Lenexa restaurant staffers recount terrifying panic when customer pulled gun on host

LENEXA, Kan. — Staff at a Johnson County restaurant say it was an evening of terror.

Police in Lenexa say a series of men started trouble with wait staff and managers at Fronteras Mexican Restaurant on Saturday night, leading one of the customers, who, according to police, had been drinking, to pull a gun on the restaurant's host.

"At that point, I was really scared. Like panicked. In a panic," Elsa Rodriguez, Fronteras' assistant manager, told FOX 4 News.

Managers at that popular restaurant say it's a case of drunk customers getting out of hand. Staff members at Fronteras Mexican Restaurant say those men became abusive when the manager on duty asked them to leave, and one of them went to his car to retrieve a gun.

Managers at the restaurant, a family operated business, say the host is only 17 years old, and still a high school student. Police say one of those men pointed a pistol at him, after shouting racial slurs at the restaurant's staff.

"This is our whole life," Rodriguez said, making reference to the restaurant her family treasures.

Rodriguez, and her sister, Liliana Rodriguez, say their entire lives flashed before their eyes on Saturday evening. Surveillance video from Fronteras' cameras shows the group of men arguing with the eatery's employees. Elsa Rodriguez says she refused to serve the men more alcohol because they were already drunk and rowdy.

"They started saying a lot more mean stuff. Only bad stuff. A lot of Spanish. Bad words. I said, you guys need to calm down. I'm only doing my job," Elsa Rodriguez said.

Lenexa police say that's when things escalated. The men shouted racial slurs at the staff members, and when managers asked the men to leave, police say the drunk customers refused.

"I'm scared. That's why I'm so scared," Liliana Rodriguez said.

The restaurant's host is Liliana's 17-year-old son. She says when he went to the restaurant's parking lot, which sits near Quivira Road at 77th Street, he intended to spot the disorderly men's license plate. Instead, one of the customers pulled a pistol from his car and pointed it at the teenager.

"I'm scared to say this because it's never happened to me. The boy is my nephew. He was just doing his job," Elsa Rodriguez said.

"I was really scared. Like panicked. In a panic."

Fronteras has been in business at the current location for 11 years. The Rodriguez sisters have worked there since 2011, and they agree they've never seen trouble like this.

"This is restaurant is a family place. People come and see us, and everyone says, "Hi, how are you?" Everyone likes me and the other servers," Liliana Rodriguez said. "Not these guys."

Lenexa police arrested two men on Saturday night, including Jose Diaz-Ramos, who hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Diaz-Ramos appeared in Johnson County District Court on Monday. He's charged with aggravated assault, and he's being held on $50,000 bond. He's due back in court on May 25th.

Danny Chavez, Lenexa police spokesperson, says Gracillio Vegas Martinez, also from Louisiana, appeared in Lenexa muncipal court on Monday. He was cited for disorderly conduct. Chavez says he's not aware of any other suspect being sought in this case.

"I hope they go to jail. They're bad boys. When somebody's got a gun, that's not a good boy," Liliana Rodriguez said.


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