The Connecticut Avenue NW theater showing the new "Star Wars" movie was held up last night, touching off a series of events that matched the fright and terror of Hollywood melodrama: crime, gunplay, a car chase and a spectacular crash in which at least two people were injured.

The episode began unfolding shortly after 8 p.m. on one of the District's busiest thoroughfares when a man with a gun approached the ticket window of the Uptown Theatre and demanded money. The cashier initially refused, but after the man pointed his weapon at her, she handed over an undetermined amount of cash, police said.

As the robber took off on foot with his loot, a man identified as a theater employee began to chase him. The gunman fired as he fled, striking the employee, reportedly in a foot.

"The guy was firing behind him, not aiming, and it ricocheted and hit him [the employee] in the foot," said Officer Quentin Peterson, a D.C. police spokesman.

Witnesses told police that the robber drove away in a car, and they gave a description.

A few minutes later, officers from the 4th Police District spotted a vehicle appearing to match the description, headed north on Seventh Street NW.

The officers began chasing the vehicle, and shots were fired at them during the chase, police said. No one was hit.

Police said the chase ended quickly. They said the vehicle went out of control, collided with another vehicle and overturned in the 6400 block of Blair Road NW--about five miles northeast of the robbery scene.

The driver of the vehicle was injured in the crash and was taken to Washington Hospital Center, police said.

At least one other motorist was injured in the crash, but no information on injuries was immediately available.

After the chase ended, police said, cash was strewed on the pavement on Blair Road.

As of late last night, no charges had been filed in the incident.