06-28-2011, 02:51 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Update to San Juan Capistrano Jewelry Store Shooting
[From the OC Register]
Gee...LA Bad Guys with gang ties bringing guns to South OC, and having their robbery foiled by an Employee as his manager was held at gunpoint.
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – A robber held a gun to a store manager just before shooting broke out Friday morning, officials said.
While the man held a gun to the manager's stomach, an employee took out a handgun and fired on the three suspects, killing two. The suspect with the handgun did not fire, and one of the suspects was able to run away, officials said.
Two suspects have been identified as Los Angeles men with gang ties, and investigators said they are looking for two other men who fled in a Toyota sedan. Meanwhile, attorneys representing the owners of Monaco Jewelers said Monday that the owner lamented the death of the two men but was thankful that his family and employees are safe.
"Though he regrets the loss of life, he is thankful that his family and employees are alive," read a written statement released by Fine & Woliung, the law firm representing the store.
Bonnie Fine, who represents the owners, said the firm would not release the owners' names out of safety concerns.
When the three men walked in, five people were in the store, including the owner, wife, son, a manager and saleswoman, said Bonnie Fine, an attorney representing the jewelry store.
"It was a very traumatic experience for (the owner), and certainly his wife and son," Fine said. "He's very concerned about his family."
According to sheriff's investigators, one of the employees buzzed open the door for Robert Earl Avery, 39, of Los Angeles.
Only Avery was visible through the glass doors when he was buzzed in, but he held the door open as he walked in, said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Sheriff's Department.
Desmond Brown, 39, of Los Angeles also walked in with a third unidentified man, he said.
"Avery walked to the back and pulled out a handgun," Amormino said.
Fine said one of the suspects held a gun to the manager's head at one point, and the suspect and victim struggled as the manager was forced to the ground.
Officials with the Orange County Sheriff's Department said Avery was holding the gun to the manager's stomach seconds before the other employee fired.
"Thinking he was about to shoot his fellow employee, he fired a handgun, striking suspect Avery," Amormino said.
Brown rushed toward the employee, who then fired at the second suspect, authorities said.
Both of the men died from their injuries, Amormino said. Only Avery was seen with a weapon and did not fire the weapon during the robbery attempt.
The third suspect ran out of the jewelry store and fled in a light-blue Toyota Camry being driven by a fourth suspect.
Surveillance video from the store's parking lot shows the suspects arriving to the center and backing into a parking space in reverse to make sure they could make a quick exit.
Dozens of patrol cars and the sheriff's SWAT team descended on the shopping center shortly after the shooting took place. Deputies began to search for the third suspect in the center, and employees at the nearby Costco evacuated the building before SWAT officers searched it.
Deputies called off the search about three hours after the shooting.
Officials are investigating the shooting but believe the employee fired in justified self-defense, Amormino said.
The suspect's Camry was dumped by the two suspects in the same parking lot, and investigators believe they climbed into a second vehicle to elude authorities.
No arrests have been made, and investigators are asking for the public's help in case someone saw the two suspects jump into a second car. The third suspect was described as a black man in his 30s, about 6 feet tall, wearing a light-colored shirt and dark pants.
Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators at 866-TIP-OCSD or 866-847-6873.
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