When a gunman crashed a garden party at private Capitol Hill home last month, he was apparently in search of extra cash. He left without getting his hands on any money -- but he did get an impromptu therapy session.
Around midnight on June 16, guests were just finishing up a summer meal of grilled vegetables, marinated steaks and jumbo shrimp when a man with a hood over his head entered through the back patio and put a gun to the head of a fourteen-year-old girl.
"Everybody give me your money. I am being very serious," the gunman said, according to witnesses.
None of the guests had any cash. Guest Michael Rabdau, 51, whose daughter was being held at gunpoint, even put his hands in his pockets and pulled them out to prove he had nothing.
But another guest, Cristina Rowan, 41, had something different for the young man: a lecture. Striking a parental tone, she asked him what his mother would think if she saw him doing this, Rabdau told ABC News.
The gunman replied, "I don't have a mother."
At this point, there was dramatic shift in the group dynamic, Rabdau said. Rowan told the young man to calm down and have a glass of wine.
She gave him a glass of Chateau Malescot St- Exupery, a French red wine that sells for a roughly $20 a bottle. "Damn, that's really good wine!," the gunman exclaimed.
After a few sips, the man relaxed and slowly put his weapon away. "He took a piece of cheese and we filled his glass and he said, 'you know, I think I came to the wrong house,'" Rabdau recalled.
Before leaving, the man asked if he could have a group hug.
The group was perplexed. Just moments before, the man was threatening their lives. Now he had dramatically altered his behavior for a little hospitality. Nevertheless, they agreed to the unusual request.
The gunman had one more sip of wine, then quietly apologized and left the same way he came in.
The group locked the door and called 911. After the police arrived, a lone crystal wine glass was found, carefully placed to the side in the alley near the home.
Rabdau said he had unable to process what had really happened until he saw the glass.
"It is kind of a funny story but after going through it, you think how could that change like that? The whole dynamic it was so sinister and then almost endearing."
Jul 14 2007, 6:40 am