Owner says it took police over an hour to respond after store trashed by 2 suspects

It is a story you saw first on FOX 5 -- video of a convenience store being ransacked and destroyed by two men. Now, the owner of the Northwest D.C. store said police ignored frantic calls for help Saturday morning while the shop was trashed.

The violent assault was caught on several cameras mounted inside the Georgia Avenue store. The footage shows the men turning over equipment and attacking the booth where the clerk waited for help that came far too late.

Last Saturday morning just after 5 a.m., the two suspects walked into the 77 Market convenience store looking to buy cigars. The timestamp on the video says it was 5:08 a.m.

According to the store owner, the men became enraged when the clerk asked for identification.

A few minutes later at 5:13 a.m., the men began trashing the store. They threw cases of soda, trash cans and turned over equipment.

With the clerk on the phone to 911, the men left the store only to return at 5:22 a.m. where the assault turned more violent. The men threw anything they could find at the clerk behind the Plexiglass booth.

By 5:24 a.m., they were gone and there was still no sign of the police.

In fact, the first arriving officer, according to the owner and the video, came to the market at around 6 a.m. The officer left for another call and did not come back until 6:45 a.m.

Owner Amru Ousnan said he thought the cashier was lying when he said the police did not respond.

"Honestly I didn't believe him when I came, so I asked him, ‘Are you sure you called the police?'" Ousnan told us. "And he pulled up his phone and showed me that he really did dial 911."

The owner said the clerk called three times.

On the surveillance video, the first time an officer comes inside the store is an hour and a half after the assault began.

In addition to the slow response, Ousnan said when police took their time coming to get the footage, he decided to turn it over to FOX 5 on Monday in hopes of getting some attention and help.

According to the owner, one thing that could not be seen on the surveillance video was one of the suspects coming around to the side and trying to open the Plexiglass booth, which was locked.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier sent us a statement saying, "While this was not dispatched as a crime in progress, the preliminary information we have indicate it took MPD 18 minutes to respond once the call was dispatched. That delay is too long and is not acceptable. I have directed my staff to look into this matter."