PASADENA, Calif. – A man dressed in black 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. But no one was hurt.
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 television station KNBC in Los Angeles that some people tripped and fell as they rushed for the doors, leaving behind their coats, cellphones and baby strollers.
"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 spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, said the investigation was being handled by city police.
The restaurant reopened Friday.