Montgomery County police, using fingerprint analysis at FBI facilities, yesterday identified two robbery suspects fatally shot fleeing a jewelry store holdup in Bethesda Saturday as Washington residents Donald Shelton, 33, and Steven Jerome Powell, 37.
Autopsies yesterday by a Maryland medical examiner in Baltimore showed that both men died of gunshot wounds suffered in a hail of bullets as they drove away from the Prestige Jewelry Store on Wisconsin Avenue, police said. Store owner Vahag Babayan told police he ran after the men and fired at them after he was robbed at gunpoint by a man who took jewelry from a case.
The suspects were rushed to Suburban Hospital shortly after the car they were in crashed on Wisconsin Avenue at Rosemont Avenue, several blocks north of the store. The men had been shot in the head and chest.
Shelton, identified by police as the man who robbed the store, lived in the 1800 block of Frederick Place SE. Powell, of the 100 block of Sycamore Road NE, was believed to have remained in the car during the robbery, police spokeswoman Ann Evans said.
In what a witness described as a "nightmare scene," the holdup car crashed into five other cars as the driver fled on Wisconsin.
No charges are pending against the store owner, who has operated the store since September with his brother. But the case will be reviewed by the state's attorney, Evans said. Babayan said he has owned his gun since January and had never been robbed before.