- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 20, 2007

DISTRICT

Officer accused of soliciting minor

A Metropolitan Police Department officer was arrested yesterday on federal charges in connection with an exchange of text messages to entice a minor.

The arrest of Officer Kenneth Longerbeam, 39, of Gwynn Oak, Md., follows a joint investigation by D.C. police and the FBI.

Officer Longerbeam, an 11-year member of the department, is on administrative leave with pay until the case is resolved.

Panda undergoes eye surgery

The National Zoo’s 10-year-old male giant panda, Tian Tian, is recovering from surgery to treat an inflamed eye.

Veterinarians are using eye drops and ointment to treat his third eyelid, which usually covers the eye when the outer lids are closed. They say Tian Tian is responding well and should make a full recovery.

Zoo workers noticed the inflammation late last week, but initial treatment didn’t work. They called in a veterinary ophthalmologist from Northern Virginia to perform the surgery Sunday, with Tian Tian under anesthesia.

Tian Tian is one of three pandas at the zoo. Mei Xiang is an adult female, and Tai Shan is their 2-year-old cub.

Mechanical fire forces hotel evacuation

Smoke from a mechanical fire forced the evacuation of dozens of guests last night from the Red Roof Inn in the 500 block of H Street Northwest.

A D.C. fire department spokesman said guests and others were safely evacuated after equipment on the fifth floor began smoking. Metro buses were used to keep guests warm while firefighters worked to ventilate the smoke from the 10-story hotel.

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE

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