When Henry and Ann Cassidy, on vacation from Bedfordshire, England, arrived in the Washington area with friends Friday evening, they were looking forward to a whirlwind tour of the Capital.

The only tour they've had, however, is of the various floors in Prince George's General Hospital in Cheverly, where Henry Cassidy has been lying in pain with a gunshot wound in the stomach.

"They only came to Washington for one day to see the sights," said Paul Rook, a British friend who now lives in New Jersey and brought the Cassidys to Washington. "I know such things happen, but it's a shock when it happens to you."

Rook said that he, his wife and two children and the Cassidys drove from New Jersey Friday evening and settled into rooms at the Howard Johnson's motel on Annapolis Road in Cheverly.

A few hours later, he and the Cassidys went out for a late night cup of coffee. As they returned to their rooms about 12:30 a.m., they were approached from behind by two men in their mid-20s, Rook said.

According to his account the men hit Ann Cassidy on the head and were trying to take her purse when her husband and Rook came to her rescue.

In the ensuing scuffle, one of the assailants pulled out a pistol and fired, hitting Henry Cassidy in the stomach. The pair fled into the night.

Cassidy didn't realize he'd been shot, Rook said. "He was numb, I guess. It wasn't until we returned to the hotel room and saw the blood that we realized he had been hit and called an ambulance."

Cassidy was taken to Prince George's Hospital where he underwent surgery for wounds in the stomach and intestines, Rook said.

Hospital officials said he was in stable condition.