Castillo’s Jewelry: Anatomy of a Houston Shoot-Out

I just saw this story from Houston’s chron.com while drinking my morning coffee. Jewelry shop owner in bad neighborhood defends wife, life, and livelihood against three armed attackers. Final tally, three dead bad guys, one wounded and hospitalized good guy, one scared wife, and one potential accomplice fled and remains at large. First, my info is based solely on the news article, so after clicking the link you’ll be as educated as I am. Second, I hope that Mr. Castillo and wife recover from this horrifying event. Finally, what tidbits of info can we glean from the account?

Recap – Mr. Castillo’s been running the same jewelry shop for 22 years. It might not have been a bad neighborhood when he started, but it is now. Windows and doors barred, alarm, automatic door locks, etc. Customers must knock, get buzzed in, and after shopping get buzzed out again. Two men get buzzed in and pretend to shop for a while. Third man buzzed in, pulls gun and commences criminal activity.

First two men then join in the fun. Mr. and Mrs. Castillo get hustled into back room. Mrs. Castillo tied to chair, Mr. Castillo next. That’s when he pulled his own pistol and killed one bad guy. He then proceeded to his office, grabbed a shotgun, and commenced shooting until the other two were dead. He himself was shot three times but survived.

My initial thought is why did he wait until his wife was already tied up? She was tied to a chair and in an upright sitting position while all the shooting went on. Police say quite a few rounds fired, with bullet casings all over the place. Pretty much luck she wasn’t hit. Tactically, better to start fighting before she’s tied up so that she can either assist, take cover, or flee as appropriate. Assuming there was a back door to flee through.

Of course, maybe he was biding his time. Maybe he was waiting until one or two of the guys wandered back to the main room. Maybe he didn’t have an opportunity until that point. Maybe he wanted their attention away from his wife before he started shooting. I can’t second guess his actions since I wasn’t there, but if at all possible start fighting before one of your own is tied up. I can’t imagine the fear his wife had, helpless, in the midst of a gunfight.

Second thought. Customers must be buzzed out again? Is it possible the other two men might have fled but couldn’t because the door was locked? I can see the thought that if one bad guy is already in the shop, he can open the door to let another bad guy in. So buzz-in/buzz-out sounds reasonable. Until you and yours are trapped with multiple bad guys and no one can get out. I don’t have a good answer to this quandary, other than to say I would want a second exit to the shop.

Third thought, this story supports the old saying that “a pistol’s only good for fighting your way to a real gun.” No mention of the type of firearms used, but if we assume that Mr. Castillo is old school, then most likely the pistol is a small snubbie or equivalent. Limited ammo, power, and range. Having the shotgun backup was absolutely necessary and much better than trying to reload a pistol in the midst of a fight.

Also, having a gun on him at all times was key. That’s a subject discussed here on several occasions. While not a home invasion, there are also multiple accounts of thieves following jewelry shop owners home and assaulting them there. Most owners of small businesses keep some stock at the house which is less defended than the store. If you’re a small business owner, take heed.

Fourth thought, he was shot three times and kept fighting. No word on the criminals’ choice of weaponry, but sometimes knock-down power ain’t. You can survive being shot, you can even fight back after being shot. So can your attacker. It ain’t over until the fat lady sings, and sometimes not even then. Never give up! Because . . .

Final thought. It’s quite obvious the Castillo’s were being lined up for murder. Fighting back was the only option. There are some truly bad people in this world and we shouldn’t forget that. It’s apparent that the local community is outraged by this and standing strong in support of the Castillo’s.

You can recite all the FBI crime statistics you find about crime declining, the street story is that people are tired of it. Even if violent crime is in some minor decline, people are tired of rubber band courts, ineffective policing, liberal angst over the criminal class, and general kid-gloved treatment.

Again, I hope the best for the Castillo’s. They now face a long road of physical and mental recovery. To say nothing of patching all the bullet holes in the shop.

13 Responses to Castillo’s Jewelry: Anatomy of a Houston Shoot-Out

  1. avatarDan Baum says:

    One quibble: The line about ineffective policing. Policing has actually gotten quite good. It is mostly likely the main reason for the big drop in crime in the past twenty years. (Twenty years ago, nobody believed that police could control crime. There’s been a radical rethinking since then, and the results are impressive. If you regularly read Peter Moskos’s excellent blog, http://www.copinthehood.com, you’ll be up on this.)
    The issue isn’t that policing is ineffective. The issue is that police can’t be counted on to be there when something bad happens, which is why, for people living in dodgy circumstances, carrying a gun may make sense.
    I don’t disagree with your overall point, that carrying a gun can be a prudent choice. I just didn’t want you to get away with maligning all police officers as “ineffective” simply because they cannot be everywhere at once (and have no Constitutional obligation to do so.)

    • avatarJarhead1982 says:

      Policing is becoming quite effective? Uh on what planet?

      By the way, how many of the reported violent crimes are solved each year to prosecution?

      Per the FBI UCR in 2008 that was 49% of the 1.38 million reported violent crimes.

      How many of those were successfully prosecuted?

      Review of several sources on prosecutorial success for both state and federal cases averages 80%.

      So lets do the basic numbers 1.38 mill x .49% = 676,200 cases to prosecution and 676,200 x .80 = 540,960 cases solved in 2008.

      Oh wait, we forgot to acknowledge that which the government acknowledges, that 75% of all violent crimes are not even reported to the police.
      USDOJ National Victimization report 2008, 4.8 million violent crimes not reported.

      So actual % of cases closed and solved of all violent crimes committed =

      540,960 /(1.38 mill +4.8 mill) = 8.75% of all violent crimes closed/solved in 2008.

      Still looking for proof this trend is different year to year.

      Still looking for proof that 8.75% closure/solving of all violent crimes is effective by any means or interpretation.

  2. avatarDan Baum says:

    Also, “liberal angst about the criminal class?” Please. What is this, 1972? You guys accuse us liberals of having a blindspot about the Second Amendment. Agreed. But you guys have a blindspot about the fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth. This just in: Those rights are in the Constitution, too. We could turn the old joke around, and instead of asking how an ACLU lawyer counts to ten (1, 3,4,5…) ask how a Pacfic Legal Foundation lawyer counts to ten, (2,….)

    • avatarian3fs says:

      I think most of us agree that Bush passing the Patriot Act voided many of the rights you mention. I personally don’t agree with it myself, but must say I haven’t seen the current President making a huge effort repealing it.

  3. avatarDon Curton says:

    Dan, not to go too far off topic, but another reason for the big drop in crime in the past twenty years is legalization of of abortion almost 30 years ago.

    Besides, I’m not maligning police officers, I’m maligning police work. Even good officers have to admit that (due to liberals and political correctness) that they cannot profile due to race. What’s up with that? It’s proven effective. Plus any number of other liberal mandated restrictions on how police can do their job. Sorry, my point stands. Too often good police officers have their hands tied.

    In addition, a big reason for the zero tolerance (and 3 strikes) movement is the fact that most career criminals play revolving door with the legal system. Coddled and let go, time and again. Normal people are tired of it. It would be interesting to see if these three dead hoods had a criminal record.

    • avatarRalph says:

      Don Curton says that “another reason for the big drop in crime in the past twenty years is legalization of of abortion almost 30 years ago.”

      Before anybody goes all wobbly about that comment, recognize that there might be some truth in it. It cannot be denied that unwanted children sometimes grow up to be wanted criminals. And sometimes they grow up to cure cancer.

  4. avatarKW says:

    Good for him! It will be interesting to see if the video cameras recorded the shooting.

  5. avatarRalph says:

    According to police, the robbers got the drop on Castillo, herded him and his wife into the back room and began to tie her up. When they ordered Castillo to put his hands behind his back (to tie them?), he was able to snatch his gun from his waistband. Although reports are unclear, it seems that Castillo was carrying SOB and this was the first time he could reach for his gun. It must have been a hell of a shootout. Aside from three dead and one wounded, police comments indicate “a lot” of shell cases from pistols and the shotgun, and “bullet fragments everywhere.” Mr. Castillo, who was hit three times including a gut shot, says he didn’t know he was hit until the fight was over.

    Compare Mr. Castillo’s active and effective response with the passive whining of the male school board members in Panama City. It seems to me that Ginger Littleton and Ramon Castillo are two mighty tough folks.

  6. avatarDon Curton says:

    It appears that two of the three bad guys were Honduran, with Honduran indentification, and immigration status unknown. The third has yet to be identified. If you’re not a Houston native, “immigration status unknown” means illegal. Just doing the crimes that regular Americans don’t want to do. Not to get all conservative v. liberal again, but this is another example of why we want the borders sealed, NOW.

  7. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    Well, looks like the 3 scumbags ended their criminal lives on a good note. These lowlifes won’t be so bad when they arrive in HELL where they belong. Now the poor working guy who was just trying to save himself and his wife will probably get sued for doing the right thing.

  8. avatarAnna Castillo says:

    Just looking through some memories…my dad is doing fine just waiting on his next surgery. Those bullet holes in the store are still there, if you watched the news that same week you heard also of the incident down the road similar to this story. My father asked the owner if he thought of leaving…..he said “NO! This is my neighborhood and we are staying” I guess my dad will too. He’s back to work again doing small jobs as my brother fills in for him till he is better. Thanks for the comments!

  9. avatarJuan Castillo says:

    this is my first time reading this and most of it is not accurate…my father never got tied..my mom was the first to get tied with plastic tie straps which by the way were on backwards and just came undone …next was my father but as the criminal made my dad reach back to tie strap him he actually put my dads hands on his 9mm beretta my dad then reached around his left shoulder and shot the criminal in his face!…thats when all the shooting started which by the way the criminals had .40cal glock ….at this time my mother was face down on the floor in the office, there is no chairs in the office :-) ……after firing several rounds back and forward my father told the men just to leave and buzzed them out, but the criminals said no and actually closed the door again…bad decision…thats when my dad pulled out the next pistol which was a .357 magnum, used it to clear the way to the back room (got shot in the process) to pick up the sawed off black shot gun we have “just in case” …in the mist of all this my father shot the fire extinguisher and made visibility ZERO….he said all he could see was the guys hat’s and seen one run across the store main floor room, well what happen next is from practicing over and over when we go hunting…first one then the other that was left…bucked!!! its sounds crazy but these guys literally told my parents they were going to die regardless of what happen….it’s on the video by the way… i think and know thats the only reason my father reacted this way….the surveillance camera system got shot but it made it threw… with this being said for sure if you ever run into any of the Castillo’s family women or men they will be armed just like before and after…. the end

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