ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- A robbery victim turned into a hero after saving nearly a dozen employees of an East Bay restaurant from man who fired a rifle inside.
The business, celebrated for their community involvement over the years is now asking for support for small businesses.
Co-owner of Monkey King restaurants in Alameda and Oakland, Linda Fung-Ton, recalls the terrifying moments of January 11, when around 6:30 p.m., a man and a woman walked into the location near Alameda Island Brewing and the man, demanded a customer's wallet.
"He had a gym bag, a cross body gym bag he took out, along with an assault rifle and pointed it at my customer."
That customer, who is a regular, struggled with the suspect in an attempt to disarm him. The customer can be seen on surveillance tackle the suspect into a nearby Christmas tree as the woman who accompanied the suspect flees out the front door.
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"The suspect fired out one shot, and good thing it hit a wall!" says Fung-Ton. "It was so frightening for us, the whole front of house staff, they all ducked and ran out," she continued.
There were 10 staff members in the restaurant at the time.
"I wouldn't ever expect anything like this before. To this day, he is our superhero who saved all of us, and I am so thankful."
During a time when small businesses are struggling due to COVID, The Monkey King is no exception.
In addition to opening and re-opening guideline challenges, Fung-Ton rattles off the list of setbacks she and other restaurants have dealt with the past couple years.
"We have a staff shortage, a food shortage, a coin shortage... on top of food (costs). We can't keep upping the price."
The Alameda brewery location was broken into as well, early in the pandemic. But despite all that's happening, Linda and her family have chosen to focus on the positive, which includes giving back to the community.
"We mentor and cook for homeless shelters. We donate food to the food bank and donate to the soccer club."
Even Fung-Ton's three children are active in anti-AAPI Hate demonstrations.
She hopes the community will continue to support them and other small businesses in the area, during these challenging times.
"I want people to understand that this is a small business. Especially restaurants... it's the backbone of America," said Fung-Ton as she started tearing up. "Honestly, I'm more afraid of guns than COVID."
Alameda Police announced a Valentine's Day arrest for the rifle-toting suspect, who was arrested on 11 felonies. His alleged accomplice, is still at large.
When asked what she wants to see come out of this latest incident, Fung-Ton has this message to lawmakers: "(Don't be) soft on crime. If you're soft then you think you can get away with it, then it'll repeat again and again. It'll be the citizens that are suffering."