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Robber Had Jeweler at Gunpoint When Co-Worker Opened Fire, Police Say

As new details emerge in Friday's botched heist at Monaco Jewelers in San Juan Capistrano, a third and fourth suspect are being sought.

When a robber from Los Angeles shoved his pistol into the stomach of a San Juan Capistrano jewelry store manager early Friday, the store's owner drew a gun and opened fire, killing the would-be thief and one of his accomplices, authorities revealed Monday.

"At this point it looks like self-defense," said Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino.

Left dead was 39-year-old Robert Earl Avery, who reportedly brandished his weapon after being buzzed into Monaco Jewelers and holding the door open for accomplices Desmond Brown, 39, also from L.A., and a third man who fled after the shooting.

The armed store owner, "thinking his fellow employee was about to be harmed," fired his first shot at Avery, Amormino said. When Brown then advanced toward the owner—whose name was withheld—the jeweler gunned him down too, firing at least one other shot.

Upon hearing the gun go off, the third suspect jumped over the counter, sprinted out the front door and hopped into a getaway vehicle, Amormino said. A fourth suspect was waiting behind the wheel of a stolen blue Toyota Camry from San Bernardino. They drove a short distance before dumping the car, then climbed into another vehicle and escaped the scene.

An autopsy report completed Monday confirmed that Avery and Brown died from gunshot wounds. The full reports will not be released until the Sheriff's Department finalizes its investigation.

"I do not know how many shots were fired," Amormino said. "We're waiting to release that."

Meanwhile, the law firm representing Monaco Jewelers contends Avery's gun was initially held to the store manager’s head. After a struggle, the pistol was pressed against the manager's stomach, said attorney Bonnie N. Fine, of Palm Desert-based Fine & Woliung.

In a statement released to the media, Fine said the owner’s wife and 19-year-old son were forced to the floor at gunpoint after the robbers entered the store. The owner's "dear friend and manager was assaulted and a gun was held to his head," prompting the owner to shoot, the statement said. “Though [the owner] regrets the loss of life, he is thankful that his family and employees are alive."

Fine declined to release any employee names, saying, “We’re concerned about retaliation at this point."

According to Los Angeles Superior Court records, Avery was convicted in 1999, 2006 and 2007 of carrying cocaine with the intent to sell. In the 1990s, he was also found guilty of tampering with a telephone and counterfeit.

A hunt is still on for the third and fourth suspects. Anyone who might have seen the two men is asked to call 1-866-TIP-OCSD.

CE June 28, 2011 at 04:45 PM
It doesn't look to me as though these robbers were illegal aliens -- so much for all that anti-illegal ranting!
rick lyons June 28, 2011 at 07:13 PM
I did not know looks determine if you are here illegally or not.
rick lyons June 28, 2011 at 07:14 PM
In other words, how do looks determine your citizenship?
CE June 28, 2011 at 07:51 PM
Oh, come on, Rick. What are the odds that black men named Desmond Brown and Robert Avery are illegal aliens? It's probably more likely that they're space aliens than illegal aliens. Get a grip.
rick lyons June 28, 2011 at 09:16 PM
So, now names and odds determine your citizenship. I am sure glad you are not leading our City.
jeff s June 28, 2011 at 10:59 PM
the fact that these two from LA were killed is such wonderful news, let it be awarnign to the gang thugs in LA, we will fight you and kill you if you try to steal from us. we are not and easy target..
JR JamesoN June 29, 2011 at 01:04 AM
Another example of a law abiding citizen exercising his 2nd amendment rights. Right to carry laws reduce crime. Period! John formerly of OC
jeff s June 29, 2011 at 01:08 AM
yes they do, crime, as it were - was reduced by 2 gang thugs a few days ago. indeed the math seems to add up.
Jaime Garau June 29, 2011 at 01:42 PM
Think of all the money the State of California just saved! 2 dead life long criminals that we won't have to defend in the courts, sentence and then pay for them to be locked up only to be released and commit more crimes. Swift justice! Of course their families will sue claiming entrapment or something and of course... loss of income!
jeff s June 30, 2011 at 08:48 AM
i have decided from now on, when it comes to jewelry purchases, i will shop at MONACO JEWELERS exclusively! great work guys! keep it up!!! where can i get a T-Shirt?
Ben July 09, 2011 at 07:24 AM
great job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 more low life's got exactly what they deserve. ARM UP IT IS YOUR RIGHT................MONACO JEWELERS ARE HERO'S thank god you are all okay. these low life's have been robbing and hurting people for years and now they are DEAD HALLELUIAH ,,, too bad they didn't kill all 4 of them.
jeff s July 09, 2011 at 11:01 AM
essentials sound like a liberal with a bad case of potty mouth! God bless Monaco Jewelers, i want Tshirts AND bumper stickers!!!
luckyfreeman September 07, 2011 at 10:22 PM
The property owning taxpayer did the right thing...Self defense and defense of his employees life ...Thank GOD for the second ammendment...Just think both the workers would be dead had the owner not been armed for self defense......Just think now the law abiding taxpayers don't have to feed shelter and clothe these good for nothing criminal scum bags
luckyfreeman September 07, 2011 at 10:23 PM
There just wasn't time for a citizens arrest. It all happened so fast .. Thank GOD for the outcome...
luckyfreeman September 07, 2011 at 10:28 PM
It sounds like these 2 robbers had quite lenthy records of serious mostly drugs counterfitting and tampering with telephone, probably prank calls or money scams...
luckyfreeman September 07, 2011 at 10:33 PM
Better this way that the taxpaying store owner still is alive ... Just think that had they waited for the police to arrive about an hour after the store was robbed and all the employees were murdered, and the robbers had gotten away to strike again somewhere else at some other time to some other law abiding unarmed sucker. and the same 2 guys would have murdered them to...I like this ending better..Save the taxpayers...Let the taxpayers save the other taxpayers...
luckyfreeman September 07, 2011 at 10:36 PM
Where were the police ???? Did they ever catch any of the thiefs ?? Did they ever save any of the taxpayers ??? Did they get restitution for the property owning taxpayer...I bet that they didn't even take fingerprints...
Marianne Viscuso September 09, 2011 at 09:04 PM
I agree, it is better this way, how dare they come here to do their dirt and to recruit the young members of this community to do it as well. I dont think its fair that the police are even out done by these ppl when it comes to fire power.
Adam Townsend September 09, 2011 at 09:38 PM
The cops caught the other alleged participants in the robbery several weeks later. There are being arraigned today: http://sanclemente.patch.com/articles/4-men-to-be-arraigned-today-in-fatal-monaco-jewelers-robbery
craig thomas June 05, 2012 at 10:10 AM
I knew Robert Avery since h.s he was very at basketball and talented. I guess he got caught up with the wrong crowd still a sad way to die bad choices will kill you or put you in the pen God got his soul now. Guess he was not thinking of his daughter at all sad.

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