Three masked men carjacked a college student at gunpoint near the National Cathedral Monday night.
The American University student was leaving a friend’s house just before 11 p.m. The carjackers approached after he got into his car at 36th and Lowell streets in Northwest.
"Three guys walked up, knocked on my window, one had a gun, just started yelling at me to get out," the student said. "They opened the door, dragged me out of the car, threw me on the ground, and they were kind of yelling, ‘Where’s your money? where’s your phone? where’s your wallet.?’
"Grabbed my phone, and they're yelling at me, ‘What's the pass code?’ Trying to get into it," the student said. "The one guy with the gun put the gun against my head."
One of the men got in the car.
"I was on my back kind of kicking the car door trying to get him to get out," the victim said. "I was yelling at him to get out. I heard a gunshot somewhere and just rolled over on my stomach, hit the deck and watched him pull away."
He said he thought a shot may have been fired at him.
"I thought they might have saw me try to get back in the car, try to get him out of the car," he said. "I was on my back. I was too scared to get up and try to pull him out of the car."
Two of the men ran away on Lowell Street, while the third took the car.
"Neighbor across the street here came out already on the phone with 911," the victim said. "He came over to check if I was OK. The cops were there almost instantly, like three or four squad cars pulled up. An older couple on like an evening walk came by to make sure I was alright because they heard someone screaming and yelling."
A short time later, police saw the car in Southeast, but the carjacker refused to stop until it crashed head-on with another car, 10 miles away from the scene of the carjacking. The carjacker ran from the crash.
Police used a helicopter to search for the men, but they got away.
The victim did get his wallet back with his credit cards and cash, but the car may be a total loss after the crash.
"It's unfortunate you have to be more vigilant of surroundings," he said. "I didn't think it could happen here, but you got to be aware at all times."