- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2006


Fight over parking preceded shooting

D.C. police said an altercation over a parking space might have led to a fatal shooting in Northwest.

Sgt. Joe Gentile said officers were called to the 1200 block of U Street just before 3 a.m. yesterday for the report of gunshots.

Sgt. Gentile said a 33-year-old man died after being hit by a bullet in the chest. And a 21-year-old woman was shot in the leg. She has been treated and released from the hospital.

Sgt. Gentile said police think the shots were fired from a vehicle that included at least four men involved in the argument.

Sgt. Gentile said it appears the victims weren’t involved in the altercation.

Faulty wiring blamed in Iraqi Embassy fire

Fire investigators have determined faulty wiring to a space heater caused a small fire Saturday at the Iraqi Embassy.

The fire briefly sent smoke billowing out of the three-story brick chancery, located off Dupont Circle.

Fire officials said there is no indication that the fire was suspicious. Damage is estimated at $15,000.


More residents turn to food bank

More residents in the D.C. area are struggling with hunger.

A spokeswoman for the Capital Area Food Bank said the organization served more than 383,000 people last year — a 39 percent increase over 2001.

Kasandra Gunter Robinson said that of those people, nearly half had jobs.

Miss Robinson said skyrocketing rents and real estate prices in the region have drained family budgets and increased hunger.



Officer fires at man driving recklessly

Baltimore County police said an officer fired at least one shot yesterday at a man who was trying to run the officer down with a sport utility vehicle.

The SUV driver suffered minor injuries — it’s not clear whether he was shot or injured by debris — and was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview.

It happened at about 3:40 p.m. on Four Georges Court in Dundalk.

Charges are pending against the SUV driver.


Shooting marks third 2006 slaying

A fatal shooting in Annapolis Saturday was the third homicide in the state capital this year.

Last year, there were five.

Benjamin Phillip Evans, 25, of the 1300 block of Van Buren Street was shot at 1:24 a.m. in the Robinwood public housing complex.

He was taken by helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center suffering from a single gunshot wound to the upper body. Police said Mr. Evans died at 6 a.m.

No suspects were arrested, and police said they don’t know of a motive.


Police identify man killed in plane crash

A man killed when a small plane crashed during a snow squall Wednesday morning has been identified as Juan Jose Alfonso, 40, of Bealeton, Va.

A relative and a funeral director confirmed Mr. Alfonso’s identity Saturday night.

Mr. Alfonso, a native of Argentina, was a pilot and flight instructor. His cousin, Leo Resquin, said Mr. Alfonso worked for the plane’s registered owner, the Tracey Corp. of Midland, Va.

Mr. Resquin said authorities were unable to locate Mr. Alfonso’s next of kin the day of the crash because his wife and two children had returned to Argentina.

He said he thinks his uncle was assisting the pilot.

Also killed was pilot Edward Julian Seuter, 40, of Marshall, Va. A female passenger, Laura Kelly of Woodbridge, Va., was injured.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the single-engine Cessna 172 took off Wednesday morning from Warrenton-Fauquier Airport in Midland, Va.

It was heading for Atlantic City, N.J., but was making a stop at Freeway Airport in Bowie to pick up a man who was waiting in the airport office when the crash occurred.

NTSB investigators said the crew was advised by staffers at Freeway not to land there because of low clouds, poor visibility and heavy snow.

Weekend accidents claim 5 in Maryland

Five persons died on Maryland roads this weekend.

In Bowie early Saturday, a man and a woman were killed when their sport utility vehicle slammed into the back of a parked tractor-trailer. The truck was parked along the ramp leading from westbound Route 50 to Route 3.

State police said the accident occurred shortly before 6 a.m. Wilbur Burnette, 60, and his wife, Virginia Burnette, 71, both of Bowie, were killed.

Also Saturday, Thomas Wellham, 20, of West Friendship, was killed in a single-vehicle crash on Route 144 in Mount Airy. That accident happened shortly before 7 a.m.

On Friday night, two Pasadena teenagers were killed when a car struck a utility pole on Mountain Road.


‘Bloods’ member charged in shooting

A suspected member of the “Bloods” gang has been charged with attempted murder in a shooting two weeks ago in Edgewood, authorities said.

Authorities said Jonathan Knight, 21, was arrested early Saturday morning and charged with multiple counts of attempted murder, assault and armed robbery.

Harford County Sheriff’s Office investigators said Mr. Knight and another person approached two persons walking on Candlewood Court on the evening of Feb. 11 and shot at the intended victims when they ran.

Neither of the victims was shot, but a stray bullet hit Daniel Perkins, who was inside his town house at the time, in the arm.


Churches donating to political campaigns

Campaign finance reports show that more than 100 churches in Maryland have gone against federal tax law by making campaign contributions to political candidates in recent years.

The Baltimore Sun yesterday reported that some have given repeatedly, such as the Southern Baptist Church in East Baltimore.

It made a dozen campaign donations from 2000 to 2004 that add up to more than $3,000.

The review found that at least 115 churches statewide have given to about 40 candidates since 2000.

The donations are generally small and sporadic, but they go against Internal Revenue Service regulations that prohibit churches from advocating specific political candidates.

The IRS says churches that give to candidates can face revocation of their tax-exempt status or a 10 percent excise tax on the contributions.



Discarded cigarette ignites town houses

A cigarette discarded in a flower pot sparked a fire yesterday that badly damaged four town houses, Fairfax County fire investigators said.

Authorities were called to 2238 Cedar Cove Court just after 5 a.m. for the three-alarm blaze, said Capt. Chris Schaff, a fire department spokesman.

Firefighters found flames and smoke pouring out of the back of the town houses, and it took them more than 90 minutes to get the blaze under control, Capt. Schaff said.

The discarded cigarette apparently ignited a wooden deck beam next to the flower pot, quickly fueling the blaze, investigators said.

Damage is estimated at more than $2 million.

“The back of the town houses are all missing,” Capt. Schaff said, adding that the homes’ roofs also were badly damaged.

An elderly woman was evaluated at a hospital, and 13 persons were displaced by the blaze, Capt. Schaff said.


Second teen dies after joyriding crash

A second teen has died from a joyriding accident, police said yesterday.

Henrico County police said Robert Sneed, 15, died yesterday morning.

Heather Moorefield, 14, died after the car crash early Saturday.

The two were in a Honda Accord being driven by another teen with no driver’s license when it was broadsided by a Ford Explorer.

The 15-year-old male driver and another 14-year-old female passenger remain in the hospital.


City holds hearing on occupancy limits

The City Council will hold a public hearing tonight on whether to repeal a measure limiting the number of persons allowed to live in a residence.

Critics say the rule primarily targets Hispanic families.

The measure was adopted in December and changes the definition of family in the city’s zoning code so that only immediate relatives can live in single-family homes.

The change has brought Manassas widespread attention, including praise from several anti-immigration groups and the threat of legal action by civil-liberties groups.

Manassas officials have already suspended the measure, but the repeal isn’t effective until after a planning commission review, a public hearing and a final council vote.


Police cite decline in state meth labs

Authorities said they are seeing a decline in methamphetamine laboratories in southwestern Virginia.

State police raided six suspected labs in the region between October and January. That’s compared with 28 the same time the previous year.

Washington County led the state in suspected meth lab seizures in 2004 with 26, but had only six last year.

Authorities said much of the credit for the decline is due to the governor’s executive order in October that put ephedrine and pseudoephedrine behind the counter in drugstores.

The decongestants are used in making meth.

While the number of labs in the region is down, trade of the drug itself continues to climb.

“I’d like to think we’re making a lot of progress,” said April Morgan, a Marion police investigator and a member of the Smyth County Drug Task Force, “but I think there’s more of a problem with it now than ever.”


Professors question cruise program

Some faculty members at the University of Virginia are questioning the academic integrity of a program that allows students to study aboard a cruise ship.

The university announced in December that “Semester at Sea” would move its headquarters to the Charlottesville campus from the University of Pittsburgh, which decided to sever ties with the program after the cruise ship was damaged by a 50-foot wave in the Pacific Ocean.

Some U.Va. professors are concerned.

In a draft statement obtained by the Daily Progress, department chairmen in the College of Arts and Sciences said the decision “raises grave issues” about the quality of classes and accreditation.

University spokeswoman Carol Wood said the Semester at Sea curriculum would be a collaborative effort and would be as rigorous as U.Va. courses.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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