As surveillance video rolled inside Java Gold on the city's northside and two men walked in to allegedly appraise some jewelry, owner Mehmood Ghaznavi didn't suspect anything was awry. But when the third man walked in Ghaznavi found his life hanging in the balance.
He said, "It was a violent robbery, sir."
Demanding cash and jewelry, the three robbers whipped out handguns and unleashed a beating on the owner's face, pistol whipping him as many as four times. Ghaznavi thought he would never see his family again.
"Because they got the gun on your face and they are hitting you with the gun, hard, you know, just like someone hit you with hard metal in your face," Ghaznavi recalled. "It was a matter of seconds. You live or you die."
Two men, Erion Fountain and Charston Meachum, are custody and awaiting trial for the violent armed robbery. But Houston police are still searching for a third suspect. The big man in the red shirt remains on the loose. Investigators hope someone recognizes him.
Ghaznavi, who has worked here for 13 years, believes God saved his life on that day in April 2010. He now hopes the last suspect on the run is in handcuffs soon.
"These kind of people can hurt anybody besides me," Ghaznavi said. "They need to stay in the prison for the rest of their life, so at least they cannot come back and do the same thing with somebody else."
One of the suspects, Erion Fountain, in a pretrial hearing on Friday denied it was him in the video. His trial is set for Monday.
In the meantime, investigators ask anyone with information to please call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. You could be eligible for a cash reward.