Jewelry store owner speaks about Christmas Eve shooting

McNeil Wilson home from hospital

By Jacey Birch - Anchor/Animal Advocate

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. - A man shot on Christmas Eve as his jewelry store was robbed is out of the hospital and talking about his ordeal.

The shooting happened at Brightstar Jewelry about 7 p.m. Monday

McNiel Wilson never thought he would make it out alive when five robbers wearing masks and hoodies smashed up his jewelry cases with crowbars while shooting at anyone and everything inside the store. 

"These people look like they are cold-blooded murderers," Wilson told Local 10's Jacey Birch.  "They just come in and start to shoot. They don't give you a chance."

A bullet went through Wilson's back and punctured his right lung. His arm is now in a sling.

"That's just kind of a barbarian thing. It's really terrible.  You don't do that to innocent people," he said.

Instead of selling jewelry on Christmas Eve at his store inside the Seventh Avenue Flea Market, Wilson and his son were ducking for cover and praying for their lives.  Wilson said it felt like the end of the world.

Both Wilson and his 21-year-old son avoided flying bullets as the five thieves zoned in on the pricey jewelry, fired their guns and grabbed the gold.  Surveillance video from the shop depicts the crime on camera.

"You work all your life and somebody just comes in with guns and takes everything away from you like that, and they want to kill you too. Not only take it, they want to kill you," Wilson said.

The 58-year-old father of ten, grandfather of sixteen, originally from Jamaica, never thought he would spend another holiday with his family.

"I never knew that I would really come through this alive. This is a miracle," he said..

It's a miracle for the businessman who has been robbed at least four times in the last 20 years. This is, by far, the most violent attack on his livelihood and his life.

"Those people don't have any heart," he said.

Late Christmas Eve night Wilson was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital.  His family spent the Christmas holiday by his bedside.

His daughter, Candace Wilson, is grateful her father is now recovering at home.

"We're happy our dad is basically home and he's OK now," she said.

But this man didn't stay in business without arming himself and he didn't sit idle during the attack.

He fought back.

"When they came back for more, that's when I fired a shot and they left now for good," Wilson said.

It has been a hectic holiday and no one wants to go back to work at the family business, at least not this year.

Wilson is uncertain of his family's future.

"I don't really have anything to retire now so I don't know," he said. "I have to sit down with my family and then we will discuss what's next, what we're going to do because we have bills to pay."

Police are still investigating but currently do not have any leads. 

The five masked gunmen took off in a dark grey Chevy Traverse with dark tinted windows.