FORT WORTH, Texas When the gunman stepped outside and tried the malfunctioning firearm again, shots rang out, prompting one officer to suggest that divine intervention played a role in the outcome.
Fort Worth police say surveillance video captured the man pointing his gun at people inside the McDonalds at 4800 South Freeway while demanding their property.
Twice the man went outside and successfully fired the gun, once into the air and later toward a passing car. No one reported being injured, and responding officers soon arrested a suspect, identified as 24-year-old Jestin Anthony Joseph of Allen in Collin County.
Police could not explain why the gun didnt fire inside the store.
Ive never seen anything like that before, said robbery Sgt. Joe Loughman. It must not have been their time to go.
NOT IN HIS RIGHT MIND
About four hours before the robbery, Josephs mother had gone to the Allen police station and told officers that she feared her son was suicidal.
The mother, who asked not to be identified to shield herself and her other children from any repercussions, said she alerted Allen police after her son told her over the phone that people were after him.
He said, Theyre trying to kill me, Mama! Im going to die tonight! Im going to die tonight! the mother recounted in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.
The mother said she believes that her son had a mental breakdown, just as his father did a few years ago. She said she believes it runs in his fathers family.
The only thing I can say to you is that was not my son yesterday, the mother said. He was not in his right mind.
Josephs mother said she believes the gun malfunctioned because we were praying.
Last night, I told God to keep Jestin, and thats what I do believe happened, she said. I did not know he even had a gun.
Loughman said at least 15 employees and patrons, including children, were inside the McDonalds when the robber entered shortly after 9 p.m.
Loughman said the man walked into the store, first asking for a water cup from a cashier. After walking to the beverage machine, he pulled out a semiautomatic handgun and pointed it at employees and patrons, demanding their possessions.
It appears that (he) is pulling the trigger, but the weapon does not fire, Loughman said.
At least one man tried to wrestle the gun away from the suspect, Loughman said.
He said the gunman then went outside, fired a shot into the air and returned.
As people continued to run from the restaurant, the man again pointed the gun at those inside and pulled the trigger. Again, Loughman said, the gun did not fire.
Loughman said the man went back outside near the service road, got his gun to work and fired two rounds in the direction of a passing vehicle. The driver never stopped.
The suspect then ran south along the service road toward Interstate 20, tossing the gun as he fled. He was arrested shortly afterward by officers responding to the robbery.
The gun was retrieved, Loughman said.
Joseph was in the Mansfield Jail on Wednesday night on outstanding warrants and on suspicion of five counts of aggravated robbery, with total bail set at $500,000.