Two attackers attempting to rob a downtown Napa jewelry store Monday evening assaulted an employee, who was hospitalized with cardiac arrest, according to police. Authorities reported detaining one suspect shortly afterward, but the second remained at large as of 6:45 p.m.
Officers were called at 5:19 p.m. to Napa Valley Jewelers inside the former Napa Town Center outdoor mall on First Street, according to Lt. Debbie Peecook. Witnesses said two males entered the shop and confronted a male employee, she said. One of the intruders, who was holding a tool, punched and struck the worker in the chest before he and the other suspect fled, said Peecook.
During the assault, the victim suffered cardiac arrest, according to Peecook. An American Medical Response ambulance crew later took the man to Queen of the Valley Medical Center, where Peecook said he was in critical condition.
Other officers, including some on downtown bicycle patrol, found one suspect, a 17-year-old male with visible injuries whom witnesses at the jewelry shop identified as an intruder, according to Peecook. She said another witness reported confronting the teen and striking him with a tool during the incident.
The 17-year-old, whose name was not released because of his age, was detained by officers and was being held at the Napa police station nearby on First Street.
The second suspect, whom police described as a white male, remained at large Monday night. A California Highway Patrol helicopter was patrolling the skies over Napa shortly after 7 p.m.
Police described the attack as a robbery attempt, but no details were immediately available on what merchandise may have been taken from the jewelry store.
Officers closed off a portion of the shopping center with yellow police tape and restricted vehicle traffic on First Street for about an hour, although nearby restaurants stayed open.
Conor Tunnell, a salesman at the GNC nutritional supplement shop next to the jeweler, described a possible near-encounter with a suspect when he locked his own store for a break.
“I took my break at 5:16 and he tried to get in — pulled on the door really hard,” said Tunnell, who added he heard but did not see the stranger. “To be honest, I got a weird feeling about it; got the shivers, sort of like goosebumps. I feel lucky to have missed him by two minutes.”
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Napa Police investigator Andy Hess at 707-257-9223.