CONROE – Conroe police are investigating an attempted jewelry store robbery that resulted in a shootout between suspects and store employees that left one of the suspects dead.
According to reports, four armed men entered Jeff's Jewelry at 4890 W. Davis Street around 12:40 p.m. demanding jewelry, cash, and a purse from an elderly customer.
Conroe P.D. Lt. Dorcy McGinnis said as the robbers scattered through the store, an employee pulled a pistol.
Customers were also caught in the crossfire.
"There were some customers because they were demanding the purse from an elderly female," McGinnis said. "Trying to take her purse from her."
One of the suspects fired at him. Three employees returned fire, including owner Jeff Turner, who police say was armed with an assault rifle. Javian Jackson, 21, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Three other suspects ran from the store and drove off in a rented Chyslyer 300. They abandoned it about a mile from the store and fled on foot. They remain at large.
Reports of the robbery led to the lockdown of a nearby Conroe school and a church, according to reports.
Peet Middle School was on lockdown because of police activity.
A witness told KPRC2 that a First United Methodist Church was also on lockdown.
Shannon Harris runs a boutique next door to the jewelry store. She said it’s the second time gunmen have attempted to rob the store.
“Two years ago this happened, so they were prepared,” Harrris said. "We feel pretty protected, but we're not really protected anymore. It's kind of sad. Losing that small-town feel."
In November 2014, employees arrived to find four men trying to smash their way through the front door with sledge hammers.
Those suspects left the scene after one of the employees brandished a shotgun.
Police have not released the identity of the man who was killed. They said they are following leads on the other three men who remain on the loose.