HOUSTON - A dinnertime hold-up at a trendy northwest Houston restaurant still has diners on edge over what happened.
"At first we thought, 'Is this a joke?," robbery victim Shannon Carmichael said.
Two masked men wearing latex gloves walked into the Union Kitchen on the 3500-block of Ella Boulevard on Saturday night, holding guns to patrons' heads and robbing them of their belongings as they sat quietly, pausing from their meals.
"Its' surreal," Carmichael said. "We had no expectation of something like that happening in Oak Forest and at a nice restaurant. It's just not something you think of. And a million things go through your head, but at that moment, everything slowed down to zero speed."
Minutes later, and after a 92-year-old grandmother had a gun put to her head and had her purse stolen, the suspects fled.
"The only time anyone said anything to us was when one of the suspects said to us, 'Where's your stuff?,'" Carmichael said. "And that's when we said, 'You've got everything we have.'"
Purses and wallets were stolen, along with cash from the safe and the register, but nobody was hurt.
The suspects did not make it far and crashed within 100 yards of the restaurant just across the train tracks, into the people who had called 911. The suspects then allegedly shot the car the callers were driving.
Chase Chapman, 19, and Dhantori davis, 17, were arrested and have been charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.
All of the stolen items were recovered and returned to the victims.
The crime was a shock to both the patrons who were there as well as Oak Forest neighbors who heard the story.
The owner of the oldest-standing Shipley's Donuts works the counter three blocks down the street.
Michael Clark said it is the first hold up he has heard of in the area in about three decades. He said the neighborhood is improving and admits it is in a transitional period.
"The Heights has gotten real pricey," Clark said. So the developers are coming this way."
Violent crime has persisted in the Oak Forest area during the transition and the Houston Police Department's Crime Map shows more than 50 violent crimes reported in the nearby area in the past 30 days. This armed robbery appears to be the worst.
"It's alarming," Clark said. "We haven't had any real issues in recent times."
Clark recalls the one-and-only time he had a gun pulled on him when he was working, back in the early 1980s.
"I always tell my employees, if someone comes in here with a gun, give them whatever they want," Clark said. "It's not worth somebody getting hurt over."
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