Store owner who killed suspects in critical condition

December 20, 2010 8:32:02 AM PST
Police say jewelry store owner Ramon Castillo shot and killed three men who were trying to rob his store Thursday afternoon. Today, as Castillo recovers from his own gunshot wounds, we are learning more about those robbers. Ramon Castillo remains in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital where he is surrounded by family this afternoon. The 52 year old underwent a third surgery Friday afternoon and may be in need of several more.

In the east side neighborhood where Castillo shot and killed three would-be robbers, we found a makeshift memorial - a bouquet of balloons with a simple message to get well.

"The good guy happened to win yesterday. That's all you can really say. They made a mistake. They got up and didn't know they were going to die that day," said neighbor Bob Delarosa.

Castillo was critically wounded Thursday during the shootout and police say he's not out of the woods yet. Investigators say two of the suspects were carrying Honduran IDs: Nelson Romero, 21, and Onilton Castillano, 38. The owner shot and killed both men along with a third robbery suspect who had no ID.

"It's sad, but crime doesn't pay," said neighbor Tim Valentine.

Investigators are in the process of reviewing surveillance footage of the crime which was captured by security cameras. They are trying to link the trio of armed suspects to other similar unsolved crimes. It appears they may have been targeting Hispanic owned businesses. The attempted robbery happened after two of the men walked in pretending to be customers.

"They help the people and then they are going to get robbed by the people they know because if he didn't know you, he wouldn't let you in the door," said Delarosa.

Police say there may be a fourth suspect who was driving a getaway car - an early 90's model brown or gold Nissan. HPD is also coordinating with the FBI to see if the trio is connected to a group of Honduran criminals who've been targeting Hispanic owned jewelry stores, game rooms, and pawn shops in our area.

The Castillo family released a statement today which reads in part:

    "Words cannot express our outrage at this needless act of violence. However, we are not surprised that our father chose to fight back against these attackers to save his property and most of all, to protect our mother and his wife of 30 years, Eva. We are extremely proud of our father for his heroic efforts and believe that he will make a full recovery. We appreciate the many words of encouragement and concern that we've received and ask for your continued prayers for our father's full recovery."

Castillo, 52, is in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital.


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