Despite being sprayed with mace, the owner of a Carlsbad Pizzaria and an employee still managed to stop a suspect, put him in a headlock and deliver a pizza.
Employees had just put the last pizza in the oven at Paradise Pizza on Wednesday night when a suspect entered the restaurant on State Street.
“Turn around and a guy right over there shouts, ‘give me the money.’ He's got mace in one hand and a gun in the other. Immediately I thought it was a joke,” said Paradise Pizza owner Mychal Dourson.
But when the owner got pepper sprayed in the eyes, he knew it was no joke.
“I tell him, ‘it's in the cash register. All you have to do is press the green button.’ He says, ‘you do it, you do it’,” said Dourson.
Blurry-eyed, Dourson started walking to the register, but on his way, hit the phone off the wall and dialed 911.
“That's when he starts losing it. ‘Hang up the phone!’ And at that point he moved the gun away from us. He wasn't pointing it at us any longer and we saw the opportunity to lunge him,” said Dourson.
The scuffle took them to the front of the restaurant, knocking over tables and chairs.
Patrick Clemons managed to get the mace out of the suspect's hand and called 911.
Police arrived to find the suspect in a headlock, needing stitches and ready to be arrested.
The pizza in the oven was also ready to go.
Dourson had the suspect in a headlock, so Patrick went to make the delivery.
“‘You know what we had to do for this pizza’?” Clemons asked the customer. “I said, ‘you better tip me. I busted my butt for this pizza’.”
The gun wound up being a BB gun, but the men didn’t know that at the time.
So why did they do it?
Dourson, who has a wife and three children, just opened the business about a year ago and says he couldn't afford to let the money go.
The suspect has been identified as Thomas Ruth, 22, of La Costa.
And yes, we are told he is a big guy.