Off-duty officer halts robbery at SW Houston mall

Houston police say an off-duty officer stopped a robbery attempt at the Jewelry Dog in the PlazAmerica Mall on Saturday.

HOUSTON – Gunfire at a PlazAamericas Mall jewelry store stunned shoppers and employees in southwest Houston Saturday evening.

It happened at 5:15 when the mall was very busy.

“I heard lots of gunfire,” Oliver Oconner, who works security next door at the Johnny Dang and Company store. “A lot of people started running. It was about 10 rounds.”

Houston Police said one of their own, an off-duty officer named I. Almasri, was working security. As he did his rounds near the Jewelry Dog store, he heard commotion and saw two men with bandanas over their faces walking toward the business.

As one robber smashed glass displays with a hammer, the officer pulled his gun and ran toward the robbers. Before he got there, the second masked man pulled a pistol and shot first. The two exchanged fire as witnesses ducked and took cover.

“I saw the two people run outside and the officer tried to chase them and I guess (the robbers) started shooting and (the officer) started shooting behind them,” said witness Wahed Rahman.

Investigators said the robbers hopped in a getaway car: a dark, four-door Nissan. Thanks to witness descriptions, officers found two bad guys hiding at a nearby apartment complex. It is not clear if the shooter is among them.

“That’s what we’re still trying to determine if one of those two was the shooter or if the one who was driving had the pistol,” said Victor Senties, spokesman for the Houston Police Department. “We’re still trying to find that third guy.”

The suspects’ driver got away. Still, witnesses are thankful nobody is hurt.


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