The employees at a Salinas restaurant were being held up at gun point when police say a 36-year-old man in the parking lot who knew one of the employees came to their rescue.
"He was concerned for their safety and as a result of that he removed his legally posed firearm from his vehicle, entered the business with a loaded firearm, and reacted to the threat," said Salinas Police Cmdr. Dave Crabill.
Police say inside the business the man open fire on two 17-year-old robbers. Police are not saying how many shots or if any words were exchanged first.
The two robbers fled and ended up at a local hospital. One of the teenagers died. The other is in critical condition. Police are describing the man who fired the shots as a Good Samaritan and the city's mayor says that phrase is appropriate.
"Technically, I think it is a good choice of words. It describes exactly what happened, someone choose to get involved," said Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue.
One of the women who was held up and did not want to appear on camera told me she was terrified when the robbers pointed a gun at her. Loyal customers say the man who thwarted the initial crime did the right thing.
"He did have a way to protect himself so he felt people were being threatened and he needed to take matters into his own hands, so he did a good thing I think," said
Police have looked at surveillance video of the incident. Investigators say the shooting appears justified and the message to criminals is clear.
"There are consequences to our actions and sadly it does some times end in death," said Crabill.
The entire case will be reviewed by the District Attorney.