Denny's gasoline attack thwarted by customer

by: Bob D\'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated:

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HAYWARD, Calif. - Some fast thinking by a mother and her son prevented a man from setting fire to a Denny’s restaurant in California, KTVU reported.

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The 43-year-old man is under psychiatric evaluation in Alameda County and could be charged with attempted murder after police say he doused some customers at a Denny’s restaurant with a flammable liquid, the East Bay Times reported. The man’s name was not released, and police said no one was hurt.

Police said five or six people were doused with what smelled like gasoline, including a mother and a small child, KTVU reported.

The woman, who only wanted to be identified as Celia, said she and her 21-year-old son were eating at about 9:54 a.m. Wednesday at Denny’s, KTVU reported. They heard yelling and a commotion near the entrance to the restaurant.

Sgt. Ruben Pola said the man had been eating breakfast when he got up, withdrew a small container similar to a lighter fluid container, then doused several patronsand the floor near the entrance with the liquid.

"That's when my son threw [a] chair and hit him so he could drop everything and startle him with enough time to get the fire extinguisher and kind of shoot him in the face and he kept on shooting him in the face and push[ed] him out," Celia said. 

He was able to break away but was caught by police, the East Bay Times reported. Pola said police have not been able to determine a motive.

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