Man in El Cajon jewelry store hatchet attack sought

EL CAJON, Calif. - Police are continuing to search for a man who beat the owner of an El Cajon jewelry store with the blunt end of a hatchet and stole the owner's handgun.

According to El Cajon police, the assault and robbery happened Wednesday shortly before 3:30 p.m. at Hamlin Jewelers in the 2200 block of Fletcher Parkway. When officers arrived on scene, they found the owner suffering from numerous head wounds.

It was initially reported that the attack happened after the suspect's credit card transaction was denied, but police now say that the "suspect entered the business on a ruse to buy merchandise."

Police said the suspect struck the owner with the hammer end of a hatchet "in an apparent attempt to rob the business."

The victim fell behind the counter and pulled out a small caliber handgun and then pointed it at the suspect, according to police.

A second struggle ensued, and the suspect was able to take the gun from the victim and then ran out of the store, police said.

Surveillance video obtained by 10News showed the suspect running away from the jewelry store and through the parking lot of La Mesa Auto and Tire Center. Close behind him was a witness who was trying to catch him.

The unidentified victim suffered severe injuries and is in stable condition at a local hospital.

The suspect is described as a white or Hispanic male in his 20s with a slight beard. He is described as having a thin build and wearing a black shirt and dark pants.

The suspect was last seen getting into a Toyota 4Runner now believed to be silver in color, with a possible partial license plate of 4XU245 and driving away west on Fletcher Parkway. The 4Runner is believed to have been driven by an accomplice.

The handgun appeared to have been the only item stolen during the crime, police said.

The suspect should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone seeing a vehicle or a person matching the description is encouraged to call 911, and anyone with any information is also encouraged to call the El Cajon Police Department at 619-579-3311.

Anyone with information on the suspect's identity can qualify for a $1,000 reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 888-580-TIPS.

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