Detective John Clark, hungry after a long night's work with the D.C. police robbery squad, dropped by the Steak and Egg Kitchen at 4700 Wisconsin Ave. NW for breakfast. He thought his night's work was over.

It was crowded at 4:30 a.m., and Clark had to stand and wait for one of the 12 blue stools at the counter. After he sat down and ordered a steak sunnyside-up eggs, three men walked in.

"This is a holdup," said one, brandishing a sawed-off shotgun and ordering the customers to put their hands on the counter top. A second man vaulted the counter and emptied the cash register, while a third, carrying a silver-colored handgun and wearing a skimask, stood watch at the door.

One male customer apparently knew that John Clark was a District police officer assigned to the robbery squad. "John, John, John," the man yelled to Clark. Clark didn't look up. He kept his hands on the counter.

After the cash register was emptied, the three robbers fled and Clark ran out after them. He yelled that he was a police officer and ordered them to halt. The men ran into an alley.

Clark fired a total of six shots at the fleeing men, but no one was hit. About a block away they got into a 1978white-and-green Oldsmobile Cutlass, police said.

One man lay down in the front seat and a second crouched in the back seat. Clark, gun drawn, ordered the two men out of the car. The third man got away.

Arrested and charged with armed robbery were Anthony Carver, 20, of 404 Nova Ave., Capitol Heights, and Terry Smith, 21, of 408 Balboa Ave., Capitol Heights, police said.

An undetermined amount of money and asawed-off shotgun were recovered, according to police.

By 11 a.m., yesterday, Clark still had not eaten his steak and eggs breakfast. "All I want to do is go home and get some sleep," he said.