Suspect shot during jewelry store robbery

Police investigate a robbery attempt at Nazar's Jewelry on Westheimer

April 11, 2013 3:29:43 PM PDT
A robber is in a hospital, after being shot by a police officer. Investigators say he tried to hit a jewelry store during a midday heist.

Police say at around noon, two men wearing hoodies walked into Nazar's Fine Jewelry on Westheimer near Fountainview. Hours later, the store was still an active crime scene and officials say this investigation will take some time.

"Just scared," recalled customer Stephanie York. "Hoping they wouldn't come shoot us."

York and her husband planned to pick out a birthday gift at Nazar's Thursday afternoon, but quickly their day changed.

"We were just in the store shopping and heard glass breaking," she said.

Police say two men, at least one armed, walked into the store in the 5800 block of Westheimer. One immediately went after a private security guard, attacking him. The second suspect shattered glass to steal jewelry, then pointed a pistol at off-duty HPD Officer M. Hernandez. And that's when Officer Hernandez intervened.

"He also ordered all customers, employees to get down on the ground," said HPD spokesperson Kese Smith.

Officer Hernandez, who was working an extra job at Nazar's, fired his gun toward one of the suspects, but he got away. It's still unclear if he was shot.

Smith said, "He fled the scene, so we're not sure at this time."

As for the second suspect, Officer Hernandez shot and wounded him. He fell to the ground in the parking lot outside the store and was taken to Ben Taub Hospital.

Stephanie York is just grateful to have left alive, birthday gift or not.

She said, "The officer shot several times. We could see him from the counter we were hiding behind and he did a really great job."

We are told the security guard is OK. Officer Hernandez, who is assigned to the Westside Patrol Division, has been on the force with HPD for seven years. He will be placed on administrative duty for up to three days, as is standard HPD protocol.

The second suspect is still at large. Police won't tell us whether any jewelry was taken, saying that's part of the investigation.

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