Florida jewelry-shop owner shot, killed; suspect caught

Witnesses stood by helplessly Thursday morning when an automatic locking door kept them from aiding a fatally wounded jewelry-shop owner, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Greg Puzon had been shot at least once, but bystanders waited three minutes outside Orlando Custom Jewelers until a deputy arrived and shattered the glass door with a shopping cart, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office reportedly said. Automatic locking doors are common at jewelry stores in Central Florida.

County Fire Rescue paramedics took Puzon to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Puzon, originally from Baggio, Philippines, is survived by his wife and children.

The highly publicized killing produced tips from the public that helped lead to the arrest of a suspect, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office reportedly said Friday.

Detectives found their suspect sitting outside the county jail waiting to surrender and face charges in the shooting death, police reportedly said.

Rodrigo Burgues, 19, reportedly told detectives he shot Puzon in a struggle while trying to rob Orlando Custom Jewelers on South Orange Blossom Trail, Torres said. The teen dressed up in a black blazer, white shirt and black trousers to dupe Puzon into buzzing him through the shop’s locked door, police reportedly said.

Burgues is charged with first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery, the newspaper reports. He remains held without bail.

Within hours of the 11:25 a.m. killing, a woman told deputies she had spotted the getaway car, the newspaper reports, police told the newspaper. She confirmed it was the same Mercury Villager minivan by writing down the tag, which matched the tag broadcast by Central Florida news media.

The vehicle, with Virginia tag JRN8329, was registered to Burgues, who became a target of the investigation, the Sheriff’s Office told the newspaper.

At some point, Burgues shaved his head after the description of a well-dressed, blond suspect was broadcast, police told the newspaper.

Another tip received shortly after midnight led to the arrest. The unidentified tipster told detectives that he had overheard a conversation about the killing after loaning his cell phone to a co-worker.

The tipster retrieved the telephone number later from the phone’s memory and gave it to detectives, who contacted a woman who knew where Burgues was staying, police reportedly said.

Detectives went to an apartment complex near Oak Ridge Road, where Burgues lived with his parents, the newspaper reports. A woman there told detectives that Burgues had gone to the Orange County Jail to surrender.