DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) - A man stabbed several times in the head spoke exclusively to 10News about the horrific moments before and after his near-death experience at a Solana Beach restaurant.
Robin Rodriguez, who manages the Rubio's restaurant on Highway 101, told 10News reporter Anthony Pura, "I have some skull fractions on my left temple and staples where he cut me."
As Rodriguez recovers from his injuries, relief and reflection settle in.
"Just a lot of reliving things …," he said.
Rodriguez said it was a normal day at his restaurant on May 15, but it didn't stay that way after a homeless man who had a history with his staff came in.
"This gentleman had come into our restaurant before and had pulled a knife on one of our employees before," said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez managed to get the man, identified as 34-year-old transient Emmanuel Ibarra, outside of the restaurant while telling his employees to get inside.
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"And that's when the guy came through the door … he hit me with the knife, and I just went black," Rodriguez told 10News.
Rodriguez, who served five years in the Army, said the incident at the restaurant was the closest call he's had.
Rodriguez said he's thankful for the group of teens -- Matthew, Gabby, Brad and McKayla -- that were eating at the restaurant and came to his aid after the attack.
"Brad and I were getting rags, McKayla was moving hair and getting stuff out of the way, and we weren't thinking about what we were doing, we were just doing it," said Matthew.
While Rodriguez calls the teens heroes for what they did, Gabby said, "He's the hero. He's the one that stopped the guy from going after other people."
Sheriff's deputies eventually caught up to Ibarra a short time after the attack in Del Mar.
Deputies shot Ibarra after they said he lunged at them with a knife. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
A GoFundMe account has been established to help Rodriguez and his family during his recovery.