The owner of a jewelry store in London, Ont., remains in hospital after he was shot while leaving work Wednesday night in an incident police say involved at least five suspects who fled the scene in a blue sedan.
Officers responded to the scene outside of RK Forever Jewellery at the southeastern corner of Wonderland Road and Teeple Terrace around 6 p.m. July 26, closing time for the business which has been operating in the plaza for nearly three years.
In a release, police said that a male occupant of a red Porsche was shot during the incident and was rushed by paramedics to hospital. Five suspects, including one who stayed in the getaway car, are being sought, police said. The vehicle, a newer-model blue Acura TLX, fled north on Wonderland.
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The man hospitalized was RK Forever’s owner, Riham Kamil, according to Kamil’s business associate, Subhi Kutob, who spoke with Global News on Friday.
Kutob was not there when the shooting happened, but says the store’s security cameras captured part of the incident, including how the suspect vehicle had been parked at the plaza for at least 20 minutes prior to the shooting.
“They parked around 5:35 in front of the store on the opposite side of the parking (lot). He was closing the store about 5:53, he walked towards his car. Once he entered the car, they moved their car and they blocked him,” he said.
The suspects emerged from their vehicle, one armed with a pistol, and attempted to open the driver’s side door of Kamil’s Porche, Kutob said. “That’s when Riham tried to move the car and they shot him.”
In all, he estimates that the entire encounter, from the time Kamil was blocked to when the suspects fled, took less than a minute.
“My explanation is maybe they were trying to bring him back to the store because it would be easier for them, maybe, to … like threaten to open the safe and grab whatever they can.”
Kamil managed to call 9-1-1 after the shooting, then called his wife and Kutob as he waited for emergency crews to arrive, Kutob said.
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Paramedics rushed him to the hospital where he underwent three hours of emergency surgery. The bullet had entered the left side of his torso, breaking two ribs and lodging itself about an inch from his heart, Kutob said. He remained in hospital in stable condition as of Friday.
“He’s a tough guy. He’s been in the business for like 20 years. He comes from a first-generation jewelry family, so he’s very much cautious and aware of his surroundings, but he would never have thought that this would happen,” Kutob said.
On Thursday, police released descriptions of the suspects being sought in connection with the incident:
- Male, Black, with a thin build, wearing a dark blue Puma hoodie sweatshirt, dark grey or black sweatpants and white shoes;
- Male, Caucasian, wearing a black Puma hoodie, dark coloured pants and a surgical mask;
- Male, Caucasian, wearing a black hoodie and grey sweatpants;
- An individual wearing a blue and black windbreaker-style jacket, black pants, white shoes, and a white mask or face covering.
A description was not available for the fifth suspect, who remained in the vehicle.
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If the incident was an attempted jewelry store robbery, as Kutob believes it may have been, it would be the second to take place in the city in a matter of weeks.
Police say a jewelry store in the 2400-block of Main Street in the city’s Lambeth neighbourhood was hit earlier this month by four suspects.
Two of the suspects, one armed with a hammer and the other with a firearm, entered the business and proceeded to damage display cases before fleeing with no stolen property in a red Kia Sorento EX, police said.
“We’re continuing to investigate and are looking at all avenues including motive and any potential links to any other criminal activity which have not been established at this time,” a police spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Friday.
“We’re continuing to seek the involved vehicle. As always, we ask members of the public to please contact us if they have any information about this incident. We also continue to appeal to people who have dashcam video and who may have been in the area around the time of the incident.”
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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