In a hail of gunfire, Conroe jewelry store owner Jeffery Turner Jr. made the decision to shoot back – with his AK-47 rifle – at four men who opened fire on his customers and staff during an attempted robbery on Monday afternoon.
In the aftermath of the bullet spray, one robber lay dead in the doorway among shattered glass; while Turner, his employees and customers were left shaken but unharmed.
The three other robbers fled the scene in the Conroe West strip center in the 4800 block of Texas 105 West.
“You always have a right to defend yourself, especially when the robber shoots at you,” Turner’s attorney E. Tay Bond said.
Bond said all the witnesses and Turner reported the four men started shooting first. “Jeff does keep an AK-47 for defense purposes.”
Bond said Turner called him to the scene after the shooting.
The identity of the dead man has not been released.
According to Conroe Police Lt. Dorcy McGinnis, four males dressed in all black entered Jeff’s Jewelry around lunchtime and demanded jewelry, purses and other items. They opened fire on the store employees and customers, with at least three store workers firing back.
“There was a lot of gunfire,” McGinnis said.
Windows were broken out of the store, and police set up barriers around the crime scene.
About a dozen people stood in shock after learning what had happened inside the store as police officers strung crime scene tape around the parking lot.
A manhunt ensued for the three other men. Conroe police found the abandoned getaway vehicle near Tink Calfee Road between West Fork Boulevard and Longmire.
Roads were blocked off Monday afternoon as the search continued. The DEA brought in a helicopter to help with search efforts, according to the CPD.
Alice Long, who was working at The Cabinet Company in the same Conroe West strip center, said she heard the commotion.
“I heard what I thought was a car backfiring,” she said. “Then I heard sirens real close.”
Long said she then saw police cars pull into the jewelry shop next door.
Long remembers the last time the jewelry store was robbed.
“I had not been here six months when they got hit,” she said.
That was in November 2014, when a plumber’s van backed in front of Jeff’s Jewelry and five men jumped out, smashing the door with a sledgehammer.
“We weren’t even open yet,” Turner stated in a previous Conroe Courier report on the robbery. “We were still putting the jewelry out … (An employee) grabbed our shotgun. The robbers saw he had it, and ran out, saying, ‘They’ve got guns. Let’s get out of here.'”
Turner was not available for comment after Monday’s attempted robbery, Bond said.
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