Robber Kills Man in NW After Failed Pizza Heist

By Allan Lengel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 20, 2006

A man was fatally shot yesterday afternoon after he chased an armed robber who tried to steal the pizza he had just picked up at a popular neighborhood carryout in Northwest Washington, D.C. police and residents said.

The man was walking in the 1300 block of Randolph Street in the Petworth neighborhood about 1:20 p.m. when the gunman demanded the pizza he had just picked up at Washington Pizza in the same block, said Lt. Robert Glover of the violent crimes unit.

The victim yelled, and several people nearby came to help him. The gunman fled without the pizza, Glover said.

After the group chased the robber into an alley behind the street, he shot the victim in the head, Glover said.

The victim was pronounced dead at the medical examiner's office. His name was not immediately released pending notification of family. Police said he was 42 years old.

The suspect fled after the shooting, and police were searching for him last night. Witnesses told police that they believed the man was in his twenties, black with a light complexion, with braided hair, about 5 foot 11 and clean-shaven. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black pants.

For several hours, police cordoned off part of the 1300 block of Randolph Street, which is lined with older, two-story brick rowhouses, and the alley behind it.

Kyle Stedman, who has lived on the block since July, said he and his wife learned of the shooting after returning from church services about 7 p.m.

"I was very surprised," he said. "My wife always says how safe she feels walking home after parking the car."

He said the block is "very friendly. There's a lot of families around. Whenever we see someone we recognize, they say 'Hi.' "

A longtime resident said the block has greatly improved in the past five years, particularly after police arrested members of a group that sold drugs.

"There's a little mugging here and there" in the neighborhood, said the man, who declined to be identified because of concern for his safety. "It goes in spurts."

Last night, police cars patrolled the street, residents strolled the sidewalk and customers came and went from the small pizzeria where the victim had been hours earlier. The owner said he was not sure who the victim was.

Anyone with information was asked to call police at 202-727-9099. A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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