NORTH HIGHLANDS -- A North Highlands man is being called a hero after preventing what could have become an active shooter situation inside a Denny's restaurant.
A quiet breakfast with his family quickly turned into a moment of calling for Douglas Tallman.
"My heart dropped," he told FOX40. "I felt if I didn’t do something, something bad was going to happen."
Tallman said he saw a man enter the diner Wednesday morning, pointing a gun at a young female cashier and demanding money.
"You can just tell by the look on his face he was getting madder and madder, and she was panicking because she couldn’t open it," Tallman recalled. "He was getting mad and I feel he would have shot her if she couldn’t get it open in time. I thought he was going to shoot her."
He said he didn’t have time to think, so adrenaline took over.
"I grabbed him and I picked him up and slammed him on the ground," Tallman said. "And we just started going at it and the gun was literally ... I know had to have been no more than 8 inches away."
Tallman tried to rip the handgun away from the gunman, now identified as 58-year-old Johnathan Edward Franklin, so it couldn’t be used to harm the restaurant staff or the 40 patrons inside.
"There was a lot of people in there and I felt if anything was going to happen I’d rather it happen to me than any of them," he said.
Tallman's son, Douglas Tallman Jr., saw his dad wrestling with the gunman and decided to jump in.
"I’m not going to let him fight somebody by himself," the 16-year-old said.
Then the gun went off, hitting the teen in the foot.
The gunman was able to take off with cash before being apprehended by deputies moments later.
No one else in the restaurant was seriously injured and police are crediting part of that to Tallman.
Even his wife, Monica, who was watching the scuffle unfold from her breakfast table, says her husband’s actions were heroic.
"I'm very proud of him," she said. "That was somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister. I’m very grateful that he did what he did."
But to Douglas Tallman, he just did what he thinks any other good Samaritan should do.
"I don’t feel like I’m a hero. I just kind of went on what I thought was right and that was my instinct and my heart," he said.
His injured son said he will be using crutches for the next few weeks but overall he feels fine and even went back to school Thursday.
The Tallmans also say the robbery happened right before their food came. So, later on, that day they came back to the very same Denny’s and had a meal. They said the restaurant provided it free of charge.