HOUSTON An off-duty Lakeview police officer opened fire on a suspect in a jewelry store robbery Monday in southeast Houston.
Police said the criminal posed as a customer as he walked into Lewis Diamonds and Timepieces around 1:30 p.m. in the 19300 block of the Gulf Freeway.
The man held a large bag as he approached the officer, who was working a second job as a security officer. The robber proceeded to pepper spray the officer in the eyes at point-blank range, investigators said. Then he pulled out a plastic toy gun and began making demands.
That s when the officer began firing repeatedly at the man, but he still managed to run out the back, hop in a silver car and get away, police said.
Anytime you have a situation like this. It is pretty terrifying for the witnesses, said HPD spokesman Victor Senties. Fortunately, due to the officer s actions, no one was hurt.
Employees at a Best Buy store located across from the crime scene were hoping the robber would be caught soon.
It s scary; we are so close to the jewelry store, it can happen to us. I know we are a bigger store, it s just scary, said Ashley Luckey, who works nearby.
Police said they are not sure if the robber got away with any merchandise.
This is the third robbery in recent weeks in which pepper spray was used.
Police said it s too early to say if the crime could be connected to the other ones.