A store manager and a holdup man were wounded yesterday in a sudden exchange of gunfire at a Southeast Washington liquor store.
Police said a gunman entered Albert's Liquor Store at 328 Kentucky Ave. SE at about 1 p.m. and demanded that the customers in the store and a store employe lie on the floor behind the front counter. He then asked the store manager, Alan Rosenblatt, to hand over the money in the cash register, police said.
When Rosenblatt handed him the money from the register, the gunman asked for "the rest of the money," according to John Williamson, one of the customers who was told to lie down behind the counter.
According to Williamson, Rosenblatt told the gunman he had given him all the money he had, but the gunman said, "If you don't give me the money I'm going to blow your head off."
"The next thing I heard was a bunch of shooting," Williamson said.
Police said Rosenblatt had a handgun behind the counter and shot at the gunman, wounding him twice in the chest. The gunman shot Rosenblatt once in the head. Witnesses were unable to say who shot first, police said.
The three customers in the store and a second employe were unharmed.
Police said that just as the wounded gunman was stumbling out of the store to get to his car, Leon Friedman, the store's owner, was driving up.
Realizing there had been a shootout, Friedman stayed in his car and followed the gunman's car. Friedman, who had a telephone in his car, called the police emergency number and kept police informed of the route as the pursuit continued.
Police headed off the gunman's car at 7th and Portland streets SE, about a mile from the liquor store.
Jesse James Clark, 29, of 828 12th St. SE was arrested and charged with armed robbery. He was listed in satisfactory condition last night at D.C. General Hospital with wounds in his chest.
Rosenblatt was listed in serious condition at Howard University Hospital.
Residents of the tidy, Capitol Hill neighborhood of freshly-painted row houses where Albert's is located said the area is generally quiet, with few incidents of street robbery.