VALLEJO, Calif. - A Vallejo restaurant worker says one of her regular customers is a hero for coming to her aid when she was confronted by an apparent robber, who shot him dead.
"He saved my life. That's the type of person he was. He saved my life. He's always going to be my guardian angel for life," said Teresa Brasher.
Brasher said Robert Sundin sacrificed his life for hers by protecting her Thursday morning. Sundin, 70, was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who worked in the VA healthcare system. He was also a church volunteer.
"God wasn't ready for me. But they had a place for Bob up there," Brasher said.
At 5:30 a.m. each weekday morning, like clockwork, Sundin would drive from his Napa home and pull up outside Scotty's Restaurant at Tennessee and Tuolumne streets in Vallejo. He'd keep an eye on Brasher as she opened up the restaurant.
But that routine turned deadly before dawn Thursday.
Brasher says she had parked outside the restaurant when a man in a hoodie and ski mask rode up to her car on an electric scooter.
"He came up to my door, and he pointed his finger at me. He was pointing at my purse. I don't know if he used his finger or a gun," Brasher said.
That's when Sundin got out of his truck.
"The guy grabs him. And I can see Bob pulling away like that, and that's when I heard the gunshot go off," she said.
Sundin, a married father, died at the scene. The gunman took off.
At Scotty's, Sundin would sit at the same counter seat every morning, with his newspaper, making small talk or joking with regulars.
The staff would whip up his usual breakfast order, black coffee, Scotty's #2 omelet but with spinach, no bell peppers because that gave him heartburn, as well as pancakes.
"That's what makes it hard. He was just such a wonderful man. It was just somebody you come across and you feel comfortable talking to him," said Scotty's owner May Ung.
Sundin did volunteer maintenance at First Assembly of God, a Fairfield church, where he also led the men's ministry and a program for young men.
"If there was a need he saw at the church, he met it," said Pastor Eric Lura. "He was the first person to arrive and last to leave."
Brasher said simply, "He's my hero. He'll always be my hero for life."