Diner Shot at North Highlands Denny’s after Good Samaritan Tackles Suspect

SACRAMENTO — Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies responded to an armed robbery Wednesday at a Denny’s restaurant in North Highlands, where a bystander was struck in the leg during a struggle for the firearm.

It was not the quiet breakfast diners were hoping for when alleged robber, Johnathan Edward Franklin, barged into the Denny’s on Interstate Avenue with a gun in hand.

“As officers went on scene, they discovered that this was a little more than a robbery,” said Sacramento County sheriff’s Sgt. Shaun Hampton.

Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call of a suspect pointing a handgun at an employee, demanding cash from the register.

That’s when a good Samaritan inside the restaurant decided to take action, tackling Franklin to the ground.

“There was a struggle over the firearm,” Hampton explained. “During those few seconds, the gun went off and another person inside the Denny’s was struck.”

The injured customer was shot in the leg and is expected to be OK.

Franklin took off with cash — but not for long.

“I seen one of the cooks and two of the waitresses running out from behind the building and then, I want to say a few minutes later, I saw a gentleman run that way towards them,” a witness told FOX40.

Police say he carjacked a nearby vehicle before crashing it into a Sacramento County K9 officer’s patrol car.

Johnathan Edward Franklin, 58 (Courtesy: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office)

As police apprehended Franklin they learned he was no stranger to the law. He had a lengthy criminal history and recently got out of prison for murder.

“This is a parolee who came in and robbed somebody, subsequently shot an innocent victim and T-boned one of our officers while trying to leave,” Hampton said.

Denny’s corporate office provided a statement to FOX40 regarding the incident. It reads in part:

“The safety of our guests and our team members is always our top priority and we provide our franchisees with training material and instructions to seek safety first and then contact the authorities in the event a person with a weapon enters a restaurant.”

Police say had the patron not intervened Wednesday, the situation could have ended much worse.

“Whether it’s wrong or right, that’s probably the reason we caught this man today and we prevented him from further victimizing anybody else in our community,” Hampton told FOX40.


Hisani Stenson contributed to this report.

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