Monday, June 25, 2012

Self-Defense Files # 5

Jewelry store owners fight back
by Robert A. Waters

A recent story caught my attention. In San Ramon, California, four robbers burst into the Gold N Treasures jewelry store. When one assailant brandished a handgun, the owner, Everett Parvin, pulled his own weapon. Kibrom Bairu [pictured above] died at the scene from a single gunshot to the chest. Cops said Parvin acted in self-defense.

Less than a month earlier, in nearby Vallejo, another thug died. Serial robber Tremont Dejuan Williams, 37, entered Carillo’s Jewelry Store, pulled out a gun, and jumped over the counter. As the owner’s wife frantically called 911, the would-be bandit rushed into the office of the owner. Bad mistake. The jeweler shot and killed Williams, ending a long and violent career of jewelry heists. The owner was not charged.

Many jewelers are armed. Their lives and livelihood depend on being able to defend themselves and their property.

A couple of years back, in Houston, Texas, a wild-west style shootout at Castillo’s Jewelry left three robbers dead and the owner of the store wounded.

The business sat in a high-crime neighborhood on Canal Street. It had bars on the windows and electronic locks on the door so customers could be buzzed in and out. Surveillance cameras in strategic locations monitored traffic.

On December 16, 2010, Ramon Castillo buzzed two men into his store. His wife, Eva, attended to them as they browsed. Soon, a third man posing as a customer was let in. When he entered, all three suddenly pulled guns and, in Spanish, announced that they were robbing the business.

One robber forced Ramon and Eva toward a back room while the other two began looting the store. The robber tied Eva to a chair. But as he attempted to zip-tie Ramon’s hands, the store owner reached behind his back, pulled a pistol from his waistband, and shot the robber dead.

As soon as they saw their cohort fall, the robbers at the counter opened up with semi-automatic pistols. Ramon returned fire, all the while making his way from the office back to the counter. Hit in the shoulder, abdomen, and legs, he reached beneath the counter and grabbed a shotgun. At that moment, the tide of battle changed. Ramon blasted the two remaining robbers dead.

Blood, bodies, glass, and bullet casings greeted police when they arrived.

Even though he’d been shot multiple times, Ramon Castillo, like an old-time gun-fighter, was still standing.

Eva was uninjured. Ramon, transported to the hospital, spent several days in the intensive care unit. He eventually recovered from his wounds.

Two of the robbers, Nelson Tambora-Ramiro, 21, and Onilton Castillano, 38, had Honduran passports, and were thought to have been in the country illegally. The third robber was never identified.

A day after the shooting, the children of Ramon and Eva Castillo released the following statement: “On Thursday, December 16th, our parents were the victims of a horrible crime that resulted in critical injuries to our father, Ramon Castillo. 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. We do ask for some privacy during this critical and painful time.”

Sometimes the good guys win.

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