NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The owner of a Bronx jewelry store has a bullet lodged inside his stomach Saturday night after being shot in his own store.
Police were called to Marilyn’s Diamond Collection Inc. on Johnson Avenue in Riverdale just before 12:30 p.m.
The owner, Chris Carucci, was shot in the hand, and the bullet then lodged in his stomach, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.
“I saw him getting wheeled out in the stretcher. I saw like he had wounds to his chest area, his abdomen area,” witness Natalia Rosario said.
Rosario works at the Starbucks across the street in what residents describe as a very safe neighborhood.
“I work here for two years, and I’ve never seen anything like this happen before,” she said.
“It’s very, very out of character, out of place, unusual for this neighborhood,” Riverdale resident Howard Sherman said. “There might be a burglary or a car theft, but a violent crime in this neighborhood is almost unheard of.”
Police said two men entered the store and asked to see a ring. When the 57-year-old owner noticed a gun, he pressed a panic button, and that’s when he was shot, 1010 WINS’ Darius Radzius reported.
“We didn’t hear anything because it was very busy, the blow driers were going on, everybody was doing their thing. We didn’t hear absolutely anything,” said a woman who works in the salon next door. “Then they saw the gentleman come out in the ambulance, and he was on his cell.”
Police said they’re searching for two black males in their 20s who may have fled in a bronze or champagne colored Ford Explorer. They were last seen wearing baseball caps.
Sources told CBS2 the men may have been there before.
It’s unclear if they stole anything from the store.
Witnesses said Carucci was conscious, even talking on his cellphone, when he was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital for emergency surgery.
“This just shouldn’t happen,” customer Susan Jacobs said.
Jacobs lives nearby and knows the victim. She said she can’t believe the upstanding family business would be the target of a violent crime.
“He is a lovely man,” she said. “But all he’s doing is trying to run his business, and this happens.”
Mary Ellen Gibbs also knows Carucci through his commitment to the community.
“Very nice, close-knit family. Always willing to help the community,” she said. “He was always very willing. The minute you walked in and showed him I’m collecting for the community theater in Riverdale or for Saint Gabriel’s church, he was right out with that checkbook or cash giving us money for it.”
The victim’s son locked up the store after police finished collecting evidence inside. He told Conybeare his father will survive his wounds, but will likely need another round of surgery to remove the bullet.
The investigation is ongoing.