Two women were pistol-whipped in a home invasion robbery attempt on 19th Street, and two "persons of interest" have been identified, police said Friday.
Two black men armed with pistols forced their way onto an apartment on the 500 block of 19th Street just before 10 p.m. Thursday, demanded money and struck the women, ages 26 and 22, with the butt of their handguns, sending one to the hospital, Altoona Lt. Jeffrey Pratt said.
The 26-year-old woman's 9-year-old son was sleeping when the men entered and awoke to find one of them striking his mother with a handgun, Pratt said. The woman suffered a broken nose and three cuts to her head and face, but the 22-year-old was not injured, police said.
"One actor may have a bite mark on his hand from the [26-year-old] victim," Pratt said.
The woman bit one of the robbers after he dropped his gun and was trying to pick it up off the floor, Pratt noted.
A witness walking his dog in the neighborhood saw the men running from the home and described one of the men as being noticeably thin. The women described the men, who wore masks and had hooded sweat shirts on their heads, as having dark complexions and standing between 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall.
One man used a black handgun while the other brandished a silver-colored gun, Pratt said. The women told police by the language the men used and the way they spoke that they could be from another, larger urban area.
Two men matching the description given by witnesses were stopped by police in the vicinity of the crime after officers responded, Pratt said.
One of the two men had no identification and the other was from Brooklyn, N.Y., and said they were on their way to State College to enroll at Penn State, Pratt said. They are considered "persons of interest," and the case has been assigned to city detectives.
Pratt said home invasions in Altoona are often drug-related and it's possible the two men got the wrong house when they tried to rob the women. When they demanded money, the 26-year-old told them, "I keep my money in the bank," Pratt said.
Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.