- The Washington Times - Monday, March 6, 2006


Officer firesat car jacking suspects

Two teens were charged with armed carjacking yesterday after they apparently held up an off-duty police officer and stole his car, authorities said.

D.C. police Sgt. Joe Gentile said the Prince George’s County officer was approached by four persons as he left a convenience store about 1:20 a.m. in the 3300 block of Benning Road Northeast.

One of the teens, armed with a handgun, demanded his keys and money, he said.

Sgt. Gentile said the teens got into the officer’s Dodge Durango and drove toward him, and the officer fired his gun at the vehicle.

Minutes later, police were called to the 4500 block of Quarles Street Northeast for reports of a shooting victim.

Investigators found the Durango and another car that had been reported stolen from Prince George’s County.

A 15-year-old boy had been shot and was taken to a hospital in stable condition.

An 18-year-old man also had a minor gunshot wound. Both were charged with carjacking.

The Prince George’s County officer was not injured.



Apartment fire kills woman

One woman was killed in an early morning apartment fire in Landover Hills yesterday.

Prince George’s County fire department spokesman Mark Brady said the woman was in a second-floor apartment in the 4400 block of 68th Place.

Firefighters were called to the scene just after 6:30 a.m.

Mr. Brady said the woman appears to be in her late 20s. Her name was not released.

The fire extended to the top floor of the three-story building. Residents of three apartments were forced out of their homes because of the blaze.


Ashes ignite house fire

Ashes from a fireplace that weren’t stored properly ignited a house fire in Potomac that caused more than $800,000 in damage.

Montgomery County Fire Department spokesman Pete Piringer said the blaze started about 2:45 p.m. yesterday in the 10500 block of Unity Lane.

Mr. Piringer said the fire started in the garage, where some ashes were being stored in a container that was not fireproof. A family of two has been displaced.


Skeleton found in woods along road

Investigators were trying to determine the identity of a nearly complete human skeleton that was discovered in a wooded area in rural Dorchester County over the weekend, state police said.

The bones did not appear to have been buried and were lying among leaves not far from the side of Palmers Mill Road, about a mile north of Rhodesdale.

Police said an employee of the Department of Natural Resources State Forest and Park Service discovered a skull Friday afternoon while he was checking tree growth in the woods.

The man called police, and state police forensic evidence technicians located the skeleton Saturday. The race, age and sex of the remains were not evident.

The bones were taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Baltimore, where an autopsy, forensic tests and identification procedures were performed yesterday.



Heat system repaired at Dulles Airport

Heat has been restored at Washington Dulles International Airport.

The system that heats the main terminal had been out of service since Tuesday when a joint in a hot-water line broke. Airport officials said the system was repaired yesterday.

Mild weather and a temporary heating system have kept terminal temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees in the past several days.

Other airport concourses were not affected.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said the heating problems did not affect airline travel.


Federal officials kill hundreds of vultures

More than 500 vultures near the Dutch Gap boat landing have been killed by federal officials in the past two months.

The big birds have damaged and defecated on equipment at a Dominion Virginia Power plant, and they have scratched and damaged vehicles parked next door at the boat landing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife services program said killing the birds was a last resort. Program officials said they tried every nonlethal method such as scaring the birds with noisemakers.

All the birds killed since mid-December were black vultures and were lured into a wire trap and shot in the head with pellet guns.

Federal authorities said that is a humane means of death.

Dominion Virginia Power said it paid the USDA program $5,700 to kill the birds, which had caused more than $10,000 in damage in the past year.

Those opposed to the killings said there are more effective ways to chase away the birds.


Carrier, escorts return to base this week

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its escort ships will return to Norfolk this week after a six-month deployment to the Middle East.

The returns will bring more than 7,500 sailors to Naval Station Norfolk.

The Roosevelt deployed Sept. 1 — its third deployment since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The return is scheduled to begin with the smaller ships in the battle group, with the guided missile destroyers USS Oscar Austin and USS Donald Cook scheduled to arrive in Norfolk on Thursday.

The guided missile cruiser USS San Jacinto and the supply ship USNS Kanawha are to arrive the next day.

The Airborne Early Warning and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron will fly to Norfolk’s Chambers Field Friday.

Most of the Roosevelt’s air wing is slated to fly into the Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach the same day.

Two of the Roosevelt’s squadrons are made up of F-14 Tomcats — and their return will mark the end of their service. They are being replaced by F-A-18 Super Hornets.

The Roosevelt itself is scheduled to arrive in Norfolk Saturday.


Buyers seek smaller peanuts

Smaller peanuts are preferred.

That is the news that has shaken some Virginia peanut growers, who have long viewed the large peanuts for which they have become known as a reason for ample state pride.

The request for smaller peanuts comes from consumers.

Dee Dee Darden, who grows peanuts with her husband in Isle of Wight, said the request for smaller goobers was gut-wrenching, but that her farm will have to comply.

Mrs. Darden said the change is emotional because pride in Virginia peanuts is strong.

But she also said farming is a matter of survival and so economics will win out.

Federal changes to the peanut industry in 2002 allowed farmers in other states to grow peanuts at a lower cost than in Virginia, where the climate is less than ideal.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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