PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

August 29, 2013

Hero dies trying to shield children during Houston robbery

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — A Port Arthur native and Katy resident who was shot to death trying to shield children during a violent armed robbery at a Houston Denny’s restaurant is being lauded as a hero.

Greig Placette, 64, was shot twice, once in the chest and once in the shoulder while trying to protect children inside the restaurant who were dining with their family at a table next to his, said The Rev. David Placatte, Greig Placette’s cousin.

The Rev. Placette, known by many locals as Father David, believes the heroic act was something that was instilled into Greig by his father, Harold Placette. Harold Placette was in the military and at the battle of Pearl Harbor during the war.

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

The Reverend, who was recently assigned to St. Catherine’s Church,  officiated at the Mass of Christian Burial for the senior Placette and shortly afterward Greig spoke to Father David about 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.

Father David, who has officiated at numerous funerals as a Catholic priest, is now preparing himself for his cousin’s funeral.

“We’re used to losing people by natural causes and car crashes but never in a murder situation and that’s what it was, murder,” he said.

News of the violent, deadly robbery made headlines across the area and includes media coverage from www.click2houston.com who interviewed Jonathan Ochoa, Placette’s friend who was also in the restaurant. Placette told Ochoa 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 in the interview with the Houston TV station.

The deadly robbery occurred about 10:40 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26 at the Denny’s located at 7300 Washington Ave. in Houston.

According to a press release from Houston Police Department, three armed suspects, described only as black males wearing bandanas and masks, entered the Denny's restaurant and immediately fired several shots. The robbers then ordered all customers and employees to the floor and demanded their property. During the robbery, one suspect shot Placette while another suspect shot a restaurant employee, 43, as he tried to flee the business through the front door. The suspects then fled the scene in an unknown minivan.

Placette was pronounced dead at Memorial Hermann Hospital and the other victim was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital in stable condition.

Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

Visitation for Placette will be from 5 to 8 p.m.  Friday at Clayton Thompson Funeral Home in Groves. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Port Arthur. Officiating at the services is his first cousin Rev. David Placette; the Rev. Msgr. Bennie Pattilo will be co-celebrating. Interment will follow at Greenlawn Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Houston Food Bank 535 Portwall Street Houston, Texas 77029. (713) 547-8623 or the charity of your choice.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews