Victim Tells Court Harrowing Tale of Faking Injury to Escape Gunmen
'Am I going to die here like this?' a Germantown man said he asked himself. 'Is this it for me?'
GERMANTOWN, MD -- The alleged victim of a kidnapping, robbery and attempted murder testified Monday that three armed men approached him in the parking lot of a local apartment complex, ordered him into the backseat of his own Range Rover, forced him to withdraw cash from an ATM and tried to shoot him after taking him to a secluded patch of woods.
“It was the most frightening scenario I’ve ever seen,” said Henry Ihienkonye, whom police said evaded his captors by faking a gunshot wound.
He was the first witness called in the trial of Quinnton Brown of Columbia, MD, one of three men charged in his alleged kidnapping, robbery and attempted murder.
Brown was arrested in York, PA, on Jan. 27 on charges of kidnapping, first-degree attempted murder, armed robbery, first-degree assault and related conspiracy charges.
The charges stem from an incident Jan. 22 in the 19800 block of Crystal Rock Drive.
According to police accounts, three gun-wielding men approached Ihienkonye outside his apartment.
Prosecutors argued that the men demanded money from a safe, which Ihienkonye claimed in tesimony that he didn’t own. When it became clear that Ihienkonye had neither cash nor the safe, the men ordered him to get into the back of his own Range Rover and drove him to SunTrust bank on Wisteria Drive in Germantown, according to court testimony Monday.
Ihienkonye withdrew $400 and gave it to the men, the maximum he could withdraw, documents filed in court stated.
After an unsuccessful search for another ATM, the men drove Ihienkonye to a remote area off Game Preserve Road in Gaithersburg, where he claimed Brown marched him a half mile into the woods at gunpoint and ordered him to get on his knees.
“Am I going to die here like this? Is this it for me?" Ihienkonye testified he was thinking at the time.
Ihienkonye said that in an effort to escape, he fought with Brown and dislodged the gun from his possession. Ihienkonye claimed that one of the other suspects, who he said was wearing a black hoodie, fired a shot toward his knees.
“I started crying and yelling so they would go away,” pretending to have been shot, Ihienkonye testified. “And, they bought it.”
The men reportedly ran out of the woods after the shot was fired, according to police.
Ihienkonye said he then dialed 911.
The defense argued that Ihienkonye exaggerated what happened, suggesting the incident was sparked by an outstanding debt and that Ihienkonye went to the ATM willingly to repay money he owed.
“There was no attempted murder, there was no kidnapping, there was no armed robbery,“ said assistant public defender Theresa Cheronsky in her opening statement.
In her cross-examination of Ihienkonye, she tried to cast doubt on Ihienkonye's claim that he didn’t know the defendant well prior to the alleged incident.
Meanwhile, Brown, cleanshaven and wearing a suit and tie, sat emotionless during the proceedings.
His trial is expected to last five days.
Stephen Hammond, 28, of Ellicott City, MD, was arrested Feb. 9 on similar charges. Hammond’s trial date was set for Aug. 20.
A warrant on similar charges was pending against Sheldon Duke White III, of York, PA, court records show.