A Howard County jeweler was killed yesterday when police opened fire on a car in which he was being held hostage by holdup men.

Bernard Sugar, 53, an owner of St. John's Jewelers in Ellicott City "was apparently killed by a police shotgun blast," according to Elmer-Adams, deputy police chief of Baltimore County, where the confrontation between police and the men holding Sugar took place.

The men had tried to rob Sugar's jewelry store about 10:30 a.m. yesterday, police said. But a passerby notified police, who surrounded the building, forcing the robbers to flee with Sugar and Charlotte Farber, 47, as hostages. Farber is wife of the store's co-owner.

Farber was treated for shock after the incident.

The robbers left the store with guns aimed at the hostages' head. They seized a Howard County police car as an escape vehicle.

A high speed chase ensued, during which Howard County police shot out the rear tires of the fleeing car.

The two robbers pulled to the side of the road, took their two hostages and commandeered another car that had pulled over on the roads edge to avoid the chase.

The chase ended in adjacent Baltimore County where both Baltimore County and Baltimore City police had set up a roadblock.

One Baltimore County and two Baltimore City police officers walked up to the vehicle, police said. The car then began to move slowly forward and the officers opened fire into the windshield of car. The car veered past the officers and came to a halt, police said.