2 in custody after Waffle House robbery, hours-long standoff

by: Eric Philips Updated:

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —

DeKalb police have two men in custody after an armed robbery that led to nearly a 4½-hour standoff.

Police said it started when two men robbed a Waffle House restaurant on Evens Mill Road near Interstate 20 in Lithonia around 3:30 p.m.

Police told Channel 2's Eric Philips they made it to the restaurant within minutes of the call and they took one man into custody, but another man was able to flee the restaurant.

The Waffle House was full of customers when the men got to the restaurant. China Terrell was inside and told Channel 2's Tom Regan the whole thing was terrifying.

"It was real terrifying. I was really scared cause I wasn't sure what to do. Should I run or what? Cause I really thought they were going to try and rob us, kill us. I don't know, I just know that I saw the gun in his pocket and he was about to draw it," Terrell said.

Another woman said she was trying to apply for a job when the men came storming into the restaurant.

"I was terrified. I just wanted to go home. I just wanted to look out for my safety. I'm just ready to see my mom at the end of the day. I was looking (for a) job, I didn't expect to get robbed right then and there," witness Sumner Canty said.

Officers said they tracked the second man to a nearby parking lot where they noticed he had a gun. That's when they called in the SWAT team.

News Chopper 2 flew overhead as SWAT officers quickly surrounded the restaurant and the suspect. Officers cleared a one-mile perimeter around the incident, evacuating businesses and other restaurants in the area.

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Philips talked to DeKalb County Police Chief William O'Brien, who said his officers were being very careful in the whole ordeal to make sure everyone involved stayed safe.

"We were heading home, coming around the Waffle House. When we got there, we saw a gun to his head, everybody was moving in on him. They told us to come back and he had been out here for two hours, I don't understand why DeKalb County can't get it together so we can go home," witness Chelsea Patterson said.

The man held police at bay for nearly 4½ hours as he waived a gun around, sometimes pointing it at his head. SWAT team negotiators were in constant contact with the man, who only asked for water.

Finally, police were able to talk the man down. Philips was there when the man went down on his knees and police took him into custody.

So far, police have not released the names of the men who were arrested or what they have been charged with. No one was hurt in the incident.


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