Visibly under shock, Joseph Attard who yesterday was the target of hold-up at his shop in Zabbar, described to TVM how he and two of his friends resisted the robber who then shot at them with a gun. TVM is informed that the robber, who was arrested in the shop, had served a three year prison sentence after he was found guilty of carrying out another hold up at a jewellery shop in Valletta eight years ago.
“We got into a struggle with him to take away his gun and he shot at us. He was underneath us and we were fighting over the gun. We took the gun away and he told us he was going to leave. But we told him, no you are not. We phoned the police and they came.”
This version by Joseph Attard is collaborated by CCTV footage which is in the hands of the police as part of the evidence which will be submitted in court over the attempted hold up of the confectionary shop Crystal Palace, in Zabbar last night. The holes from the bullets can still be seen in the shop.
From its investigations, TVM has learned that the robber is Marcus John Calleja, 46, who was sentenced to jail seven years ago after pleading guilty that in September 2010, together with two other people, they tried to rob a jewellery shop in Triq Santa Luċija, Valletta. On that day, the owner Frank Zampa, also tried to resist the robbers and even tried to grab the gun which was being pointed towards him by the robbers.
The same story repeated itself in Attard’s shop last night at around 8pm when among those present was his grandmother and her ten-year-old grandson who was traumatized by the armed robber and had to be taken to hospital suffering from shock. Attard said that the robber was wearing a mask.
“He fired between 3 and four shots”
Joseph Attard said “as soon as he came in I noticed he was holding some strange object and as I looked at his face and the object, he turned to me and pointed the pistol, but I fended him off and defended myself. I know he fired one shot at the ceiling. I think it was between three or four shots. At that moment I just felt complete panic, I don’t even know what happened exactly.”
Asked whether he was afraid when he heard the first gunshot, the shop owner said, “I don’t know. At that moment I don’t even know where I found the courage. I saw him coming for me with the gun and I don’t even know why I did what I did.”
As the situation was unfolding, Police from the Rapid Intervention Unit arrived and arrested the robber. Investigations are underway to determine whether the man who was arrested may have been involved in other similar cases.
A Magisterial inquiry has been opened.