Walnut Creek 'dine and dash' suspect opens fire, police say

A suspect in a "dine and dash" situation at a downtown Walnut Creek restaurant opened fire after being confronted about not paying for a meal, authorities said Monday.

The incident happened at about 8:40 p.m. Sunday outside Modern China Cafe on North Main Street near Lincoln Avenue.

Police say a couple left the restaurant without paying their bill. 

The restaurant owner followed them across the street and confronted them.

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The man paid the owner and then got into a black Kia driven by the woman.

As she drove away, though, he fired three shots from a handgun, police said. No one was hurt.

But customers at the restaurant scrambled for cover, including a friend of the daughter of Kevin Wilk, Walnut Creek's mayor.

"She heard gunshots, and everybody ducked below the tables," Wilk said.

"I heard a gunshot. I heard like three, I think three," said Murphy Ku, who was working as a server at a nearby restaurant.

Walnut Creek police didn't have to go far to respond. The police department is just down the street.

Officers searched the area but came up empty.  A motive isn't known.

"I don't know what the motivation is," Wilk said. "We're looking into that as well, and it baffles me."

The mayor said he believed what happened was an anomaly.

"We want people to be assured that when they come to Walnut Creek, it is a safe place. So we take this extremely seriously."

He added, "We have our police department now, looking through the investigation. We will find who did this. And I would come out tonight and eat with my family."

People walking through downtown on Monday were shocked.

"I don't know what the intention is, but any sane person would not do anything like that. You pay your bill, nobody picks on you," said Aida Malsi of Concord. 

Sean Alfred of Walnut Creek said, "For somebody to be firing guns like that, I think is very, very irresponsible. That's not the kind of thing we need in this city."

Management at the restaurant did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.