Randy Shields, a retired boxer from North Hollywood, was credited with saving the lives of customers and employees of a San Fernando Valley restaurant this weekend when he wounded two robbers in a running gun battle that spilled onto the street, police said.
"When they said they were going to start killing people and that somebody was going to die, that's when I came up shooting," Shields, 36, a top welterweight contender a decade ago, said Saturday in explaining his role in the shootout.
When the shooting ended Saturday morning, Shields had sustained a wound to the leg and police had three men in custody on suspicion of robbing three businesses within two hours Friday night.
The suspects were identified as Tyron Hill, Michael Redd and Terry Redd, all said to be in their 20s. Terry Redd sustained gunshot wounds to his chest and back and Hill was shot in the right buttock. They were arrested when they called for an ambulance, claiming they were victims of a drive-by shooting.
Shields seemed to take the shootout and his wound in stride. "I'm an ex-professional fighter who has fought Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns, so I'm used to pain," he said.
The robbery spree began at 11 p.m. when two men wearing ski masks entered a Marie Callender's restaurant in Sherman Oaks and took $300 from the cash register after firing shots into the wall and ceiling, said Sgt. Tim Day.
An hour later, two armed suspects believed to be the same men robbed a video store down the street of $500, Day said.
Shields was eating dinner along 20 other customers at the Four 'N 20 restaurant on Laurel Canyon Boulevard just after midnight when two men came in and fired at least one round into the ceiling, Sgt. Robert Ontiveros said. The robbers ordered the customers to the floor and fired three shots at Shields when he scrambled to the back of the dining room to take cover, and one of the bullets grazed the back of his thigh.
The robbers then demanded that a cook open the register. When he refused, one of the suspects shot at his foot, police said. The bullet went through the shoe but missed the foot, according to police.
From his hiding place, Shields could hear shots.
"They said they were going to kill somebody if they didn't get money," Shields said.
Deciding lives were in jeopardy, Shields fired six shots at the robbers, he said. The suspects turned and ran, but Shields chased them outside.
"I chased them into the parking lot and they shot at me again," Shields said. "I heard bullets whiz by my head."
Shields returned fire, but when the suspects fired again and he ran out of bullets, he dived back into the restaurant.
The suspects got into a car and drove off, but fired once more into the restaurant as they drove by, Shields said.
Ontiveros praised Shields, who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
"I think he did the right thing," Ontiveros said. "They kept saying they were going to kill somebody if they didn't get any money. I think other people's lives didn't mean anything to them."