- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2006

DISTRICT

Man killed in pizza holdup

A man was killed after refusing to give up a pizza and some other food he had just purchased.

The slaying occurred about 1:30 p.m. in the 1300 block of Randolph Street Northwest.

Sgt. Joe Gentile, a city police spokesman, said a man approached the victim with a handgun and demanded the food. The victim called for help.

Several people who were standing by the victim began to chase the suspect. The victim and the suspect then got into an altercation, and the suspect fired one shot at the victim’s head.

Police are urging anyone with information about this crime to contact them at 202/727-9099.

Residents return home after blaze

Residents of a luxury apartment complex returned home after a fire was extinguished yesterday morning in Northwest.

D.C. fire department spokesman Alan Etter said the building in the 2400 block of Virginia Avenue had to be evacuated after the trash compactor caught fire at about 11 a.m.

Toaster oven eyed in fatal kitchen fire

A preliminary investigation suggests that food inside a toaster oven might have been the cause of a fire that killed a man Saturday night in Northwest.

D.C. fire department spokesman Alan Etter said firefighters were able to pull the man from the sixth floor of the Oaklawn Terrace apartments in the 3600 block of 16th Street.

The man, who has not been identified, was found unconscious shortly after 9 p.m. and taken to a local hospital, where he died.

No one else was injured, and no other apartments were damaged.

Shaw area victim once lived in the area

D.C. police think the 35-year-old man killed Friday night in front of the Shaw-Howard University Metro station used to live in the area and might have known his attackers.

Police have identified the man as Ricardo Norcome of Northeast and are seeking at least two suspects, one of whom had a handgun.

They said that Mr. Norcome grew up in the Shaw area and had a criminal record, and that the shooting was likely not arbitrary.

VIRGINIA

ALEXANDRIA

Students can apply to Jefferson High

Students in Alexandria are going to get their chance to go to a selective Fairfax County school.

The Alexandria school board has voted to allow students to apply to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

A pilot program will fund admission for two students in the 2007-08 school year, and it will be open to all students entering ninth grade that live in the city of Alexandria.

Students will apply directly to the school, and the top two applicants will be eligible for admission.

NEWPORT NEWS

Section of carrier being put in place

A large section of the George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier is being secured to a last-of-its-kind ship being built at Northrop Grumman Newport News.

Last week, a crane lifted the upper bow section into place. The section is a 780-ton mass of steel and internal components.

It is one of the 161 large ship pieces that make up the ship’s main structure. While the crane continues to hold the bow section in place, yard workers will attach it to the rest of the ship. The section completes the end-to-end span of the carrier’s flight deck. The carrier is now 1,092 feet in length.

If put on one end, it would rise as high as the Empire State Building.

The Bush carrier is set to be christened in October and delivered to the Navy in 2008. It’s the last of a group of 10 nuclear-powered carriers that began with the USS Nimitz project in the 1960s.

A new class of ship is set to replace the Nimitz group.

ROANOKE

Winemakers sell bottles close to home

Many of Virginia’s winemakers said although their product is high in quality and low in price, they don’t bother exporting their vintages overseas.

Most of Virginia’s wineries simply don’t churn out enough product to drum up interest among European exporters, despite the favorable currency exchange rates that value the euro strongly against the dollar.

Dennis Horton, owner of Horton Cellars in Gordonsville, said he had to turn down a request from a London importer last year to ship 10,000 cases per quarter.

Mr. Horton said that would sap the winery of most of its supply and he doesn’t want to hurt his domestic customers.

Virginia’s wines are high in quality because they are mostly aged in wooden barrels, which give the product more flavor than the steel vats used by many of the big wineries in California.

MARYLAND

PALMER PARK

Police seek suspects in double slayings

Prince George’s County police are looking for suspects in a double homicide Saturday night.

Police said they found Norman Walker, 21, and Andre Richardson, 21, in the 5800 block of Martin Luther King Avenue about 10:30 p.m.

The two were found in a parking lot suffering from gunshot wounds. They were both transported to local hospitals, where they died a short while later.

Investigators think the victims might have been in an altercation before they were shot.

Police said they have no clear description of the suspects.

ROCKVILLE

Brush fires keep firefighters busy

Small brush fires kept Montgomery County firefighters busy yesterday.

County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said they attended to more than 20 brush fires.

For several hours, firefighters were on the scene of a brush fire at Green Farm Park in Gaithersburg. Mr. Piringer said that fire started about 3:30 p.m. and burned about five to six acres.

A brush fire earlier yesterday threatened some town houses on Tanyard Hill Drive, also in Gaithersburg.

Mr. Piringer said the fires burned some wood fences but firefighters were able to put out the flames before reaching the homes.

Fire officials are warning people to be extra careful disposing and discarding of smoking materials because the winds can easily spread the flames.

A voluntary ban on open burning and outdoor fires has been put into place by the Montgomery County Fire Marshal.

GAMBER

Man accused of buying alcohol for minors

A Gamber man has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a child after he bought alcohol for a group of juveniles, shortly before two were killed in a car accident, the Maryland State Police said yesterday.

Cory Lee Slemaker, 22, bought alcohol for a group of juveniles in exchange for $10, authorities said.

Shortly after he bought it for them, five juveniles were involved in an accident in Finksburg, Md., on Sept. 5, authorities said.

Mr. Slemaker has been charged with 10 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison. He was served with a summons Saturday.

MANCHESTER

Fire burns cabin, four acres of land

A fire that began in a cabin quickly spread to surrounding woods, consuming nearly four acres early yesterday morning, according to the state fire marshal’s office.

Nearly 100 firefighters from Manchester and neighboring companies in Carroll and Baltimore counties battled the fire, bringing it under control in about two hours.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, the fire marshal’s office said.

The fire was one of a number of recent brush fires that have prompted many jurisdictions to consider bans on outdoor burning because of dry conditions, the fire marshal’s office said.

“Homes in rural wooded areas are particularly at risk when conditions are extremely dry,” said State Fire Marshal William Barnard.

Keeping brush, dried grass and leaves from accumulating near structures can help prevent fires, Marshal Barnard said.

BALTIMORE

Mayor wants probe of BGE bill increase

Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley is asking city attorneys to investigate whether Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. can include higher electric rates expected this summer in bills sent to customers enrolled in the utility’s bill-averaging program.

Mr. O’Malley said he has directed the city solicitor to take action to stop the charges.

The state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) announced earlier this month that electricity rates are expected to rise 72 percent in July for residential BGE customers as price caps are lifted as part of the deregulation of the state’s electricity market.

However, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and other lawmakers have since promised to work to lessen the increase.

BGE officials said last week that of the company’s 300,000 budget-billing customers — whose bills are based on an estimate of annual energy usage — about 50,000 are seeing some of the 72 percent rate increase factored into their monthly charges.

“The governor and the PSC have not responded to my calls to halt this rate increase, so more immediate action is warranted,” Mr. O’Malley said. “It is now clear that Governor Ehrlich and his Public Service Commission lack the independence and ability to effectively regulate our public utilities and protect Maryland consumers.”

Mr. O’Malley said the PSC’s freeze orders provide that the price freezes do not expire until July 1.

The PSC’s rate-stabilization plan also requires a consumer education plan be put in place before the new rates are implemented, the mayor said.

LA PLATA

Deputy fatally shoots man after struggle

A Charles County sheriff’s deputy fatally shot a drunken driving suspect Saturday after a struggle during an attempted arrest.

Deputies found Jonathon Lyles, 22, slumped over the wheel of his car, Capt. J.C. Montminy of the sheriff’s department told WRC-TV (Channel 4).

He had run over a curb and nearly hit an apartment building, Capt. Montimny said.

After Mr. Lyles failed field sobriety tests, the deputies were handcuffing Mr. Lyles when he pulled out a gun and fired at one of the deputies, missing him, Capt. Montminy said.

Deputy Clint Walter, a four-year veteran of the department, returned fire, hitting Mr. Lyles in the chest, Capt. Montminy said.

Deputy Walter and three other deputies who were at the scene were placed on routine leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the shooting.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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