Armed men tie up Catholic Univ. students with zip-ties, rob home

One of three suspects accused of robbing a home full of Catholic university students at gunpoint in D.C. (Sketch courtesy of MPD)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - D.C. police are searching for three persons of interest who tied up eight Catholic University students and robbed them at gunpoint in their off-campus home.

Police said that on Friday, April 4, just before 5 p.m., three armed suspects entered the home, located in the 3300 block of 7th Street NE.

Sources told ABC7 that the suspects used zip-ties to tie up eight Catholic school students who were in the home, in order to rob them of multiple items, including around $100 in cash, and four smartphones, among other items.

"Two of the subjects were armed with semi-automatic handguns, the third subject was armed with a long rifle -- possibly an assault rifle -- and that is what is scary for us,” said Captain William Fitzgerald with the Metropolitan Police.

D.C. Police released these two sketches this afternoon. However, no one is ready yet to talk details about that evening.

According to the police report, a gunman cornered one student as he walked out of the house and made him go back inside. Two other gunmen appeared and ordered all the students inside the house to the ground before trying everyone’s hands together. They then began to collect cell phones and money.

"I saw one of the kids running...bruises were just awful, awful, awful,” said neighbor Ewan Brown, who lives just two doors down.

All of the victims were male and between 21 and 22 years of age. And most of the young men who were tied up inside the house were members of the football team, according to player and neighbor, Mike O’Shea.

"These are a lot of our good friends who live next door, so it's really tough to see that for them," said O'Shea.

O’Shea says he and his teammates, while rattled, are coping well:

"They’re tough guys. They are all strong so I know that they have rebounded from it pretty well. They were a little shaken up, but they're tough guys and I think they're doing all right."

Authorities say that the suspects may have been to the house before, as the home has hosted a number of parties. Sources tell ABC7 News that the suspects told the victims: “Watch out who you hang out with.”

But O'Shea is convinced his friends were not targeted for something that may have happened in the past:

"The way that went down, there's really nothing you could do about that. Luckily no one was hurt, and thankfully, it's probably something that's in the past now."

Anthony James also lives next door and is a fellow student.

"Just a shock," he said. "Our students are pretty aware, an email went out..." he said.

For many other students, the brazen violent crime was a reality check:

"No definitely, we lock our doors a lot more now -- we hadn't really as much before, but now we do," said student Hunter Steel.

The first suspect is described as a black male, in his 20s, approximately 6' in height, with a dark complexion and thin build. He wore a dark sweatshirt and was armed with a long gun, possibly an assault rifle.

The second suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6' in height, with a light complexion and thin build. His hair was worn in dredlocks or braids, and he was armed with a semi-automatic handgun.

The third suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5'10" in height, with a light complexion and medium build. He had short hair and a mustache and appeared to be around 30 years old. He was armed with a semi-automatic handgun.

D.C. police are asking for the public's help in identifying the three suspects. Anyone who has any information about the case is asked to call police at 202-727-9099.

D.C. Crime Solvers is currently offering a reward of up to $10,000 to anyone who provides information.