Exclusive: Queens, NY jewelry store owner recovering after being shot during violent robbery describes events.

QUEENS, N.Y. – December 15, 2023 – Screams of terror could be heard from a jewelry store as masked gunmen ransacked and robbed the Queens store Tuesday evening.

The owner’s wife was brutishly thrown to the ground in a life-or-death attempt to fight back. Her husband, meanwhile, was wrestling the other men when he was suddenly shot twice.

“I feel, thanks to God, good,” Manuel Tapia told PIX11 News in an exclusive interview.

Miraculously, the 59-year-old survived and was home from the hospital a day after his brush with death. He recalled thinking he was going to die during the ordeal.

“[I] got hit by adrenaline, and it was life-or-death. [I] was fighting for [my] business and livelihood and family,” Tapia said through a translator.  

His teenage son and nephew were also there, holding their hands in the air during the robbery.

“I was terrified, screaming, ‘Dad, don’t fight! Let them take it.’ But it’s my dad’s life,” Robert Tapia, 18, said. 

Manuel suffered a graze wound to the head and another bullet went through his thigh. 

He opened the jewelry store in Corona two years ago.

The gunmen stole gold and diamonds.

Four of them fled on mopeds or e-bikes, according to the victim’s nephew.

“Those e-bikes have been common, criminals are using them now,” Kevin Leon said.

Investigators are using store security images and bullets recovered from the scene to track them down.

Tapia, thinking about the holiday rush, is eager to get back to work by the end of the week.

If you have any information regarding these subjects, please contact the Jewelers’ Security Alliance at jsa2@jewelerssecurity.org or 212-687-0328.

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