Suspect Held in Slaying at Jewelry Store

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A Vista man was being held without bail Thursday in the shooting death of a jewelry store owner during a robbery.

Sheriff's homicide detectives took Latwon Reginald Weaver, 23, into custody at his apartment shortly after the Wednesday holdup. He is being held at the County Jail in Vista on suspicion of murder, robbery and kidnaping, Sgt. Manny Castillo said.

A gunman walked into the Shadowridge Jewelry Store in the Melrose Village Plaza shopping center in Vista about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, grabbed a woman customer around the neck and put a gun to her head.

The assailant then pulled the woman across the room to the sales counter, where he demanded that a clerk give him the store's cash and merchandise, Castillo said.

The gunman also ordered the store owner, Michael Broome, 34, to step out from behind a shielded area, Castillo said. Broome complied and did nothing to provoke the gunman, Castillo said, but was shot once in the chest from a distance of 6 to 8 feet.

Broome died at the scene, said Jerry Hillbrand, a county medical examiner investigator.

After shooting Broome, the robber grabbed a few items from a display case and fled, Castillo said.

As the gunman's blue Oldsmobile erratically sped south on Melrose Drive, it was spotted by an off-duty sheriff's deputy, who followed it to an apartment at the Shadowridge Heights complex, Castillo said.

The deputy, whose name is not being released, returned to the shopping center and led investigators back to the apartment, where Weaver was taken into custody without incident, Castillo said.

A search of Weaver's vehicle and the residence, which he shares with a girlfriend, turned up jewelry taken from the store, Castillo said.

The kidnaping charge that is expected to be filed against Weaver is in connection with the woman customer having been used as a hostage during the crime, Castillo said.

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