Flak-jacketed police broke down the door of a Southeast Washington apartment early yesterday to rescue a 14-month-old baby believed held hostage by a man who threatened the baby's mother with a gun during a domestic quarrel, D.C. police said.

When police entered the apartment, they found the baby, Antonie Johnson, asleep in a bedroom and the man gone.No one was injured in the incident.

The baby's mother, identified as Dolores Johnson, of 2017 Savannah Ter., told police that Gerald Tyrone Page, 32, of the same address, threatened her with a shotgun and a revolver. She fled the apartment with her 5-year-old son, Reginald Hill, and called police.

Dozens of police surrounded the three-story red brick apartment building and ordered an immediate evacuation during the incident, which began at 6:45 a.m. and ended about two hours later.

"There were police everywhere, and I remember someone knocking on my door saying that we had to go out, it was an emergency," said a resident of the apartment building who asked not to be identified.

Neighbors speculated that Page had gone to another apartment or left the building entirely after Johnson called police.

One neighbor described Page as a person who usually "stayed to himself."

Police said late yesterday Page was still at large.