Gunman storms into Dairy Queen with small children inside

By: Liz Foster

Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A gunman stormed into a Dairy Queen in University City Monday evening while a family was inside, and tried to rob the eatery.

[PHOTOS: Armed man robs Dairy Queen in north Charlotte]

"All I heard was, ‘He has a gun,’ and we just ran," employee Khalilah McGriff said.

She told Eyewitness News anchor Liz Foster she and two co-workers at the Dairy Queen on Prosperity Church Road did not hesitate to run out of the back door when the armed man walked in around 5:15 p.m. Monday.

The owner of the restaurant told Channel 9 that surveillance video captured the robber run around the counter to the cash register, but she said he could not get it open, and then fled.

"He didn't get a penny. He couldn't figure out how to open it," Lisa Battaglia said.

The robbery happened in front of a family with small children. Channel 9 was there as officers took statements from a 6-year-old and 9-year-old.

"I felt so bad for these (kids). They're traumatized," Battaglia said.

No one was hurt during the attempted robbery.

"He had a gun. He could've easily just shot one of us in the back," McGriff said.

It was the second time in a matter of days the shops off Prosperity Church Road have been targeted. On Friday, a man walked into the Smoothie King next to the Dairy Queen and robbed it at gunpoint.

"It's unbelievable because it's a quiet family atmosphere," said Jeff Mills, who visits the center several times a week.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police told Channel 9 last week the robber from Smoothie King also robbed China Fun on Albemarle Road.

Foster asked police if they believe it's the same man who hit Dairy Queen Monday night, but they did not immediately answer that question.

"Hopefully they'll catch him, like soon, because you don't know who's going to be next," Battaglia said.

There have been several armed robberies within a half-mile of the shopping center in the last two months. That includes one on Nov. 5 at a gas station across the street that a police officer walked in on and arrested the suspect.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Next Up: