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Hymes has been discharged from George Washington University Hospital, and now is recovering from his wounds and awaiting the next operation.

Cantrell is still in the hospital for rest and observation. Pierce still is hospitalized, listed in fair condition. Kirkland is in good condition, good enough to talk to a reporter yesterday.

If the 21-year-old furniture mover is correct, one man was basically responsible for the injuries at the B'nai B'rith building.

"The dude was like an animal," Kirkland said, sitting on the edge of his hospital bed. "The dude was like an animal. Everybody that got busted up or mained in some way, he was involved.

"I feel to the floor and just lay there" after being stabbed with a machete in the left thigh and back," Kirkland recalled, "and then he kicked me. Then he pulled a gun and stuck it to my head.

"Then the other guy with him said," If you shoot, I'll kill you.' So then the dude eased off . . . He was a real animal. He didn't care. He just didn't seem to care. Everything I saw him one of them was always calming him down. Telling him not to hurt somebody or pulling him off."

The work began for Alton Kirkland at 9 a.m., as has every day he has worked at B'ani B'rith since Sepetmber. Late in the morning he was cleaning out a closet on the seventh floor.

"One of the ladies got a call from downstairs that there were gunmen downstairs who had taken over the building," he said. "There were three men other than myself and nine women. We all locked ourselves in one office. But before that, me being nosey, I had to see if it was for real or somebody was playing games.

"I went down in the back steps to the fifth floor and I heard shooting and saw smoke. When I looked in I saw a guy with a stocking cap on and he had another guy by the shoulder and he looked around and saw me and pointed his pistol at me and said 'Hold it!" and I dashed up the steps.

"I told the rest of the people up there what I'd just seen and experienced, and that's when we secured ourselves inside the office."

About 15 to 20 minutes passes, said Kirkland, during which the workers in the office talked quietly among themselves and tried to cheer each other up. Then came the knock on the door.

"Open up in there! Open up in there!" They said 'We've got this building. Open up!'" said Kirkland. "Then, when nobody answered, they kicked the door in.

"I was standing by the door and I was the first one they saw. He said, 'ah ha! Why didn't you open the door, mother . . .? Why didn't you open the door" Get out there and lay on the floor."

Kirkland said he and the other captives lay on the floor, and he was then ordered to kick in another door for the Hanafis.

"I kicked the door in and there was nobody there and then after this was when the guy pulled out a knife and hit me in the leg right there . . ." He pulled back the leg of his pajama shorts to reveal a large bandage on his thigh. "When I went to grab my leg, he stabbed me in the back.

"I was just scared," recalled Kirkland. "I knew where I'd been hit and I knew I was losing a lot of flood. I was scared I was going to die.

"'Don't lose consciousness,'" he said he told himself. " I was getting faint and it was hard to breath on the concrete floor."

Kirkland credits the fact that he is still alive to a 'middle-aged white lady' whose name he can't recall. The woman placed a tourniquet on his leg and tried to close the back wound. She also, he said, convinced the Hanafis that Kirkland would die if not released.

After riding up and down in the building's elevator, Kirkland found himself on the ground floor, where, he says, the police at first thought, he might be booby-trapped and carefully checked his body before removing him from the elevator.

By the time Kirkland arrived at George Washington Hospital, he had no pulse. "He required 16 pints of blood over the course of two operations," said Dr. Glen Geelhoed, the surgeon who operated on Kirkland. "The body holds 10 pints."

Geelhoed and his team removed Kirkland's punctured spleen, closed a tear in his diaphragm, repaired several branches of his femoral artery in his thigh and closed cuts in his stomach and liver.

As he sat in his hospital room yesterday, Kirkland reflected, "Maybe in my life I did something to somebody to deserve this. But they're (the Hanafis') going to get theirs, someday, some way. I just hope they've got a conscience. If they've got a conscience, that'll enough."