Houston: Embattled East End Store Owners Fighting Back

Chron.comPaige Hewitt

websource: Free Republic

Another robbery suspect dies as shop owners turn to deadly force to protect what's theirs.

Proprietors of small businesses in Houston's hardscrabble East End, resentful of criminals who can wreck their lives in a matter of moments, are striking back.

Twice in the past five days, business owners or their relatives have fatally shot robbers on the premises of their shops. Law enforcement officials are stepping up patrols and educational efforts, and owners of neighboring businesses are traumatized and angry.

"There's a lot of reason to be scared," said Guillermo Memo Villarreal, who owns a record shop midway between the scenes of the two recent robbery-shootings on Canal. "In one minute, they can destroy you."

On Saturday morning, police said, a man identified by police as the owner of Shew Food Market, in the 7500 block of Canal, shot a robber who was fleeing, along with an accomplice, after taking a bag containing a substantial sum of money.

Two men later showed up at Ben Taub General Hospital, where one of them, identified by police as Elton Guidry, died. His alleged accomplice, Corey Taylor, 31, was jailed without bail on a charge of robbery with bodily injury.

Just two days earlier, an afternoon robbery at Castillo Jewelry Store — just three miles away, in the 4500 block of Canal — ended in a bloodbath.

Robbers shot the owner, 52-year-old Ramon Castillo, in the abdomen, shoulder and legs, leaving him in critical condition Sunday. Castillo shot and killed the three armed robbers, who had tied up his wife of 30 years.

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