Police: Store owner kills three suspects

December 17, 2010 1:23:48 PM PST
Police say a store owner shot and killed three suspects during an attempted robbery of his jewelry store yesterday afternoon. Police are calling the jewelry store owner, 52-year-old Ramon Castillo a hero. They say in all likelihood, he probably saved his wife's life when he shot and killed three armed robbers trying to steal from him.

"You have a store owner who protected his wife, protected himself and who knows what they were going to do after this," HPD Spokesman Kese Smith said.

Police were called to Castillo Jewelry on Canal Street and North Hagerman Street around 2pm. Police say two of the suspects came into the store and asked about a ring. While Castillo and his wife were helping them, a third person came into the store, pulled out a gun and said he was robbing the store.

That's when the other two suspects pulled out guns as well. They forced the wife into a back room and tied her hands with plastic wiring.

The owner was able to grab a handgun that he kept for protection as the suspects were trying to tie him up. That's when he shot and killed one of the suspects. Castillo then grabbed a shotgun and shot and killed the other two suspects, but not before they managed to shoot him in the shoulder and abdomen. He was taken to Hermann Memorial Hospital where he underwent surgery.

"Absolute bravery, courage and he saved his wife's life," HPD Homicide Sgt. Brian Harris said.

Neighbors say Castillo was prepared because he had been targeted before.

"They broke in his place once, and they robbed him another time," said neighbor Dan Montoya.

The store has a secondary door and a security buzzer to allow customers access to the shop. Neighbors say Castillo was concerned about his wife's safety in the store.

When the neighbors heard muffled gunshots, they first stood outside the store wondering if the well-known business owner was even alive. As the news spread he had survived, bystanders went through many emotions.

"It's very shocking, but also at the same time, we're so proud of him," neighbor Miriam Dosal said.

"If you look at it the other way, the lady could've gotten hurt. It would've been her and the three would've been gone and police would be looking for them, so I believe justice was served," neighbor George Flores said.

Police are searching for a possible fourth suspect who was operating as a getaway driver. He's been described as a Hispanic man in his 20s with a thin face, and he was seen driving a taupe or gold colored early 1990s, square body, four-door sedan, possibly a Nissan or Toyota.

Two of the suspects have been identified. Police say Nelson Wilfredo Tambora-Romero, 21, had a Honduran identification card. Onilton Bolanos Castillano, 38, was reportedly the first to be killed. He's believed to be the suspect who tied up the owner's wife. The third suspect has not been identified. The investigation is ongoing.

The owner's 48-year-old wife was uninjured and went to the hospital to be with Castillo after giving her statements to police.

Castillo, 52, is listed in fair condition at Hermann Memorial Hospital.

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


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