ANTIOCH -- It would be an understatement to say it's been an overwhelming time for Leslie and Mark Perez.
On April 11, two gunmen stormed their Hardy Nix Jewelers, and Mark Perez shot and killed one of the armed men attempting to rob the store at 3600 Delta Fair Blvd., according to police. The second suspect ran out and remains at large. During the crossfire, a female customer was also shot by one of the robbery suspects and has been treated and released from the hospital, police said.
The scene has played out like a nightmare to Leslie Perez, who declined to discuss the details of that traumatic day.
Instead, she and her husband of nearly 40 years are focused on the outpouring of support, kindness and sympathy they have received from family, friends and the community at large.
"It's been extremely overwhelming -- in a good way," Perez said. "It's a palpable feeling of support and love."
And while a parade of relatives and close friends has stepped up for the longtime business owners, there's been just as much thoughtfulness from strangers.
"These are people who don't know us ... it's been wonderful."
Perez said the help came immediately after the shooting. Nearby Kaiser Permanente staff ran over to assist in any way possible. The doctor, nurses and other medical center employees were essentially the first responders.
The couple has been focused on trying to thank "all these wonderful people."
"We want the community to know we appreciate all the support we've received and are continuing to receive," she said.
The list of kindness is long, including random-but-caring notes taped to their store door, flowers, countless cards, plenty of food and daily visits of folks just wanting to share their well wishes and often a hug. The Rev. Robert Rien from Antioch's St. Ignatius Catholic Church made an unexpected-but-appreciated call to the family-owned shop.
One person -- whom the couple didn't know -- stopped by with a carafe of coffee and tray of pastries and rolls one day.
Leslie Perez said the couple and their tight-knit employees are in a state similar to grieving. "It's a bit of a loss of innocence."
The jewelry shop was founded in 1947 by Hardy Nix, the father of Leslie Perez. It is one of the oldest businesses in Antioch.
At this point in the investigation, police believe Mark Perez's actions during the robbery attempt were justified, acting Lt. Tony Morefield said Monday.
Despite the nightmarish robbery scene, the couple opened up shop the day after the shooting, hoping to retain a business-as-usual feel.
"Mark's instinct was to come right back," Leslie Perez said. "And he was right. We needed to be here.
"This is not a scenario we would've chosen but are grateful (for everyone's aid)."
That is the message the couple want to emphasize -- that they are indebted to their community for the tremendous display of compassion.
"It's restored my faith," Perez said.
Police continue to search for the remaining suspect. Anyone with information can call police at 925-779-6884. Tips can also be texted to 274637 (CRIMES) using key word ANTIOCH.
Staff writer Paul Burgarino contributed to this story.