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National and world

August 29, 2013

Texas man dies protecting children in armed robbery

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — A Texas man was shot to death while trying to shield children from harm during an armed robbery at a Denny’s restaurant this week, his family said.

Those who knew Greig Placette, 64, of Port Arthur, Texas, hailed him as a hero.

"My father died doing a good deed," Drew Placette told NewsFix. "…He was a good man, and he didn't deserve to be shot down that way.”

Placette was sitting next to a family with children at the Houston restaurant Monday night when three armed men with bandanas over their faces came in and told everyone to get on the ground, police and family members said. They fired several shots; a 43-year-old restaurant employee was also struck by a bullet but is expected to be OK. 

Placette was shot in the chest and shoulder while trying to protect the children at the next table, according to his cousin, the Rev. David Placette.

"His daddy was a big military man who believed in serving his country, so it was like a natural thing for him to do," David Placette said. "It's part of who Greig was, helping others."

Jonathan Ochoa, Placette's friend who was also in the restaurant, told Houston television station KPRC that his friend told him to "hit the floor" when the gunmen walked in, thus saving his life and that of a child.

"Immediately, I knew Greig wasn't next to me, and basically just started praying because there were probably 20 shells that hit the ground, and I just figured they were going and killing everyone," Ochoa said.

David Placette said he officiated the burial Mass after Greig's father died several months ago. Afterward, the cousins spoke about Greig’s wishes for his own funeral.

"He told me, 'Cuz, I want you to do my funeral.' I didn’t realize it would be so quick," he said.

Houston police say the three robbers fled in a minivan and are still on the loose.

Details for this story were reported by The Port Arthur (Texas) News, NewsFix and KPRC.

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