Attempted armed robbery of popular Houston jewelry store stopped by grandma

HOUSTON -- Opening shop has become a simple routine for Judy Memmel since working at Houston Jewelry for the last 20 years. It's her second home and the place she'd do anything to protect, even risking her life.

"Under the circumstances, people say, 'Well what would you do?'" Memmel asked.

On a foggy Tuesday morning, Memmel and her two colleagues can be seen in surveillance video pulling up just before 9 a.m. to begin setting up the store. But just around the corner, a man dressed in a dark blue suit and sunglasses had been eyeing their every move.

Just as they unlocked the front door, the man ran over with a gun and tried to barge in. His accomplice was sitting in a nearby car, and appeared to be ready to help.

Not on Memmel's watch.

"He wasn't coming in. I was mad," Memmel said.

When confronted with danger, it's fight or flight-- and the grandmother of five didn't even think twice.

"I said, 'We're not open,' and he tries to push the door and I literally put my hands on his chest and said, 'You're not coming in,'" Memmel said.

Memmel shoved the robber back and the man fired three shots before running to the getaway car.

The bullets hit one of the display cases and went through the ceiling. Luckily, no one was hurt.

"This is the first time we've dealt with a weapon being fired at our store. We prefer that an armed person not be confronted because a life is more valuable," Houston Jewelry CEO Rex Solomon said.

As for Judy, she locked the door then walked away like nothing had happened. She even went back to work later that day.

"You know, I probably wouldn't have done the same thing again," she said.

When asked where she got the strength to shove a young man standing at nearly 6 feet 2 inches tall-- Memmel said, "I'm in pretty good physical shape because I'm a ballroom dancer."

Although Solomon said the store has more than 80 cameras surrounding the property, they're now beefing up security through the holidays.

Authorities said the suspects could face multiple felonies for firing that gun.

Anyone who recognizes the suspect is asked to call Crimestoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).