Denny’s is a popular hangout for young and old alike. Thanks to its 24/7 schedule and breakfast offered at all those hours, it’s a down-to-earth, no-hassle choice that won’t break the bank.
Though, it wasn’t the hot stacks of pancakes that drew Johnathan Franklin into the North Highlands Denny’s on Wednesday morning at around 10:40 a.m., it was the stacks of cash.
Franklin, in his late 50s, was not in a good place. According to the Sacramento Bee, he was on parole for murder after getting out of prison.
He entered the restaurant and approached the front desk, holding the young woman there at gunpoint and telling her to hand over the cash. She fumbled to open the drawer, but he didn’t look like he was willing to wait.
Thankfully, Douglas Tallman saw what was going on from the table where he was sitting with his family. He told KTXL that he knew he had to act.
“My heart dropped,” he said. “I felt if I didn’t do something, something bad was going to happen.”
“You can just tell by the look on his face he was getting madder and madder, and she was panicking because she couldn’t open it. He was getting mad and I feel he would have shot her if she couldn’t get it open in time. I thought he was going to shoot her.”
Not wanting to risk anyone else, including his own family, the 40 patrons present and the employees, he rushed Franklin.
“I grabbed him and I picked him up and slammed him on the ground,” he said. “And we just started going at it and the gun was literally … I know had to have been no more than 8 inches away.”
“There was a lot of people in there and I felt if anything was going to happen I’d rather it happen to me than any of them.”
Seeing what was happening, Tallman’s teenage son jumped in to help.
“I’m not going to let him fight somebody by himself,” he told KTXL.
The 16-year-old was shot in the foot, but they managed to scare off Franklin, who made off with the cash and ran outside, carjacked a vehicle and collided with the car of a cop who knew exactly what he was trying to do.
Tallman’s son will be OK, though he’ll have to use crutches for a while. But thanks to Tallman and his son, no one else was injured, and Franklin — who had also carried out another armed robbery previously that week — was jailed.
“I’m very proud of him,” Tallman’s wife, Monica, said. “That was somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister. I’m very grateful that he did what he did.”
“I don’t feel like I’m a hero,” Tallman protested. “I just kind of went on what I thought was right and that was my instinct and my heart.”
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