- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 26, 2006

MARYLAND

LEONARDTOWN

Man fatally shot in standoff with cops

A man who authorities think was an Army reservist just called up to serve in Iraq was fatally shot by police yesterday after a standoff that began Christmas night.

James Emerick Dean, 28, was shot by a St. Mary’s County sheriff’s deputy when he pointed a gun at a tactical team that was about to use gas to try to force Mr. Dean out of his father’s house, Sheriff Tim Cameron said.

Mr. Dean’s family called police Monday night, saying he was armed and threatening to kill himself, the sheriff said. Mr. Dean later told police he would shoot anyone who entered the house.

Mr. Dean was despondent about several things, including recent orders for him to go to Iraq, his family told authorities. Mr. Dean had returned last year from an 18-month tour in Afghanistan. Sheriff Cameron did not know what reserve unit Mr. Dean served in.

No one else was in the house during the standoff. Mr. Dean took several shots at police as they surrounded the house throughout the night, including one that struck a car where a deputy sat, officials said. The officer was not injured.

About noon, while police were preparing to use gas, Mr. Dean came out the front door and pointed his weapon at police. At that point, a deputy fired one shot, killing Mr. Dean, Sheriff Cameron said.

HAGERSTOWN

Killer’s ashes ordered out of cemetery

President Bush last week signed into law a veterans’ bill that includes removing the cremated remains of a double murderer from Arlington National Cemetery.

One section of the law requires the secretary of the Army to remove from the cemetery the ashes of Russell Wayne Wagner, who was convicted of murdering an elderly Hagerstown, Md., couple, Daniel and Wilda Davis, in their home in 1994. The ashes must either go to Wagner’s next-of-kin, or the secretary must “arrange for an appropriate disposition of the remains.”

Wagner, a Vietnam veteran, died of a heroin overdose in prison last year. He was sentenced in 2002 to consecutive life terms for killing the Davises during a burglary. They were found bound and stabbed in their ransacked home.

Wagner’s sister, Karon Anderson, arranged for Wagner’s remains to be placed at Arlington National Cemetery. He qualified for the privilege because he had been honorably discharged from the Army in 1972.

In January, Mr. Bush signed a law barring any veteran convicted of a capital crime from having his or her remains placed at a national cemetery.

The $3.2 billion veterans’ health care and benefits package that includes the Wagner provision was among about 20 bills that Mr. Bush signed Friday.

FREDERICK

Five hurt in fire at senior apartments

Five persons were hurt in a fire yesterday afternoon at Taney Village Apartments, a publicly subsidized, senior citizen residence, an emergency services spokesman said.

One person suffering from smoke inhalation was taken to the hyperbaric chamber at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Frederick County fire department spokesman Michael Dmuchowski said.

Four others were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment, he said.

Mr. Dmuchowski said all 138 residents were evacuated from their homes in the six-story building after the fire broke out shortly after 3:30 p.m., but at least 49 were expected to return to an undamaged wing last night.

The property manager and the American Red Cross were working to find shelter for as many as 89 residents displaced by water, smoke and fire damage.

Mr. Dmuchowski said the fire was in an apartment on the fifth floor of the privately owned building near the junction of U.S. 15 and Motter Avenue.

The state fire marshal’s office was investigating the blaze. Mr. Dmuchowski said it appeared to have been an accident caused by smoking materials.

FALLSTON

Carbon monoxide sickens family of 4

Four members of a family had to spend Christmas Day in the hospital with signs of exposure to carbon monoxide.

Harford County firefighters responded Monday morning to the 2100 block of Albrook Court for a report of smoke in the basement. An apparent furnace malfunction was blamed for the smoke, and crews found elevated levels of carbon monoxide.

The four family members were taken to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

ANNAPOLIS

Bird’s nest ignites, causes condo fire

Residents of six condominiums were displaced Christmas night by a three-alarm blaze, fire officials said.

The fire was reported about 6:30 Monday at the Windgate Condominiums in the 2000 block of Warners Terrace South. Officials said a bird’s nest inside a fireplace flue ignited and caused the fire.

It took nearly an hour to bring the fire under control. Damage was estimated at $400,000.

A firefighter from the Naval Academy suffered back and neck injuries while fighting the fire.

VIRGINIA

SPRINGFIELD

One man stabbed at Springfield Mall

One person was stabbed yesterday afternoon inside Springfield Mall on a busy day for bargain shoppers and people returning Christmas gifts.

The stabbing occurred shortly after 4 p.m. during a dispute between two men, Fairfax County police said.

Police were called about 4 p.m. One man was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries, Officer Shelley Broderick said.

From witnesses, police found the other man, who was taken into custody near a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Police described his injuries as minor.

Police did not immediately identify the victim or the suspect. Mall security declined to comment, but the mall remained open.

“At this time, it does not appear to be gang-related. It appears to have been an altercation,” Fairfax County police spokeswoman Camille Neville said.

Two gang-related stabbings occurred at the mall late last year.

On Nov. 27, 2005, a 19-year-old Arlington man was repeatedly slashed about the upper body by four men in the mall food court.

On Oct. 15, 2005, a 15-year-old boy was standing at a mall entrance when about 10 men approached him and someone stabbed the teen in the upper body.

Engine fire delays Dulles-bound flight

Flames shot from an airliner’s engine yesterday as the plane, bound for Washington Dulles International Airport, was taxiing to a runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, officials said.

None of the 138 persons on the Airbus A320 was injured, airport spokesman Steve Belleme said.

The fire was put out by emergency workers, and the passengers stayed aboard while the aircraft returned to a gate, Mr. Belleme said. The incident shut down the airport’s main runway for about 20 minutes.

The plane, operated by United Airlines’ discount carrier Ted, was headed to the runway for an 8:29 a.m. flight to Dulles. Its passengers were being put on other flights.

The problem was caused by a compressor, United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said.

“It’s similar to when a car backfires,” Miss McCarthy said.

RICHMOND

State workers gave $3.5 million in 2006

State employees donated more than $3.5 million to 1,400 local, state and national charities in 2006 through the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign.

The giving represents a decline from last year, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita helped boost donations to more than $4 million through cash, check or payroll deductions. Of that sum, $502,000 went to a fund drive by the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

This year, more than 17,000 employees in 120 agencies gave.

The Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign has generated more than $30 million since its beginning in 1997 by Gov. George Allen, who is credited with opening up the range of charitable options available to state employees.

Until then, the state had worked with organizations such as United Way, which distributes funds to causes opposed to by some workers, such as birth control.

Now Virginia’s model is more like that of the federal government: Employees can direct contributions to virtually any tax-exempt organization.

This year, in addition to giving dollars, employees organized a drive that collected used mobile telephones for emergency use by residents of women’s shelters. In Richmond, James House received more than 150 cell phones.

“We are thrilled to have such a good supply of phones that can be programmed to automatically call for emergency help if any of our women in our shelter are threatened,” James House spokeswoman Susan Gill said.

Giving is expected to hit $3.7 million when the drive closes its books in February.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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