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Store employee opens fire on gunmen, one believed to have been wounded. | News

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Store employee opens fire on gunmen, one believed to have been wounded.

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- Police continue searching tonight for four masked men who attempted to rob a Plainfield Township jewelry store Tuesday afternoon, including one who was shot by the owner.

Robbers entered Paul Medawar Fine Jewelry, 4518 Plainfield Ave. NE, about 12:30 p.m. At least one of them was armed with a handgun, the Kent County Sheriff's Department said.

They smashed a glass display case with a hammer and were quickly confronted by owner David Medawar and his father, Paul, both of whom were armed.

One of the suspects was shot in the torso and blood was found at the scene, Kent County investigators said.

"When we see a threat, we were taught to warn the threat that we are armed, which we did,'' David Medawar said. "We told them 'we have guns. We will shoot you. Leave. Leave. We will shoot you.'

"They did not leave,'' David Medawar said. "They came and tried to get all of us. We saw the threat; we saw him aiming a gun at us. We fired and eliminated the threat and they fled.''

Police throughout West Michigan are on the lookout for the suspects and area hospitals have been notified that one of the suspects may be seeking treatment for a gunshot. A Michigan State Police helicopter called in to assist with the search southwest of where Plainfield Avenue connects with East Beltline Avenue NE.

Shortly after the robbery, Northview Public Schools were placed on lockdown. The high school is less than a mile from the jewelry store. School officials lifted the lockdown about 1:45 p.m. after getting the OK from police.

A tracking dog followed the suspects between a church and the Kent District Library branch on Five Mile Road southeast of the jewelry store. Witnesses told police men matching the suspects' descriptions ran to a black van parked near the jewelry store.

Police initially reported five robbers, but the number was changed to four by late afternoon. The foursome wore dark blue coats and black masks.

Deputies began clearing the scene at 1:55 p.m. as investigators fanned out their search for the suspected getaway vehicle.

The same store was robbed by three men in October, 2010. In that case, the suspects taped one worker's hands and used pepper spray on other employees. The three suspects, all from Detroit, were arrested in that incident. Click here for that story.

"When it first happened in 2010. we felt very helpless; victims of this horrible, brazen crime,'' David Medawar said. "So your life changes. And we said we're going to get trained. We're going to learn to protect ourselves so we're not a victim anymore.''

Under Michigan law, private citizens have the right to user deadly force to protect themselves and others. A state Supreme Court ruling also gives citizens the right to use deadly force to stop a fleeing felon.