A Forestville man who intervened in an attack on a 22-year-old barista at his local coffee shop said he’s never been the kind to run away from trouble, choosing instead to run toward it if he can help.
But Sean Michael Loundagin said he’s embarrassed by the “hero” talk that has erupted since Friday, when he wrestled to the ground the young woman’s suspected attacker, holding him until Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies could take over.
“I don’t know that you’re supposed to get credit for doing the right thing,” Loundagin, 53, said Sunday. “I helped a friend. Pretty simple.”
Loundagin said it was clear the suspect — later identified as Sean Michael Seeman, 26, and who strangely enough shares his first and middle name — was intent on harming the barista as he stood above her, clutching a sharp piece of metal Loundagin described as a large fencing staple with two pointy ends.
“I’m not mean,” said Loundagin, a personal trainer and a caretaker at a Sebastopol school. “I’m a nice guy. But I had to stop him, and saying please wasn’t going to do it.”
The incident unfolded around 5 p.m. Friday at Roasters Espresso Bar on Front Street, in Forestville’s central business district, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said.
Sgt. Spencer Crum said the barista told deputies the heavily tattooed suspect, who was out on parole, had been in the shop about 1 1/2 hours and made her nervous the way he watched her as he consumed two cups of coffee.
Though they were strangers, Seeman asked the woman, whose name hasn’t been released, to watch his belongings while he went outside, Crum said. Moments later, he said Seeman rushed back in, clutching the sharp metal between his fingers with two sharp ends jutting out.
Seeman backed the barista into a corner and up against the bathroom door while holding the makeshift weapon to her neck, authorities said. She fell to the floor just before Loundagin came inside.
Loundagin, a regular, said he had seen the distinctive, younger man earlier in the day walking on Highway 116 toward town — his demeanor and the drawings inked on his face, including a spider web, suggesting he might not be “a good person.”
Later, on his way to watch a friend play hockey at Snoopy’s Home Ice in Santa Rosa, Loundagin pulled into the Roaster’s parking lot and was surprised to see Seeman enter the shop.
“I don’t care how this sounds,” Loundagin said, before going on to say he could feel the “evil” in the air when he opened the door moments later.
He said the barista was on her back, while the suspect stood over her, holding her down with one hand and his other arm cocked.
“I thought, ‘Oh, man, he could kill her,’” Loundagin said.
He refused Seeman’s order to leave, and instead took one step and then another toward him. Seeman threatened Loundagin and threw the piece of metal at him, narrowly missing his target, the Sheriff’s Office said.
It was around that point the barista, in a voice he would never forget, said ‘Please help me, Sean. Sean, please help me,’ Loundagin recalled.