Two men were sent to prison yesterday, February 19, after they admitted assault with a firearm inside a shopping mall eatery on January 3, 2014.
Luís Enrique Cruz, 19, and Sergio Rivera Ramos, 24, were both shot by one of the owners of Uncle Tony’s Italian Cuisine in Vista.
The pair were originally charged with kidnap, attempted robbery, and assault with a firearm on three different victims — a total of six felonies each. Both criminals were reportedly on probation at the time.
San Diego County Superior Court judge Michael Popkins sentenced the two according to the deal: both Cruz and Ramos got four years in state prison.
An investigator’s report revealed details of the shootout, which occurred in the kitchen of the restaurant.
One employee had exited the secured back door at about 9:30 p.m. that Friday evening and was confronted by two strangers. That employee was forced back into the restaurant by the pair, who both pulled handguns, the report stated.
One of the owners of the restaurant was reportedly sitting in another room, at the bar, “when he heard metal pans and other items crashing to the floor. He heard [another person] yell, ‘Please don’t! Please don’t!’” He then “grabbed his .45 caliber handgun” and ran into the kitchen, where he took cover behind an oven and yelled out that he had a gun and for the invaders to drop their weapons.
According to the report, the two intruders pointed their weapons at the man, who fired eight shots from his semi-automatic.
Both criminals suffered gunshot wounds, according to a statement by a sheriff’s sergeant. The would-be robbers escaped out the back door of the restaurant and were apprehended later at Tri-City Hospital in Oceanside, about six miles away.