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Santa Rosa jewelry store owner: 'I was the shooter' (w/video)

  • Bennett Valley Jewelers owner Ty Visscher, left, looks over his inventory and the smashed glass jewelry display at his store in Santa Rosa on Friday, July 11, 2014. Visscher's store was robbed Thursday and gunfire was exchanged. (Conner Jay / The Press Democrat)

A jewelry store owner who defended his Santa Rosa business with a gun for the second time in less than a year said he was faced with a do-or-die decision when he returned fire at two suspected armed robbers Thursday afternoon.

“I was the shooter,” Ty Visscher said Friday evening, adding he did not want to share specific details while police continue to investigate and as one of the suspects remained at large.

“I was defending everybody who was in the store,” Visscher said. “I gave them (the suspects) the opportunity to drop their weapons and they fired at me. Thank god they missed. It was awful, horrible. But I would always put my life before the people I love.”

Robbery At Bennett Valley Jewelry Store

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At least one of the suspects was hit by gunfire inside Bennett Valley Jewelers, in a strip mall on Yulupa Avenue on the southeast outskirts of Santa Rosa. That man, identified as Jimmy L. Terry, 43, was tackled by an off-duty police officer outside the store as the man attempted to flee. Terry was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with what were described with life-threatening injuries. He remained at the hospital Friday under police guard.

The other male suspect, who remained unidentified Friday, fled in a red Ford Mustang, which authorities found abandoned nearby. A large search of the adjacent neighborhood, Annadel State Park and Spring Lake Regional Park did not locate the suspect, described as a black male with a large build and dreadlocks, in his early twenties.

Suzanne Dodd, an employee of Bennett Valley Jewelers for 13 years, was inside the store and was wounded by gunfire during the holdup.

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