Two men and one woman were robbed at gunpoint Saturday night on their way to church in the Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Columbia Heights, police and the victims said.
One of the robbers also sexually abused the female victim, according to the police report.
The victims told our sister station Telemundo 44 that three men with guns approached them shortly after 7 p.m. in the 1300 block of Otis Place NW and demanded their belongings.
“I was getting to the corner when one of them ran and pointed his gun at me,” Enrique Arias, one of the victims, said. “My friend was in the middle and the other one [of us] was behind her.”
The suspects took $600 in cash, several bags, a wallet, two IDs, a cellphone, and their bibles, according to the police report. Two of the victims told T44 they were street vendors.
“I didn’t want to lose my life because it was my life against the money, it was two days’ worth of my work,” Freddy Balmes, another victim, said.
The female victim told police and Telemundo 44 one of the suspects had inappropriate sexual contact with her.
“I felt bad because I couldn’t breathe and he was pointing at me, I had the gun in my stomach”, she said. “He put his hand over my breast, and then moved the hand down.”
Police are searching for four suspects, the three gunmen and a fourth man who was waiting for the alleged robbers in a brown car, according to the report.
“When one is poor and a fighter, it hurts for someone to take it away,” Arias said.
Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Thursday the District is expanding violence prevention and intervention efforts in three communities and distributing over $1.1 million in grants after an increase in gun violence in the city and the number of homicides in the District hit an 18-year high this month.