2 Md. Hostages Free; Suspects in Police Custody
Thursday, October 19, 2006
A young girl and at least one other person were held hostage for hours last night in a restaurant in Prince George's County, long after police interrupted a robbery there, county police said.
The two were released about 11 p.m., and shortly after midnight, police fired canisters of chemical spray through the windows of the building. They said the suspect, who had remained inside, came out and was taken into custody without incident.
The standoff occurred at Chez YonYon, a restaurant at Riggs and Chillum Roads that is well known in the Washington area's Haitian community.
It was believed that the girl, who was said to be 7 or 8, is the daughter of the restaurant's owner, Lionel Simeon, a Haitian immigrant who is also a musician.
Simeon and his wife and their 11-year-old son apparently escaped from the building early on. Police said three other people also escaped or were released earlier.
An accomplice of the suspect's was arrested at the restaurant at the outset, police said. They said he was wearing body armor. The suspect holding the girl was also believed to be wearing armor, police said.
They said they assumed he was armed with a gun but were not certain.
Police were heard late last night used a bullhorn to try to communicate with the suspect. It was not clear whether he had responded.
Police Maj. Kevin Davis told reporters that two officers in a patrol car had pulled into a parking lot near the restaurant about 6 p.m. when their surroundings erupted in a flurry of excitement.
A woman identified as Simeon's wife, the co-owner of the restaurant, burst out of the building. About the same time, Simeon jumped from a second-floor window.
The woman began screaming that a robbery was underway, and just then a man in body armor emerged from the restaurant.
That man was unarmed, and was quickly taken into custody, Davis said. But the second robber remained inside, Davis said.