“I need my son!” the man said, crouching in a store in Silver Spring where a masked robber pointed a gun at him and his wife.
At that moment, their elementary-school-age son was in a different part of the store, delivering two left hooks to a second armed robber. The boy had come into the store with his parents to look for stuffed animals.
Montgomery County Police on Wednesday released surveillance video of the terrifying heist in hopes someone would recognize the robbers.
The robbery occurred inside the GameStop store at 10100 Colesville Road just before 9 p.m. Friday. The pair of robbers also pointed their guns at two clerks and stole cash. No one was seriously injured.
In an interview Wednesday, the father recalled the events. Because the robbers are at large and for his son’s privacy, he did not want to be identified.
But he spoke out because he said he wants the crime solved, in part, so he can tell his son the robbers have been caught.
“It’s important for me to be able to say to him: ‘They’re not going to do this to anyone else,’ ” he said.
The following narrative is based on police officials, the video and the father’s comments.
Early in the evening, the father — who is in his 40s, lives in Silver Spring and works as a government affairs consultant — his wife and their son went to the boy’s soccer practice. He also plays basketball and baseball.
After going home for a change of clothes, the family headed to dinner at a Japanese restaurant.
During the meal, the boy kept talking about the stuffed animals for sale at the nearby GameStop, which specializes in video games. The animal he was focused on is a “Yoshi,” a turtle-dinosaur looking creature connected to Super Mario and other video games. The boy told his parents his friends had been talking about the Yoshis at GameStop.
After dinner, the family went to the store, where the boy picked a Yoshi out of a bin and carried it as his parents shopped for a gift to bring to a birthday party.
Suddenly, the two gunmen burst in. Video shows them walking past the child and toward the counter.
There, they ordered the father and his wife to the floor. It was then that the father asked for his son.
One assailant approached the boy. The video shows the boy trying to resist the man.
“He punched him,” the dad said. “Two left hooks while holding the Yoshi doll.”
The assailant forced the boy to go to his parents. The child got on the floor. The father wrapped his arms around his son and his wife.
“I’m just grateful we were together, as a family, at that moment,” the man said. “It was a terrifying situation. You just want to grab them and hold them tight to you, and you want it to end, quickly.”
Within minutes, the gunmen were gone.
The father said his son understands enough: That the guns were real, that someone could have lost their life.
“We’re proud that he is a strong, brave young boy,” the father said.
The manager of the shop gave his son the Yoshi doll, which the boy carries around their home.
“He feels like it’s being protected,” the father said.
Police described the robbers as black men in their 20s, both about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 170 pounds. They were wearing black hooded sweatshirts, black pants, gloves and masks.
Police said that anyone with information about the crime should call 240-773-5070. Those who wish to remain anonymous or be eligible for a reward of up to $10,000 can call 866-411-TIPS (8477).