Ten police officers were pinned down under sniper fire early today while making a drug arrest in the 1100 block of E. Lombard St.
An armored personnel vehicle from Prince George's County Police Department was brought in to help rescue the officers, eight from the city Police Department and two from the city Housing Authority, during a standoff that lasted about five hours and ended about 6 a.m.
None of the officers was injured.
The vehicle, similar to ones used in the Persian Gulf War last year, was used "just to insure there was a safe evacuation of those officers," police spokesman Sam Ringgold said.
Police have not apprehended the snipers, who were firing from two high-rise apartment buildings in the 100 block of Albemarle St. and the 100 block of S. Exeter St., Mr. Ringgold said.
"There still isn't a clear conclusion that they were firing at the officers or just firing," he said.
The incident started after an off-duty police officer saw ......TC passenger in a car traveling in the neighborhood flash a gun, Mr. Ringgold said. The officer called for backup, and two people in the car were seen making a drug deal on Lombard Street about 1:30 a.m.
Police arrested the driver, Ruth Vanessa Walker, 26, of the 500 block of N. Chester St., and the passenger, Nolan Mears Jr., 19, of the 800 block of N. Central Ave.
After the suspects were in custody, two gunshots were fired from the Albemarle Street building and several other shots were fired from the Exeter Street building, he said.
"The officers obviously took cover . . . for about a half-hour until they were comfortable that there would be no more shots," Mr. Ringgold said.
Mr. Mears and Ms. Walker were exposed to the gunshots, but some officers managed to get them away from the scene, Mr. Ringgold said. They have been charged with traffic violations and assault; drug charges are pending.
After no more shots were fired, the officers -- along with the police department's Quick Response Team -- closed off the doors of the buildings, Mr. Ringgold said. The officers did not search the apartments for the snipers.
The six-wheeled, seven-ton armored vehicle arrived about 4 a.m. to transport the officers away from the buildings, the spokesman said.