- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2000

An armed robber followed two wholesale jewelry dealers into an eatery in the heart of Georgetown's upscale business district and shot them both one in the face yesterday afternoon before making off with their suitcase of samples, police and witnesses said.

The shootings occurred about 4:20 p.m. at the Moby Dick House of Kabob at 1070 31st St. NW near the intersection with M Street, disrupting the evening rush hour through Georgetown.

The robbers got away.

Police did not name the two wounded men, but said one, in his 20s, was shot in the face and stomach and the other, in his 40s, was shot in the chest.

D.C. Police Cmdr. Peter Newsham said both victims sustained "very serious injuries." They were in critical condition last night.

The brazen daytime shooting stunned Georgetown regulars.

"I didn't think anybody could get shot in broad daylight in Georgetown," said Ned Wise, a security guard at a nearby store who came upon the cordoned-off area.

Moby Dick, a tiny carryout restaurant connected to a shoe-repair shop and a dry cleaners, sits amid a line of restaurants in the heart of Georgetown's business district. Nearby is the Barnes & Noble bookstore.

The two victims are wholesale jewelry dealers from New York City. They had parked their car and walked across 31st Street, carrying their suitcase of jewelry samples with them.

They had just placed their order and were waiting for their food near the counter when the gunman walked in, an employee said.

The gunman asked someone behind the counter about the price of an item on the menu, quickly turned to the two victims, pulled out a gun, shot them both and fled, the employee said, repeating what a customer who had seen everything had told him.

The employee, who did not want to be named, believes the gunman grabbed the case of jewels before running out the door. Police would not immediately confirm the robbery.

Police described the gunman as a light-complexioned black man, possibly with a mustache, 37 to 40 years old, 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9, weighing about 160 pounds. He was wearing a red shirt and may have fled in a white Jeep sport utility vehicle.

Police reopened 31st Street about 6 p.m., by which time curious on-lookers were beginning to disperse.

Said one man as he walked away: "You're not safe anywhere."

A short time later, police towed a red Suzuki Esteem with New York plates that was parked across the street in a 30-minute zone. It belonged to the shooting victims, who apparently had planned to run into the Moby Dick for a quick lunch.

Natalia Karamyshev, 26, and Carrie Shaffer, also 26, were walking toward Moby Dick when they saw the flashing lights atop police cruisers and yellow police tape and thought the electricity was out again.

They returned a short time later and learned of the shooting.

"We thought it had something to do with the manholes," Miss Shaffer said, referring to a recent spate of underground fires in the area. "That's sad."

"It's the best kabob place in the world," Mrs. Karamyshev said of Moby Dick, a small storefront eatery with a row of stools against the wall and three or four tables for sit-down customers.

A German tourist asked a reporter if someone was making a movie.

By nightfall, the Georgetown scene was beginning to return to normal.

Well-dressed diners sipped imported beer and wine on the patio of Paper Moon Ristorante Italiano across the street from the crime scene while police directed traffic and dusted for fingerprints. Other restaurants in the area also were filled with customers as usual on an early summer night.

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