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Tracing Links to A Deadly D.C. Heist
What else was known then and what happened next in the investigation are unclear.
But soon after Senitt was killed, his companion provided a description of the suspects -- and investigators saw similarities with the earlier crimes. Detectives from the 2nd District, which had been investigating the robberies, provided homicide detectives with the Robinson Place address and two first names -- Chris and Jeff -- Carlson testified. How the investigators got those names, and when, remains unclear.
But coupled with the description of the attackers by the woman assaulted July 9, the names led police to Piper and Rice. They were among a number of people hanging out in front of the building about 4 a.m. July 9 when detectives Elbert Griffin and Michael Fulton arrived.
Griffin and Fulton found Piper first, and after asking a few questions, they had Senitt's companion brought to the scene so she could look at Piper. Initially, she said Piper was similar to, but not as stocky as, the man who attacked her. But after seeing him during a second drive-by, after he had put on a shirt, she said she was 95 percent sure he was her attacker. Eventually, she said she was "sure" it was him, Carlson said.
While Piper was being taken to a police station to be interviewed, the detectives found Rice. They began asking him a few questions and had the woman in the July 9 attack brought around in a police car to see whether she recognized him as well.
Rice blew up, Carlson said, approaching the car's tinted windows and shouting: "She can't identify me. She can't identify me."
The woman told the detectives that he looked -- and acted -- like one of the men who had accosted Senitt, and later she said she was 90 percent sure, Carlson said.
Police said this type of suspect identification is not unusual in such cases.
While at the apartment building, Griffin saw Rice sneaking stuff into his pockets. When the detective searched Rice, he found the woman's cellphone and Senitt's identification case and arrested Rice, Carlson testified.
Judge Rhonda Reid Winston ordered Piper and Rice held without bond after arguments from the prosecutor and defense attorneys.