The boy's father said the market at 899 San Mateo Ave. was opened in 1978 by his father and is now run by himself and his brother. He wished to remain anonymous because he was frightened by the events that unraveled around 8:20 p.m. Tuesday.
He said he was standing behind the register when two men entered the store and grabbed his son. Police reported that the boy is 7 years old, but the father said he is actually 8.
The men took the boy by his shoulders, held him by his shirt and dragged him toward the door "like a chicken," the boy's father said.
"When I saw them grab him, I ran after him," he said.
He tried to grab his son from the grasp of the men, whom he said he had never seen before. When the boy was freed, his father told him to "run away and hide."
The suspects then pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the boy's father, who said he dove between a refrigerator and a desk to make sure he was not "shot in the head."
The man's brother was in the back of the store during the confrontation, and he came to the front to intervene, the man said. The brother threw a San Francisco Chronicle newspaper rack at the suspects, who fled from the store, the boy's father said.
"They got confused and ran away," he said.
The boy's father said he does not know what would have happened if his brother had not entered at that moment.
"I saved my son. And then I think my brother saved me," he said.
The owner said the attempted kidnapping was "a bad happening with a very happy ending," and added that the store has not been robbed or held at gunpoint since it opened.
"I never expected it like this. I hope this is the first and last for me," he said.
The suspects were last seen driving east on Walnut Street in what appeared to be a dark-colored sedan or smaller vehicle, San Bruno police Cmdr. Noreen Hanlon said.
One of the suspects is described as a thin black man in his 20s standing about 6 feet 1 inches tall and weighing about 170 pounds.
The other is described as a thin black man in his 20s standing about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 160 to 170 pounds.
Both were wearing black hooded sweatshirts and dark jeans and may have been wearing partial face masks, Hanlon said.
An investigation into the attempted kidnapping is continuing, and police ask that anyone who sees men or a vehicle matching the description or sees anyone acting suspiciously contact police at (650) 877-8965.
"We take this type of incident obviously very seriously, and we would like to find out who is responsible," Hanlon said.