Group of teens swarm theology students in violent attempted robbery outside Winstead’s near Plaza

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A fun night out at the Country Club Plaza turned violent for two Kansas City college students, who say a group of teenagers attacked them in an attempted robbery.

The crime happened Saturday night around 9:30 in the parking lot of Winstead's off of Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard.

“I would never have thought that would happen, honestly,” said Travis Crone, one of the victims, “because every time I’ve been there, it’s been nice and safe.”

Crone, who is studying to become a pastor at Classes Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the Northland, said he and some friends took a break from studying to grab a bite to eat at Winstead’s this weekend.

“That`s the only way to salvation, is through Jesus Christ,” Crone said, “and so spreading that message is my number-1 thing.”

But their fun night out that turned ugly when Crone and his friend, Jake, headed for their car.

“As we were halfway across the parking lot,” Crone recalled, “about 7-10 kids, like 17-19 year-old kids, ran up from over where the bus station was and they just kind of surrounded us as we got to the car.”

Crone said the teens first demanded their wallets, cell phones and car keys. When Crone refused to hand anything over, he said the teens got violent and punched Jake in the throat.

“So in self-defense,” Crone said, “I hit one of them off my friend. And then after that, the rest of them jumped on me.”

Crone said he tried to run, then fight back, but he was simply outnumbered. So he was forced to give up and protect himself the best way he knew how.

“They all kind of came at me and when they did that, I crouched down like this,” Crone said, re-enacting his defense position.

It was in that moment that Crone's friend broke free and ran for help – catching the attention of off-duty police officers who were working the front doors at Winstead's.

However, the officers were unable to catch any of the teens as they sprinted off in different directions.

Crone said he still has some bumps, scrapes and bruises after the violent encounter, but he has forgiven the teens. He’s now praying they soon pick another life path.

“That would be my main thing, is that they come to know Christ,” he said.

A Winstead's manager told FOX 4 that the safety of its customers is a top priority, but they don't have any surveillance cameras outside in the parking lot.

He said every Saturday the restaurant has off-duty cops who work the doors to check IDs and enforce the summer curfew. At the Plaza, the curfew says anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent after 9 p.m.