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.