Pflugerville, TX – An IHOP employee was able to fend off an active shooter inside the restaurant restroom on Tuesday night.
The incident occurred at the pancake house on Limestone Commercial Drive just before 6:45 p.m., KXAN reported.
IHOP employee Sam Swindell, 18, was serving a table of three men at the time, his parents later told KVUE.
Swindell said that, during the course of their meal, one of the men became increasingly agitated.
The trio ultimately left the business, but the troublesome customer came back alone about 45 minutes later, Swindell’s parents said.
The suspect, later identified as 19-year-old Matthew Sheedy, confronted Swindell in the restroom, according to police.
Sheedy first demanded drugs from the employee, but when Swindell told him he didn’t have any, Sheedy tried to rob him of his cash at gunpoint instead, KVUE reported.
Police later said they found no evidence that Swindell is a drug dealer, and that they are not investigating him for any drug-related offenses, the Statesman reported.
The gunman allegedly placed the weapon against Swindell’s head and cocked the hammer back, at which point Swindell hit him and tackled him to the ground.
As they wrestled on the floor, Swindell said he grabbed onto the weapon as Sheedy fired two rounds, his parents told the news outlet.
Out in the dining area, other customers heard the gunshots and raced for cover.
“I really couldn’t think,” said a boy named Oliver, who was at the pancake house with his father. “My first instinct was just to run straight for the door, because as soon as I heard that, I knew what was going on.”
Another witness was having a meal with her two children when they heard someone yell for help from inside the restrooms. A moment later, shots rang out, KXAN reported.
Another employee rushed towards the restrooms, then turned and yelled at everyone to take cover or get out of the restaurant.
The woman said she grabbed her children and ran outside, then hid behind the IHOP sign.
Swindell’s hand was injured during the struggle, and he wasn’t initially able to take the gunman’s weapon away, KVUE reported.
Sheedy then attempted to shoot the gun so Swindell dove towards him again, and jammed his hand into the gun’s ejection port so it was unable to fire.
He was able to wrestle the gun away from Sheedy, and pointed the weapon at his attacker, the Statesman reported.
The defeated robber took off from the restaurant on foot.
Witnesses called 911 to report the active shooter, and officers apprehended Sheedy outside a nearby business.
“The response time was incredibly fast," Pflugerville Police Sergeant Jared Bruno said. “They were able to apprehend the suspect just as he left the building.”
Sheedy has been charged with possession of marijuana and aggravated burglary, and additional charges may be forthcoming, KEYE reported.
Swindell was rushed to the hospital with a gunshot wound, but his injuries were considered to be minor, police told KVUE.
He has since been released, and is recovering at home, his parents told KXAN on Wednesday.
His father said he is “pretty shaken up” over the incident, but that they are all thankful he will fully recover from his hand injury, the Statesman reported.
“We are heartbroken that our son went through such an experience, but we are so thankful that he will be ok and are grateful that he was able to stop the gunman from hurting anyone else in the restaurant, including himself,” Swindell’s parents said in a statement to KVUE. “We are very proud of our son.”
You can see video from the shooting below: