(GARDEN COVE, Calif.) — Five masked men poured into a jewelry store in a strip mall in Garden Grove, Calif., Wednesday expecting to carry out a simple smash and grab robbery. But within less than a minute, they discovered they were no match for the store’s owner, a gray-haired woman whose finger seems quite comfortable on the trigger.
Surveillance video, featured on ABC News affiliate KABC-TV, shows a white SUV backing into a handicap parking spot directly in front of the store. Almost as soon as the car is parked, five men, two armed with handguns, poured into the store for what they thought would be a simple get in, get out robbery.
Once they were inside, two of the suspects can be seen ordering a customer and employees to the ground, while the other suspects open sacks and demand money.
The store owner was in the back of the store when the robbery started and saw what was happening through a small opening in a wall that separates the rooms. She then fired two rounds from a handgun at the suspects.
“The store owner feared for the safety of her employees and customers, so she had a right to defend herself,” said Garden Grove Police Lt. Jeff Nightengale.
The suspects can be seen stumbling and running into each other as they all try to get out of the door at once, scrambling to evade the gun-toting store owner. They piled into their getaway car and drove away, but not before one of the suspects shot a round into the store’s ceiling.
Although she did have the right to defend herself and her store, police say, they would encourage business owners not to take the law into their own hands.
“Our official recommendation is that business owners should not take the law upon themselves,” said Nightengale. “It is difficult because when you start shooting guns those rounds can end up anywhere. We would rather have the crime happen and have good witnesses rather than putting someone’s safety in jeopardy.”
Police say that they have none of the suspects’ identities, but they did say that they have a piece of evidence that has DNA on it which is currently being examined.
The only thing that was stolen during the whole ordeal was the customer’s cellphone. No one was injured.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Brynn Gingras, CNN
Ralph Ellis and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
Ben Oldach, CNN