A jeweller's son who grabbed the shotgun of one of three assailants during a hold-up last Friday fired 'some five shots' at them, neighbours said.

The incident happened at around 8.30 p.m., when Jeweller Michael Mizzi and his son Silvio were returning to their home in Old Railway Road, Attard, after a long day at work at their shop The Gold Market.

Michael Mizzi was carrying a large bag containing cash and other belongings.

A hooded man emerged from the darkness brandishing a crowbar and told the 52-year-old jeweller to hand over his black bag.

Mr Mizzi refused to obey, prompting the thief to strike him with the metal bar, leaving a head wound and an ugly gash on his left cheek.

Meanwhile, two other hooded men pounced on his son from another direction, brandishing a sawn-off shotgun.

“Somehow, my son snatched the gun from them and when they realised what was happening, they ran off,” the father, who did not wish to be photographed, said. His son then fired around five shots, aiming at the hooded man who attacked his father.

“When I heard the shots I thought they had killed my son,” Mr Mizzi said. “I was lying on the ground in pain at the time, and a tree was obstructing my line of vision.”

But he then realised his son managed to hit the remaining assailant in the leg, incapacitating him.

Mr Mizzi said his shop and factory had been broken into a number of times in the past but he never expected such a direct attack.

“God knows how long they have been tracking me,” he said.

He pointed out that he did not normally arrive home at precisely the same time as his son, so the assailants probably expected him to be alone.

“But life goes on,” he said, as he sat at his desk, welcoming a queue of customers. “If you stay home going over things in your head, you’ll go mad.”

The injured villain, who was taken to hospital escorted by a policeman, turned out to be Darren Debono, 33, who was granted bail at the end of October after being charged with attempting to kill police officers in the foiled HSBC heist.

Mr Debono and Vincent Muscat, the other man accused of being involved in the attempted bank heist, who was also granted bail, together face 18 charges.

Mr Debono is said to have fired tens of rounds at policemen during a shootout which ensued midway through the HSBC heist. He had managed to flee the scene but was intercepted when he presented himself at a clinic to be treated for a bullet lodged in his jaw.

He is a man with a history of court appearances and charges but was granted bail by Magistrate Edwina Grima.

Mr Mizzi said: “How can you grant bail to someone like that?”

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici said the police were there to fight crime and protect citizens, even at their own risk, and therefore should be “supported” by all concerned.

“I sincerely hope this case serves as an eye-opener for everyone as to the kind of serious threat such delinquency presents to our society.”

Police are still searching for the two other aggressors who fled the scene in a white van, which was later found on fire some distance away.

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