outside from the doorway, after Moore had said “top flight security” while leaving the restaurant. The two began arguing, and Martin said he tried to get the situation resolved, telling Moore to get into their truck to leave. But as Moore was getting into the vehicle, Struck said one more statement that made Moore go toward him.

“Get your p**sy asses back to Houston,” Martin said Struck told Moore.

That was when the fight ensued that led to Struck shooting Moore. Martin said Moore rushed toward Struck, where Struck pepper sprayed Moore. Reports show Moore swung at Struck a few times, knocking off his glasses, before Struck pulled out his handgun. At that point, Martin said Moore backed off from Struck and ran around a parked vehicle behind them, where Struck followed Moore and shot him in the back.

“At no point did Jared [Moore] say “I’m gonna kick your ass, I’m gonna kill you,” Martin said. “He didn’t have a weapon.”

Martin said there were punches thrown by Moore, but wasn’t sure if Moore had punched Struck before being pepper sprayed.

Struck’s attorney, C.H. Brockett Jr., asked Martin if he had seen Moore’s toxicology report done by Medical Center Hospital when he was taken from the shooting, which he said showed Moore was highly intoxicated, and on cocaine and methamphetamine. Martin said he wasn’t aware at the time.

Brockett’s argument for Struck is that he was in fear for his life, and pointed out that in Martin’s recorded statement to the police, he had said as much.

“He seems like a pretty nice guy, scared to death,” Martin told police in an audio recording played for the jury.

Odessa Police Detective Donaciano Rocha was brought back to the stand as well, and told Assistant District Attorney Michael Munk Struck had told him he was in fear for his life as well, but said he never articulated any threatening behavior seen by Moore’s friends, or seeing Moore with any kind of weapon. Rocha, who has also worked as a security guard at bars while off-duty, said it was poor judgment by Struck to follow the group outside.

“You can obviously see they’re leaving, smiling, in a good mood,” Rocha said, pointing at security footage played in court. “They’re leaving the bar, there’s no reason to follow.”

Though expected to complete Thursday, the court adjourned without all evidence being presented yet, and will resume Friday.

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