Amarillo Police: La Bella Pizza Employee Shoots Armed Robbery Suspect

AMARILLO, TX - On Tuesday night, Amarillo Police responded to La Bella Pizza at 3801 Olsen on a report of a robbery in which shots were fired.  

Officials say Clayton Jerrell Morgan, 36, walked in the back door of the business.  He was armed with a silver handgun.  He grabbed an employee by the hood of his sweatshirt.  The suspect with the gun forced the employee to walk toward the front of the business with him.  

As the suspect approached a doorway leading into the front area of the business, an armed employee, who is licensed to carry a firearm, confronted the suspect.  The suspect pointed his pistol at the armed employee and the employee shot the suspect.  

Morgan was transported to a local hospital where he died. 

"We have an employee who is licensed to carry a firearm," Corporal Jeb Hilton said. "He has his firearm with him and he sees a suspect come in the back door, grab another employee and has a gun in his hand. At this point the employee thinks quick on their feet  and decides I am going to put an end to this and whenever he presents his gun to the suspect, the suspect points the fake gun at him and gets shot." 

Through their investigation, detectives found that Ruben Ryel Rios, 29, was also involved in the robbery. Rios was later apprehended by uniform patrol officers at 2:12 AM in a car in the parking lot of 4320 Canyon Drive. 

"Ruben Rios was an accomplice in the event," Cpl. Hilton said. "He was a part of the robbery.  We weren't told he was actually performing the robbery but he was with Mr. Morgan when the robbery occurred.  Because of this, the state law in Texas allows him to be charged with the murder since Mr. Morgan was killed in the act of a felony." 

Rios was booked into the Potter County Detention Center on a murder charge.  Texas law allows people to be charged with murder if they take part in a crime in which another person is killed, even if they did not take part in the killing.

The gun that the suspect had was found to be a BB or pellet gun.

"It was described to us as a silver, revolver looking gun that appeared to be a real gun," Cpl. Hilton said. "It ended up being a BB gun or a pellet gun, but this gun looked like a real gun." 

"The range of emotions that you can feel from something like that," Cpl Hilton explained.  "You're going to have an adrenaline dump and you're going to second guess yourself. It comes out that this is a fake gun so this guy has to deal with that but what it boils down to is he did the thing he had to do to protect everyone there at that place." 

Special Crimes asks anyone with information about this case to call 378-9468.


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