FULLERTON (CBSLA.com) — A botched jewelry store heist in Fullerton on Wednesday evening ended in gunfire.
The incident occurred at the Fullerton Jewelry Mart in the 1300 block of N. Harbor Boulevard.
KCAL9’s Crystal Cruz said an attempt by the suspect to bully the store’s security guard ended with the suspect running from the scene and almost getting killed.
“I heard pop, and then pop, pop, pop,” said diamond dealer Colleen Gomez, “and my partner Gabe said, ‘Get down, those are gunshots.’ Then we all dropped to the ground. And we heard screaming. Someone said a security guard had been shot. And we are all dialing 911. We found out that he wasn’t shot. Apparently, he was pepper-sprayed.”
Cruz said the security guard — who had a gun holstered around his leg — actually fired at the suspect.
“We were packing things away and we just heard gunshots,” said store employee Racha Zeitlum. “We got to the ground and took cover.”
The security guard and the would-be thief got into a scuffle just outside the store.
Cruz reports that detectives are going through security video for additional information. Detectives told Cruz that at this point, the shooting appears justified.
“I do feel that he [the guard] was in fear of his own safety,” said Sgt. Dan Castillo of the Fullerton Police Department.
The store’s security guard declined an on-camera interview.
It is unclear if the suspect was hit by the gunfire. Officials said the suspect fled in a dark-colored SUV.
One customer saw the action on the news and decided to come by to lend moral support.
Cal Hicks, who recently purchased his wedding rings at the store said, “You begin to realize that these people care about their customers. So we cared about them, as well … so I just wanted to make sure they weren’t involved in any way, and at least that they were OK.”
Cruz reported that the Jewelry Mart was robbed six months ago and police believe the location is a target because it is so close to a freeway.