Patrons Flee as Incendiary Device Tossed Into Restaurant

No one was hurt at California Cheesecake Factory
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 3, 2017 4:59 PM CST
Man Throws Incendiary Device Into Busy Cheesecake Factory
A Pasadena police investigator walks away past waiting patrons before the normal opening of the Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Old Pasadena Friday, Feb. 3, 2017.   (AP Photo Damian Dovarganes)

A man threw a homemade incendiary device into a crowded California restaurant at dinnertime, and when it ignited, panicked patrons abandoned their meals and knocked over chairs as they rushed for the exits. No one was hurt, the AP reports. Police said the man opened the front door of a Cheesecake Factory in Pasadena, lit the device, and tossed it inside Thursday night. The device landed under a table, and witnesses said the restaurant filled with smoke. Garrett Gunkle, who was sitting with his wife at the bar, told KNBC that some people tripped and fell as they rushed for the doors. "People were jumping over one another, fighting to get over bar stools," he said. "It was very chaotic."

Police responded after receiving a report of an "explosion." The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department bomb squad rendered the device safe, officials said. Authorities described it as "homemade pyrotechnic device" but did not disclose its contents. They are still looking for the man who threw it. Pasadena police said they had notified federal authorities about the incident "out of an abundance of caution." Lourdes Arocho, a spokesperson for the FBI in Los Angeles, said the investigation was being handled by city police. The restaurant reopened Friday. (Read more Cheesecake Factory stories.)

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