THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- Nearly three months after her store was held up at gunpoint, Heather Lewis, the owner of Avis Fine Jewelry in Thomasville, is speaking out. She's asking for help supporting the man she says saved her and her employees' lives.
“I do believe 100 percent that you would have found three dead bodies in here had he not pulled up when he did,” Lewis said. “I really believe it.”
Kerry Chambers is an independent jeweler. He has worked with the store for more than 20 years. Lewis said that when Chambers pulled up to the parking lot on Jan. 9, he scared off the robbery suspects inside.
“He is a true hero,” Lewis said.
Thomasville police say two men rushed into the store, pointed a gun and then took off with more than $200,000 worth of jewelry.
According to police, Chambers followed the men as they drove off on a moped. The 59-year-old told us he pursed the suspects from a distance so that he could tell police which way they went. The two men then turned around and Chambers says one of the suspects took out a gun. Fearing for his life, Chambers crashed into the moped. One suspect took off, the other picked up the gun and shot Chambers in the face.
“He looked at me directly in the eye, like I'm staring at you,” Chambers said. “Bam. No conscience. No heart. It's pretty tough to think somebody has no feelings like that.”
Chambers says the bullet went into his cheek, was redirected by his teeth and jaw and came out on the other side of his neck.
After an extensive search and high-speed chase, police were able to arrest both men and their getaway car driver.
Chamber’s injuries are taking longer to heal.
Avis Fine Jewelry store is putting together a benefit for him to help cover the cost of medical bills and the damage to his truck. The store owner also coordinated with a dentist’s office to provide Chambers with the dental work he needs.
“Everyone has gone to bat for me, I really appreciate it a lot,” Chambers said. “It shows me there is loving kind people out there, not the kind of people that I saw during that day, but there is people with love and kindness in their hearts.”
The benefit is taking place at Memorial United Methodist Church in Thomasville on Saturday, April 28, starting at 4:30 p.m.
There will be a pasta dinner with a live and silent auction.