By PEGGY O’HARE
Dec. 17, 2010, 4:07AM
Johnny Hanson Chronicle
Houston police officers on Thursday investigate after the shooting at Castillo’s Jewelry on Canal in the East End.
In the back room of a humble jewelry store and pawn shop in Houston’s East End Thursday afternoon, a gunman tied Eva Castillo’s wrists tightly — too tightly. She complained of the pain, so he loosened the bindings. Then Castillo’s husband was ordered at gunpoint to put his hands behind his back.
But Ramon Castillo had a surprise for the gunman and two cohorts, who had announced they were robbing the business.
Castillo pulled a pistol from his waistband and shot the gunman dead. Then he grabbed a shotgun from his office and engaged in a shootout with the other two armed robbers.
When it was over, all three robbers were dead — and Castillo, though shot at least three times, was still standing, having successfully defended what was rightfully his.
It was the third time his shop, Castillo’s Jewelry at 4502 Canal at Super Street, had been robbed since it opened 22 years ago, East End residents said.
Castillo, 52, apparently did not immediately realize he had been shot, officers said. He walked outside the store and looked around for more gunmen, then went back inside the business, realized he was wounded and untied his 48-year-old wife, who was unharmed, said Houston Police Department homicide investigator M.F. “Fil” Waters.
He remained in surgery at Ben Taub General Hospital late Thursday, where he was listed in critical but stable condition, with gunshot wounds to his left shoulder, left abdomen and legs, Houston police said. He is expected to survive.
Investigators said so many shots were fired inside the jewelry shop in a two- or three-minute span that they could not estimate the number of rounds. “We’ve got bullet fragments all over the place, casings all over the place, shotgun slugs all over the place, so it’s really hard to determine at this point how many rounds were actually fired – but quite a few,” Waters said.
“It is a pretty incredible story. The man was clearly defending his business, clearly defending his wife,” Waters said. “It’s amazing with all the bullets flying around in there that she wasn’t hit.”
‘It’s about time’
East End residents smiled proudly when they learned how Castillo had taken charge and protected his wife of 28 years. It is the first time he has turned the tables on his attackers, they said.
“It’s about time he did something,” said Theresa Arellano, 49, a lifelong East End resident.
Neighbors described the Castillos as a hard-working couple who labor seven days a week and take care of customers who live in the neighborhood, selling jewelry at affordable prices and allowing people to pay small amounts y toward purchases in layaway.
They said Castillo protects his store like a fortress, using an electronic door to buzz customers in and out. Customers are locked inside the store until they leave. Numerous video cameras are inside. “He’s done everything he can do to secure his business,” Waters said.
The dead robbers’ names were not released, but police said they are not believed to be from the neighborhood.
“Somebody would have to be stupid to come rob the place because of the way it’s set up,” said a 30-year-old East End resident who would not give his name. “Everybody in the neighborhood knows how it is – everybody knows once you get in, he has to let you out. When you walk in, he buzzes you in, and when you walk out, he has to buzz you out.”
The crime unfolded at 2:08 p.m. Thursday when two men posing as customers came into the store and asked the Castillos to show them some rings. As the husband and wife helped the two men, a third man walked into the store, pulled a pistol and announced he was robbing the business.
The two men who had posed as customers also then pulled pistols on the Castillos, police said. The Castillos were ordered to the back of the store at gunpoint, where Eva Castillo was tied up.
Castillo then pulled a pistol from his waistband, “obviously fearing for the safety of his wife and himself,” said HPD spokesman Kese Smith. Castillo killed the robber who had tried to tie him up, then grabbed his shotgun from his office and killed the other two men.
Police are looking for a possible fourth suspect who may have dropped off the third robber at the jewelry shop.
Viktor Frankl ~~~
there are only two races of men, decent men and indecent.
god speed to Mr. Castillo, he protected his own against the goblins of the world. scratch three dead goblins