Staff at Noodle Express on Olive avenue in Fresno, had just fired up the stovetop Monday, when things took a turn, around 11 a.m.
“We really didn’t know what was going on, she was kind of panicking,” shop owner BJ said.
BJ, who did not want to share his last name, and wife Ning, were at the store, when they got a call from Ning’s mother, who works in the kitchen.
Police say a man came in demanding food, but when he didn’t get it, he got upset.
“He ripped our phone out when they first tried to call 911, then he ripped our internet out,” BJ said.
The couple drove back, fast.
When BJ entered, he said the man took a container of pens from the counter, and threw it at his face.
BJ wasn’t stunned for long.
“It’s muscle memory, take a swing at me, and you’ll probably go to the ground,” BJ said.
BJ is former law enforcement, which is why he didn’t want to show his face on camera.
He held the 31-year-old man to the ground, until police arrived.
Officials say, the man’s known in the area as homeless, and was arrested for misdemeanor vandalism and public intoxication.
“It’s frustrating, because every day, you got to scoot them out from your front door, or the sidewalk,” BJ said.
Two doors down, Liz Sanchez at CASA de TAMALES is glad everyone’s OK.
She believes the problem is citywide, not just Tower District, and is being handled, here.
“Good presence of police officers, there’s the bike officers,” Sanchez said. “We feel a lot of that has been addressed on a regular basis, just an unfortunate incident, today.”
BJ wants more resources, and plans to keep pressure, on.
“I will follow through and press charges on this, because of something the officer said, he said, ‘We deal with this guy every day,'” BJ said. “Well, you deal with it every day, because nobody follows it through.”
Police say the suspect was taken in for a mental health evaluation and placed on a 72-hour mental health hold.
Noodle Express was also not able to take card payments for most of the day, so the incident did affect their business.
However, they hoped to have their internet back up by late afternoon.