When it started. a man from Richmond. who understandably doesn't want to be named. was upstairs with a girl whom he'd paid $25. They were having sex. and he didn't know anything else was going on.
But a tall. handsome man who works at an embassy knew something unusual was going on when four men. one carrying a shotgun burst into the parloe floor and ordered the women to strip. There were about 15 men and 15 women in the room at the time.
The people who live in the 1000 block of 11th Street NW also realized something was happening when they saw swarms of girls. scme nude. some half dressed. scurrying out of the Tourist. an establishment at 1008 11th St. NW.
What happened. according to police, is that four men robbed about 50 pent that has been under surveillance as a spot where prostiues bring their paying friends. Before the robbers could make their get away. they realized that officers were outside and tried to make it out the rear of the place. police said.
Minutes after the robbers began their room-by-room search for victims, men and women targets of the ho street. attracting a large police presence. Officers happened to be near the scene, anyway, because Officers Larry Bailey and Linda Butler were checking out a car that had been left in a nearby alley. They heard what sounded like a gunshot and approached the Tourist.
Seeing the poack door. police said. Then the 50 people poured out of the hotel and told police what was happening. Within 10 minutes. at about 12:20 a.m. yesterday. police had blocked off 11th Street. pulled on their flak jackets and declared the scene a barricade situation.
The men and women involved in the non-robbery festivities said one man who wasn't a robber was left in the building. He was an amputee who (See HOLDUP, C7. Col. 1) (HOLDUP, From C1) couldn't get out because he didn't have any legs, they told police.
Fifteen minutes later the amputee came out on artificial limbs and crutches, according to D.C. police Lt. Kenneth Winters.
The robbers, meanwhile, had taken up positions in the building, and police surrounded the structure with sharpshootesr. A police helicopter whirred overhead.
As Officer Roy Smith went through the alley in back of the building he found one robbery suspect in a car, Lt. Winters said.
"He agreed to talk to his buddies over the megaphone." Winters said. "For 15 or 20 minutes. he was telling them they were surrounded, but nothing happened."
Police intensified surveillance and sent men to the roof of the structure. About 1:30 a.m., according to police, Officer Thomas Smith pulled a second suspect through the skylight of the building.
Police believed they still had two other robbery suspects inside. They waited. Then they began a systematic search of the building and the alley in back of it, with the special operations unit leading the way.
Police found no one else in the building but under an oil can in the alley police found still another suspect. Winters said he believes a fourth suspect escaped.
"For the first 15 minutes, we were uptight." Winters said. "But after a while. it was comical, to say the least."
Around the barricade scene, in the dark of the early morning hours. pimps. prostitutes. their clients and an assortment of late-night people stood around. joking and watching the police operation.
The girls who had run naked from the structure sat wrapped in police blankets in unmarked police cars. They smoked cigarettes and chatted about how all the attention and the police presence would hurt business for awhile.
"Dont't tlak to that reporter." a blonde screamed from the police car to a client and another girl. "Won't be nobody coming around here."
Many of the men who had been in the Tourist waited in the street, hoping to recover their wallets and other valu there and party and I said all right," said one man. a midget in a three-piece suit. "I lost fifty , man. People don't even know how to act right."
Police said they charged three men with armed robbery and identified them as John Miles. of 2323 Hartford St. SE: Robert Jenning, 23. of 2732 Bruce Pl. SE, and Andre Springs, of 800 Southern Ave. SE.