SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Witnesses and police on Monday offered chilling new details of a hostage situation over the weekend at a Sacramento Jack in the Box restaurant.
The owner of Taqueria El Festival, Erika Aldama, made the 911 call that brought police to the scene Saturday after the Jack in the Box manager ran into her restaurant.
“The manager came running from the back door really scared,” she said. “I just said, ‘There’s a lady from Jack in the Box in here saying there’s a gunman over there,'” she said.
The manager said Xang Khang, 26, was inside the restaurant at 8349 Folsom Boulevard and apparently ready to start shooting. He reportedly grabbed an 11-year-old girl by the hair when he walked in and pointed the gun at the girl’s father before they were eventually able to flee along with several other customers and staff.
“She (the manager) said he tried to pull trigger once or twice but it didn’t go off,” Aldama said. “That tells you he’s ready to shoot somebody.”
According to security guard Wayne Hale, Khang had no mercy on the final hostage, a restaurant employee.
“They said he had a gun in her mouth or was trying to put it in her mouth,” he said.
Police said Khang struck the hostage several times.
Hale watched as SWAT shooters moved in and eventually brought the standoff to an end.
“When one of the flash-bangs went off, his gun went this way, away from the hostage,” he said, motioning. “That’s when the sniper shot him through the door.”
Police on Monday said multiple SWAT officers opened fire on Khang. Six have been put on paid administrative leave per department protocol as the shooting is investigated.
Police said in a press release Monday that “based on the suspect’s violent actions, his threats to the hostages and his refusal to exit the restaurant peacefully, it was determined that deadly force may be used to save the hostage.”
It was a split-second decision that ended an armed robber’s life, but saved a hostage’s.
“We’re grateful that our guests and employees were not physically harmed and commend the Sacramento Police Department for being so responsive to the situation,” Jack in the Box franchise operator Anil Yadav said in a statement he released Monday.
“I feel sad for the guy,” Aldama said. “Who knows what was going on through his head, what problems he had, but at least none of the innocent people got hurt.”
Khang’s family gathered to grieve Sunday, but did not provide us any answers as to why he turned violent.
Police also have no motive for Khang’s actions, noting that he had time to rob the store and leave before police arrived but that he chose not to. Hostages told police he was smoking what appeared to be some sort of narcotic throughout the incident.