A 20-year old unemployed woman who was about to be evicted from her apartment in the Shirley Duke complex in Alexandria barricaded herself with two small children for 2 hours yesterday afternoon and threatened to drop one child out of her third-floor window before she was overpowered by police.
Identified by Alexandria police as Lois Robinson of 724 N. Inverson St., the woman was one of about 80 persons evicted from the sprawling complex yesterday for nonpayment of rent.She was taken to police headquarters, charged with trespassing, and later released on her own reconizance, police said.
Alexandra Sheriff Michael Norris said Robinson had made "pyhsically threats" to his deputies outside by displaying several butcher knives at them from the third-floor window. At one point, Robinson threatened to throw herself and her daughter, Robchanda, 2, and a daughter of a sister, Angel, 2, out the window, Norris said.
Norris said another sister of Robinson's Alice, a civialn employe with the Alexandra Police Department, was called to the scene and entered the apartment. After some time, Norris said, the two women agreed to allow Investigator William Banks from the police community relations office into the apartment where Banks found Lois Robinson armed with a knife and overpowered her.
"She was just looking for some kind of help," said the Rev Lee. H. Clahoun , and acquaintance of the Robinsons who had been called oto the apartment by Alice Robinson. "She had no desire to hurt herself or her child."
Alice Robinson said she unsuccessfully had tried to find her sister an apartment she could afford. "It's discrimination, that's what it is, downright discrimination," she said referring to the eviction, her voice choking and tears streaming down her face.
Alice Robinson said the police had promised not to "touch her" sister, but after Lois Robinson had been overpowered and was allowed to take some of her belongings out of the apartment she was arrested and driven away.
norris said his deputies had only promised not to hurt her, nd added that he tried to negotiate with Robinson and explain to her that emergency shelter had been found for her and Rochanda by the Alexandria Department of Social Services.
"We could have very easily ... bust into the place and probably somebody would have been injured," Norris said. "That is not the way we like to do things here."
Norris said the eviction orders were approved by a Alexandra General District Court judge and that he had informed the city's social welfare agencies that 84 people were scheduled to be evicted so they could be helped in findings new homes. The sheriff added that his office had posted eviction notices on March 17 and had sent other notes to tenants explaining that they had to vacate their homes by yesterday.
Alexandria officials said yesterday that the evictions had nothing to do with the gradual closing of the Shirley Duke complex, which has been going on since last October. An additional 300 families are scheduled to leave the deteriorating garden apartment community by th e end of this week, leaving aboyut 500 families in the complex.
The city created a task force to try to relocate the more than 1,000 families who were living there at the time the closing was announced last fall. "The biggest problem and major stumbling block remains the lack of comparably priced housing in the metropolitan area," said Jerry Johnson, head of the Alexandris Citizen Assitance office.
The rent at Shirley Duke range from $160 to $220 a month. Lois Robinson paid $185 a month and was two months behind in her rent, according to Alice Robinson.
Some people, however, are not convinced Alexandria is doing all it could to help people like Lois Robinson.
"There is no compassion whatsoever. I just cannot understand why the city of Alexandria cannot do something about a situation like this," said Anice Wilson, the director of Hopkins House, a nonprofit social service agency, as she walked by Lois Robinson's belongings piled in front of the apartment.