'Give Me Your Money or I'll Kill You'

A D.C. police officer examines a Chevrolet TrailBlazer recovered in Northwest. It was stolen Monday.
A D.C. police officer examines a Chevrolet TrailBlazer recovered in Northwest. It was stolen Monday. (By Katherine Frey -- The Washington Post)
By Del Quentin Wilber and Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Aiming an assault pistol directly at the college freshman's face, the robber cocked the gun. The student heard a clack as a round entered the chamber.

"Are you serious?"

"Yeah, man, I'm serious," replied the gunman, who was probably no more than 18 or 19. "Give me your money or I'll kill you."

Sitting in the passenger seat of his brother's car, the student did not argue. Two more robbers walked over and reached through the car's windows. He gave them $10 and his cellphone. His brother handed over at least $80.

"We have your IDs. If you call the police, we'll kill you," the gunman said before fleeing.

The freshman said he couldn't believe he was being robbed -- in the middle of a spring afternoon, just outside his dormitory at Catholic University in Northeast Washington. He was one of more than a dozen victims of carjackings and robberies during a terrifying few hours Monday in the District and Prince George's County. The Washington Post is not identifying him or the other victims because police consider them witnesses.

No one was seriously injured in the spate of holdups, but the assailants fired at least one shot at a fleeing motorist. Police knew of no motive for the chaotic burst. Victims were targeted on streets, in a store and in traffic -- two lost their cars after thieves boxed them in.

As the victims relived their experiences yesterday, police scrambled to find those responsible. In the afternoon, D.C. police got what they hope will be a break in the case when they spotted one of the carjacked vehicles in the parking lot of a pawn shop in Northwest Washington.

Cmdr. Larry McCoy was doing paperwork in his cruiser when he saw the tan Chevrolet TrailBlazer pull into the parking lot at Lamont Street and Georgia Avenue. McCoy said he apprehended the driver as he was trying to rip a stereo out of the back of the SUV. The man was apparently going to try to sell the speaker at the pawn shop.

He was being questioned about the robberies and carjackings last night, but no charges had been filed. Police are looking for as many as five other assailants and said they hoped that the SUV would yield clues.

"Hopefully, we'll get some fingerprints," McCoy said. "There are definitely other people out there."

Police said they were still trying to piece together the exact number and sequence of robberies and carjackings and were culling through reports to see whether other crimes might be connected to the group. One potential lead evaporated: A juvenile arrested early yesterday near the National Zoo did not appear to have been involved in the crimes, police said.

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