LAUREL, MD (WUSA9) - There was mayhem on the highway as a gang of armed robbers tried to get away after pistol whipping the cashier at a Laurel diner.
US Park Police say the men crashed into a half dozen cars and fired on one of them, all for a couple of hundred dollars in cash.
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Police are still on the hunt for the three men. Police say they beat Joe Fredholm, 74, at the diner and escaped down Route 1 and onto southbound US 295, weaving in and out of traffic and smashing into cars unlucky enough to get in their way.
“First guy came in and said, 'Everybody down on the floor!' He had a .45 pointed at me," said Fredholm. He was convinced they were going to kill him. “He hit me with the hilt of his gun twice on the side of the head and then threw me on the floor two or three times.”
The three men, all armed and all dressed in black with masks, held up Fredholm and the two customers grabbing an early morning meal at the Tastee Diner. Fredholm gave them the $90 in his pocket and whatever cash was in the till.
“Once you see a gun pointed at you, you don't do a whole lot of thinking. ‘I'll get you the money,’ said Fredholm.
The men raced off in a burgundy BMW, speeding in and out of traffic on the southbound B-W Parkway, smashing at least seven cars and injuring several people. Miraculously, considering the damage, no one was seriously hurt.
After cracking up the BMW, police say the robbers went after another guy's car. And when he resisted, they fired one shot into the car. The driver got out.
Police say two of the robbers bailed out of that SUV and ran into the woods. The third abandoned the carjacked vehicle in Northeast, D.C. near the National Arboretum.
As for Fredholm, who's ear is still bleeding, he's going back to work tonight. “Oh yeah!” he said.
And not just tonight. Fredholm never closed the diner after getting pistol whipped. After picking himself up off the floor and calling the cops, he went right back to work serving hot coffee and fried eggs to night owls in search of a meal.
Somebody tweeted WUSA9's Bruce Leshan saying they're going to leave him a big tip. A lot of us should.
Fredholm says in 35 years at the Tastee Diner, this is the first time he's ever been held up.