A naked man darted from a sport-utility vehicle into a downtown Washington office building at lunchtime yesterday and then jumped to his death from the eighth floor, officials said.
The man double-parked in the 1000 block of 15th Street NW about noon, bolted from his still-running gray Jeep Cherokee, dashed past a crowd on the street and ran into the lobby of an office building, witnesses said.
Police were still trying to identify the man yesterday and to determine why he jumped. Witnesses also were trying to sort out what happened. The man had no apparent connection to the building, according to people who work there.
"He didn't even have shoes on," said James Crouch, who was working as a temporary security guard at the building. Sitting behind the security desk, Crouch first saw the man from the waist up and thought "maybe he was a rather strange jogger. But then I stood up and saw the rest of him."
The man told Crouch that he was "handicapped," asked him for 50 cents to make a phone call and then spoke incoherently, mumbling something about his father, Crouch said.
Then the man ran to an elevator. Minutes later, he emerged from a stairwell on the eighth floor. The fire alarm had been set off, presumably by the man, and the office doors on that floor were open as people began to file out, witnesses said.
The man pushed his way into one of the offices, where he said "excuse me" several times while charging toward a window, witnesses said. He smashed the glass and jumped through the window, falling onto a parapet between two buildings. Some downtown workers saw him fall.
D.C. firefighters and emergency medical service personnel arrived at the scene, and police quickly cordoned off the block.
Workers in the eighth-floor office said they had not seen the man before and did not believe that he had ties to the offices there. They didn't hear anything he said other than "excuse me," a witness said.
Before it became apparent what was taking place, the city's parking enforcers reacted to the abandoned SUV, which had leather seats, Maryland plates and no sign of clothing inside. They slapped a ticket on the windshield.