- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 24, 2002

BALTIMORE (AP) A Baltimore man died yesterday a week after being burned in a fire that killed his wife and five of her children, a blaze police said was set in retaliation for the family calling 911 to report drug dealing.
Carnell Dawson Sr., 43, was burned over 80 percent of his body in the fire Oct. 16. He jumped out of an upper-story window as the fire gutted the family's three-story corner row house in East Baltimore.
Mr. Dawson died yesterday afternoon at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, said Susan Davis, a hospital spokeswoman.
A funeral was scheduled for today for Angela Dawson, 36, and the children LaWanda Ortiz, 14; Juan Ortiz, 12; Carnell Dawson Jr., 10, and twins Kevin and Keith Dawson, 9.
They will be buried in the "Fallen Heroes" section of Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium, Md., an area normally reserved for police officers and firefighters and their spouses.
Police said the man charged with setting the fire, Darrell Brooks, was retaliating for Mrs. Dawson's calls to police to clear her block of drug dealers.
The house was firebombed two weeks earlier, but the family escaped injury. Police said investigators questioned Brooks about the first fire, but he wasn't charged.
Prosecutors say that in the second fire, Brooks kicked in the door, poured gasoline on the floor and lit the blaze.
The family's deaths resulted in a call for the city to do more to protect people from violence. Hundreds rallied Sunday and Monday in front of the burned-out shell of the Dawsons' home.
On Friday, Stuart Simms, secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said a preliminary review found department procedures were not followed when Brooks was on probation.
Brooks was put on probation in April for his conviction on a car-theft charge, but he never made contact with the probation office and the office never attempted to contact him, even though an officer was assigned to the case, Mr. Simms said.


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