Customer killed while shielding kids during restaurant robbery


Customers tell us the workers inside the Denny's are trying to maintain some sense of normalcy as police spent the day analyzing surveillance video of that violent ambush.

Tuesday brought a slow yet steady flow of customers trickling into the Denny's at I-10 and Washington, just hours after a violent shooting and robbery that left neighbors stunned.

"You know, honestly, I felt really saddened," said neighbor Ann Kerttula. "I feel bad for the people who work there and for all the customers who were inside."

Kertulla works at a bar next door and told me she knows employees who were in the Denny's when three gunmen wearing masks and bandanas ambushed the place just before 11pm Monday. Police say those robbers ordered everyone to the ground and began shooting.

Drew Placette said, "My father was the man who died."

Drew says his 64-year-old father, Greig, was among the 15 customers and workers in the restaurant when the armed robbers rushed in demanding wallets, money and cell phones. Police say a 43-year-old worker was shot multiple times while trying to run. Placette's dad died later at the hospital.

"From what I'm hearing, they were pointing guns at kids," Drew said. "He tried to stand in front of the kids is what I've been told by friends who were actually with him when he was shot."

For now police are still working to identify the gunmen who got away in a minivan. Kertulla says she can't stop thinking about the deceased victim.

She said, "You know, in my mind, and in my heart, is he's a true hero. If he was protecting the people, whether they were his family or not, you know, he's a hero."

Police say they are looking for the three robbers and their driver who left the scene in a minivan. Anyone with information on this homicide investigation is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers.

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