TWO men who were shot in an armed raid on a Sudbury supermarket are planning a reunion 20 years on.
Jaime Howard and Jim Lewin suffered life-changing injuries during the robbery at the Gateway supermarket in East Street – now the Co-op – in 1992.
Both of them were working in the store when the robbery took place at around 3pm on September 3.
A lone gunman attacked security guard Jim as he delivered money to the store on behalf of the firm Securicor. After a scuffle, Jim was shot in the chest.
Jaime, working as a cleaner, saw the gunman rush off with a money bag and gave chase. He ended up shot in the stomach at blank-point range.
The 42-year-old, of Canhams Road, Great Cornard, remembers the incident with clarity, even though it was 20 years ago.
He said: “I just remember the disbelief at being shot – that this sort of thing could even happen in Sudbury.
“Jim and I have kept in touch since it all happened by sending each other Christmas cards – he lives near Woodbridge – but I haven’t seen him for about 17 years.
“We spoke the other day and had a good chat and we’re hoping to get together next Saturday for a reunion to mark it being 20 years since it happened.
“We were in hospital together and I suppose something like that unites people. We have stayed in touch ever since.”
Jaime, who runs his own window cleaning business High Waters, was cleaning in a first-floor warehouse when he decided to go out of the store to collect something from his car.
“I noticed two men fighting,” he recalls. “I thought one of them was my under-manager and I started to go to his aid. Then I heard two bangs and I saw this bloke run off.
“I didn’t have time to think about it, it was just instinctive. He was fighting with my friend and so I just tried to help.
“I started chasing the man. The first two bullets missed me but the third one went through my stomach and liver, and my large and small intestine and came out of the other side. They never found the bullet but I gather it was from an automatic pistol.
“I remember leaning on a wall and a guy saying ‘are you alright mate?’. Then it hit me, I’d been shot. I was in a lot of pain, it felt like an electric volt had just gone through me.”
Jim, who is now 74, and Jaime spent about three weeks in hospital in Bury St Edmunds.
“Afterwards, Jim told me he had actually given the guy the money bag but he still shot him anyway,” he said. “Jim still carried on being a security guard and was actually held up again. He’s retired now of course.
“It’s all a bit difficult to believe now but I still remember that feeling of disbelief that I had actually been shot.”
SHOT: Jaime Howard with some of the old press cuttings from the armed robbery in 1992.