HICKORY, N.C. - Police in Hickory are trying to track down a man who they said burst into an apartment with a fully-loaded assault rifle while a group of friends were playing a game.
Officers are stepping up patrols at the Blue Ridge Heights apartment complex.
The four friends were playing bingo on their phones at the time the robbery happened over the weekend.
One of the friends, an Army reservist Darren McFadden, jumped out a window to get help after spotting police a few feet away on a traffic stop.
McFadden showed Channel 9 the window he climbed through after the armed man forced his way into the apartment at Blue Ridge Heights in southwest Hickory.
"All you could see was around the eyes. You couldn't see from the nose down,” said Ashleigh Reinhardt, another of the friends in the apartment.
Reinhardt said most of her attention was focused on the large gun the man pointed at McFadden and her friends in the apartment.
"I thought he was playing when he first came in, until he put the magazine in the gun and racked it. I was scared,” Reinhardt said.
McFadden said he and another friend were walking out the front door when the robber ordered them back into the apartment.
They said he loaded a round into the chamber of the assault rifle and ordered them to give him everything they had.
That's when McFadden saw his chance to escape.
"I’ve been to combat twice in the service. I've had a couple (of) guns pointed at me but I’m not going to lie. I was kind of shook up about it,” McFadden said.
When McFadden jumped out a window to get police, the robber immediately took off through the front door. Until he is caught, Reinhardt isn't taking any chances -- locking her doors and carrying a Taser at night.
"The next time he comes, if I can't a hold of him, this will get a hold of him," Reinhardt said.
Police said they have only a vague description of the robber because of the bandana over his face. They said the assault rifle was similar to an AR-15