Diners flee in ‘panic’ as women smash up restaurant with bats, California cops say

A quiet lunch with his wife at a Southern California restaurant Saturday went off the rails for Robert Christiansen when he heard a crash at the bar, The Orange County Register says.

That’s when the 58-year-old Lake Forest man spotted two women smashing up Maggiano’s Little Italy in Costa Mesa with baseball bats, according to the publication.

“Panic hit the place,” he said, The Orange County Register reported. After breaking glasses and mirrors at the bar, the women smashed glass partitions, computers and tableware, Christiansen said.

“There was glass everywhere,” he said, according to the publication. “This was bad. Lots of people were so scared. To see them that scared was terrifying.”

Costa Mesa police say in a release that Passion Shenay Coleman, 27, of Fullerton, an ex-employee, had made threats and thrown a plate at someone at the restaurant earlier Saturday.

Coleman had left by the time officers arrived following the 11:40 a.m. incident, but returned at 1:30 p.m. with a baseball bat, police reported.

She caused thousands of dollars in damage to televisions, plates, glasses and table settings, police say, sending patrons fleeing in panic and forcing Maggiano’s Little Italy to cancel dinner reservations

Police identified her companion as Laglennda Damona Carr, 24, also of Fullerton, whom they accused of shouting and causing a disruption as well.

Officers called to the restaurant found Coleman and Carr in a vehicle trying to leave a nearby parking lot and arrested them, police wrote in the release.

Carr faces charges including assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threats, felony vandalism, burglary, and felony conspiracy to commit crimes, police wrote.

Coleman, who had to be treated at a hospital for cuts to her arms, faces charges including assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threats, vandalism, burglary, conspiracy to commit crimes, and a warrant for a suspended license.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.