There are bandages still wrapped around Zia Muhammad's head, and blood staining the walls of his Brampton, Ont., home, both reminders of a brutal home invasion that saw three men hold the jewelry store owner and his family hostage this week.
The attempted robbery Wednesday marks the fourth such time Toronto-area jewelry store owners have recently been targeted in their homes, police told CBC News.
In this case Muhammad and his entire family — his wife, his daughters, his nine-year-old son and 74-year-old father and mother — were held at gunpoint.
Muhammad arrived home with groceries around 8 p.m. Wednesday when he says three men came at him from inside his house. The robbers swarmed Muhammad and his father, smashing the owner of JV Jewellers over the head with the butt of a gun. They began beating Muhammad until he fell on the floor and then tied up his hands and took him downstairs, he told CBC News Saturday.
"I thought, 'That's it today, they kill me,'" he said.
They broke his nose and cut away his jacket and part of his shirt with knives, he said. Bloodstains are still visible on the walls of his basement.
'God help me'
The intruders kept asking for the keys or passwords to enter Muhammad's Airport Road jewelry store, but he said he was so panicked — and the security so complicated — that he didn't trust himself to give them the correct information. They had already told him that his nine-year-old son was tied up upstairs and that if the passcodes did not work, they would kill the boy, he said.
"I break down," Muhammad said. "I'm praying in my heart, 'God help, me. God help me.' I can't do anything that time."
His 74-year-old father recently had a pacemaker installed. Muhammad's son and his mother were tied up upstairs. All he could do was hope that his wife would come into the driveway and call police to say that something was wrong, he said.
Instead, his wife walked inside with his two daughters. All three were bound and taken downstairs, he said.
"When I saw my wife is trapped, I just give up everything," he said. "Hopeless, helpless."
The intruders became preoccupied with Muhammad's family and he said that he used the moment to run up the stairs and get outside. His hands were still tied behind his back, his face covered in blood, and he could not properly knock on a neighbour's door.
Only one person opened their door to him, he said, because they were all afraid of the blood.
"And I said, 'I need help, please, help. My family [is] held up at gunpoint," he said.
Muhammad said his neighbours would not let him inside, but they did call police.
Const. George Tudos told CBC News that they are investigating, but had not made any arrests as of Saturday.
"It was obviously a targeted location. They knew what they were going for and they made specific demands of the homeowner at the time."
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