A fourth suspect is believed to have escaped.
The shootout occurred Thursday afternoon, when two men posing as customers entered the Castillo Jewelry store on Canal Street. The owner of the store, Ramon Castillo, 52, and his wife, Eva Castillo, 48, were assisting the men when a third man entered the store, pulled out a pistol and announced it was a robbery, police said.
"One of the original customers also produced a pistol and the Castillos were forced into the office area of the store," Houston police Sgt. Brian Harris said in a statement to AOL News. "As Mrs. Castillo was tied up, Mr. Castillo was ordered to put his hands behind his back."
Castillo refused to comply and reached behind his back and pulled a pistol out of his waistband. The shopkeeper then shot one of the suspects, and the other two men began to exchange fire with him, police said.
"Castillo then retrieved a shotgun he kept in the store and shot and killed the two remaining suspects," Harris said.
The store has been robbed on at least two other occasions in the last 22 years, according to local media reports.
"I heard the commotion," nearby resident Dan Montoya told CNN. "We came over here, police passed by and I said it's got to be the jewelry shop. ... I know the owner and he's not going to let you rob him twice."
All three suspects sustained fatal gunshot wounds and were pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities have identified two of the men as Nelson Wilfredo Tambora-Ramiro, 21, and Onilton Bolanos Castillano, 38. Authorities were working to identify the third suspect.
Castillo suffered gunshot wounds to the stomach, shoulder and legs, police said. He was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he was in critical but stable condition today. His wife was not hurt.
Investigators are hoping the shootout was captured on the store's surveillance system, but the recording equipment was shot up during the gunfight, and they are uncertain whether they will be able to retrieve the video.
A possible fourth suspect, believed to be the getaway driver, remains at large. He was last seen in a taupe or gold-colored early 1990s sedan, possibly a Nissan or Toyota.
Speaking with the Houston Chronicle, Detective Fil Waters described the story as "incredible" and said it is amazing the shopkeeper's wife was not injured.
Authorities told AOL News today that it will be up to the district attorney to decide whether to press charges against Castillo. Neighbors, however, are standing behind him.
"I don't have no sympathy for them [the robbers]. No," store patron Theresa Arellano told KRIV, the Fox station in Houston.
She said the Castillos "are nice people. I mean, they've been in the neighborhood for as long as I can remember. Why them?"