Armed robbery suspect pepper-sprays Chinese restaurant employees in Silver Spring

- Montgomery County police are searching for a suspect who robbed a Chinese restaurant after surveillance video shows an employee attempting to fight back against the gunman.

Police said the robbery took place at the Golden China restaurant in the 12700 block of Old Columbia Pike in Silver Spring on July 21 at around 11 p.m.

Investigators said the male suspect entered the restaurant armed with a gun in one hand and pepper spray in his other hand. He approached two employees behind the counter and pepper-sprayed the male employee.

According to police, the suspect then points the gun at the female employee demanding cash from the register. However, the woman grabs the suspect's gun in his hand leading to a struggle between the two. The gunman then hits the woman in the head while also pepper-spraying her.

The suspect then took money from the register and left the restaurant, police said.

"This is a pretty violent individual coming in,” said Montgomery County police spokesperson Rick Goodale. “He came prepared. He came in with a plan. He knew exactly what he wanted to do and he was willing to do whatever it took to pull off this robbery.”

Police said the suspect’s gun was an airsoft gun. He was last seen heading on foot in the direction of an Exxon gas station located nearby after the robbery.

Both employees were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police recommend that people not to try to fight back in situations like this.

"The best thing to do is just comply with the suspect's demands,” said Officer Goodale. “It's not worth getting hurt over. It's not worth your life. In this case, she made a personal choice to take the actions that she did, but we would recommend for individuals in that situation to just comply with suspect's demands."

Anyone with information about the suspect or the robbery is asked to call Montgomery County police’s Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070. Anonymous tips can be left with Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in this case.

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