A popular waiter at a Dupont Circle area restaurant was fatally shot early yesterday as he walked home from work, moments after telling his assailant, "I don't have any money," police and witnesses said.
Adrien D. Alstad, 55, who often broke into song as he worked at Annie's Paramount Steak House, was shot once in the chest about 2:20 a.m. in the 1800 block of R Street NW, two blocks from his apartment. He was pronounced dead an hour later at George Washington University Hospital.
Alstad worked at Annie's Paramount Steak House on 17th Street NW. "Everyone knew him," manager Leigh Hendricks said. "He would sit down at the tables and talk to people. He would run around here singing. Customers loved him."
(Katherine Frey -- The Washington Post)
The slaying took place in an area known more for its restaurants, shopping and night life than violent crime. Lt. David Jackson, of the police department's violent crimes unit, said detectives were investigating a string of street robberies in the neighborhood over the past few weeks, including two that took place in the hours before Alstad was attacked.
Police said they plan to step up patrols in the area and distribute leaflets in hopes of turning up leads on a suspect. No arrests were made.
It was not clear if any money was taken, but witnesses said they heard Alstad yelling, "I don't have any money," just before the sound of gunfire.
Boris Fain, 37, who lives on the block, called 911 after hearing shots and hearing Alstad, who was clutching his chest and shouting in pain.
"The man was doubled over right in front of the driveway," Fain said. "I was shaking."
At Annie's Paramount Steak House in the 1600 block of 17th Street NW, where Alstad had worked for about 12 years, his colleagues described him as a hardworking, caring and standout employee who charmed customers with his personality and singing.
Manager Leigh Hendricks said Alstad would sing songs such as "Dancing Queen" from the band Abba to his regular customers, who would applaud him.
"Everyone knew him," Hendricks said. "He would sit down at the tables and talk to people. He would run around here singing. Customers loved him."
Yesterday, as news of his death traveled through the neighborhood, flowers and balloons arrived at the restaurant in honor of him.
Hendricks fought tears as she recalled how she often warned Alstad about being careful while walking home from work. She said he brushed off her concerns by saying, "Oh, don't worry about me, babe. I'm going to walk right down the street, and if they want what little money I have, they can have it."
On the night he was killed, Alstad walked a female bartender to her car, she said. Hendricks said that the bartender offered him a ride but that Alstad declined.
Chad Tyler Green, 26, an actor who works at Annie's, said Alstad often covered his shifts so that he could attend auditions.