A 55-year-old man was shot to death in a Takoma Park motel yesterday morning after he tried to subdue a man who had robbed him and his son at gunpoint, Takoma Park police said.
Adam Budnick and his 23-year-old son, Keith, were preparing to leave the Hampshire Motor Inn at 7411 New Hampshire Ave. for their home in Bedford, Pa., when a man carrying a sawed-off shotgun approached the elder Budnick as he was carrying luggage to his car, police said.
Police said Budnick was ordered back into his hotel room, and he and his son were forced to lie face down on their beds as the robber searched through their clothes. He found a small amount of cash, police said.
As the robber left the room and started across the parking lot, the two Budnicks followed and attempted to grab him. During the struggle, the robber fired one blast from his shotgun into Adam Budnick's chest. When his father cried out, police said, Keith Budnick let go of the robber, who then fled on foot.
It was at that point that Jean Hipps, who lives at 7614 15th Street in Takoma Park, looked out of her bedroom window at the motel parking lot behind her back fence.
"The boy was running around the parking lot, screaming 'he's killed my father,' Hipps said. He wasn't wearning a shirt, and he would huddle over his father, then kind of wander around, then go back to his father. He was obviously in shock."
Police said the motel's night manager was called by several persons who saw the fight. The manager called an ambulance, then the police.
"At first I thought it was just another fight in the parking lot, but then someone called and said a man had been shot," said manager Pat O'Brien. "I was trapped in here -- all I could do was call an ambulance and the police.
Last night, police said they were looking for a black male about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 150 pounds. They estimated he was in his late teens or mid-twenties. He was described as having brown eyes, a one-inch bush haircut, and a brown complexion with slight facial hair.
'We're hoping that (the suspect) will go to a hospital or to someone and ask for help," said police Sgt. John Duvall, who explained that the suspect had been cut and bruished in the fight and may have been stabbed, although it was not clear which of the men had a knife.
Steve Merchant, the manager of the Hampshire Inn, said the motel had not had significant problems with crime in its large parking lot recently and that yesterday's shooting was "the first time something like this has ever happened."