A young woman jogging in Rock Creek Park yesterday was rescued from two gunmen trying to drag her into the bushes by a visitor from Detroit who attacked the two, took their gun and hit one of them in the nose with it.
The incident occurred about 8:30 a.m., when the park near P Street NW is usually crowded with joggers and rush-hour commuters. According to the man who rescued her, the Southeast Washington woman was left "more scared than hurt" as her attackers fled, leaving their loaded gun behind.
The rescuer was Curtis Stokes, 38, a businessman staying at a nearby hotel, who had gone to the park for his morning run.
"I noticed two men trying to pull her into the underbrush," Stokes said, his voice cracking from the pain of the back injury he suffered when one of the men kicked him. "I ran up and I got between them. One of them fired at me, and then the gun jammed so I grabbed it. I bashed one of them in the face, and the other one kicked me in the back. Then they ran away because I had the gun. That's all there was to it."
Stokes said he was aware of the danger in what he did, but he said, "I have a wife myself and a 13-year-old daughter and I thought about them. You can't stop to rationalize."
The woman was a stranger to him, he said, but "I feel that I'm only human.
She was struggling with them and they were grabbing her arms and trying to pull her, and I was there."
Stokes said he is in the "recource recovery business," which means, he said, "the sluge business." Several hours after the incident, he said he was still seeking medical attention for his back injury. "It's very difficult to go to a hospital here in Washington," he said. "First you have to have a doctor."
According to U.S. Park Police, the gun Stokes seized still had a live round in the chamber when he turned it over to them. No arrests have been made.