- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2006


Afghan boy arrives for heart surgery

A 7-year-old Afghan boy with a defective heart that stunts his growth has arrived in the United States for surgery, hospital officials said yesterday.

Omar Mohammed arrived Tuesday at Andrews Air Force Base and was taken to Children’s Hospital, where he is scheduled for surgery today.

Omar’s heart has a hole that prevents his blood from carrying as much oxygen as it should, harming his organs. The surgery will require doctors to stop his heart while they make repairs.

Over the past year, Omar has been hanging around the main U.S. base in Afghanistan.

He has been dubbed “Blue” by doctors and friends because his condition causes his skin to take on a blue tone.

“We are looking forward to a time when his physical condition doesn’t lend itself to such an endearing nickname,” said Dr. Gerard Martin, co-director of the Children’s National Heart Institute.

When treated surgically, children with Omar’s condition — tetralogy of fallot — have a survival rate of 98 percent, hospital officials said. Doctors say without the operation Omar likely would not see adulthood.

The boy’s condition was diagnosed about a year ago when doctors at an American military hospital in Khowst used an ultrasound. Since then, doctors have petitioned both the Afghan and U.S. governments to allow Omar to be treated in the United States.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, helped secure visas for Omar and his father to enter the country after their applications initially were denied.

The Larry King Cardiac Foundation — founded by the host of CNN’s “Larry King Live,” who had quintuple bypass heart surgery in 1987 — is to pay the medical costs, and the Afghan Embassy will help Omar and his father find a place to live while they are here.



Bald eagle euthanized after being shot

A bald eagle found last month with a gunshot wound and badly broken wing was euthanized the day after it was brought in, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services official said.

Officials continue to investigate the shooting. A $2,500 reward is available for information leading to a conviction.

The injured bald eagle was found in Dorchester County on April 26. Its wing was badly broken because of a fall after the shooting, the Wildlife Service said yesterday.

The 5-year-old eagle was picked up near Kerwin Neck Road in the area of Gootee’s Marina.


Alcohol-free club closes after shootings

A nightclub for underage patrons has closed after a spate of violence, including a shooting in the parking lot Monday.

Club 21 was a dance club that stayed open until early mornings, though it didn’t serve alcohol. Salisbury Police Capt. Mark Tyler said the club agreed to close this week after several fights and shootings.

Two Delaware men were shot in Club 21’s parking lot in April, and shots were fired in the parking lot as recently as Monday, the Salisbury Daily Times reported. Lamont Duggins, 25, was shot as he sat in a vehicle.

Capt. Tyler said the shooting stemmed from an argument inside the club.

Club 21 opened last fall in the former home of a jazz club.


Man gets probation for dumping dead geese

A Columbia man will spend 18 months on supervised probation for dumping 33 dead snow geese near a playground.

Edward Dillon, 21, was also fined $500 Tuesday and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. Under his plea, his record will be expunged if he completes his probation.

According to charging documents, Mr. Dillon told Howard County police that he received the geese from his boss, cut them up for meat and then disposed of the carcasses near the playground in Columbia’s King’s Contrivance section. He was arrested in March.


Lost couple arrested after talking to officer

A Virginia couple says they were arrested after they flagged down a police officer in South Baltimore to ask for directions, but a police report on the arrest conflicts with their version of events.

Joshua Kelley and Llara Brook of Chantilly got lost in the Cherry Hill neighborhood over the weekend while trying to find Interstate 95 after an Orioles game.

They said they asked Officer Natalie Preston for directions, but she told them to pull over because they had run a stop sign. Officer Preston’s report says Mr. Kelley became argumentative and tried to rip the citation from the book.

The report says Officer Preston told the couple to leave the area. But when they pulled over down the street as Miss Brook called family for directions, Officer Preston told them that she would arrest them for trespassing.

She then handcuffed Mr. Kelley and arrested Miss Brook when she refused to leave.

The couple spent eight hours in jail before they were released without charges.

Internal affairs is investigating the incident.


Deputy to stand trial in theft of handbags

A Cecil County sheriff’s deputy accused of stealing fake designer purses from an evidence storage room will stand trial next month.

Deputy 1st Class Felix Delcampo Cervantes III, 29, is charged with theft and misconduct in office. He is accused of taking four handbags from police evidence after recovering several handbags seized during a criminal investigation.

Deputy Cervantes has been suspended with pay since Dec. 28, the Cecil Whig reported.



City to fire 35 workers in food-stamp case

Richmond will fire 35 of 36 Department of Social Services workers accused of stealing food stamps intended for Hurricane Isabel victims.

The other employee will be allowed to return to work.

Investigators said the workers stole $13,000 worth of food stamps after the September 2003 storm.

The city is planning to refer several cases to the commonwealth’s attorney for potential prosecution.

The city did not release the names of the workers.

Chief Administrative Officer William Harrell said he will expand the investigation into the potential food-stamp fraud to all 4,300 city employees.

Because of a major power outage after the storm, people using the food-stamp system gave their financial information by the honor system.


One of 6 bank robbers gets life in prison

The leader of a gang that carried out six brazen bank robberies in the District and Prince George’s County two years ago was sentenced yesterday to life in prison.

Miquel Morrow, 29, was among six men convicted last summer after a lengthy trial that included testimony from more than 100 witnesses. He pleaded not guilty to racketeering, conspiracy and other federal crimes and is appealing his conviction.

Morrow asked for mercy at his sentencing, but U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said Morrow and the others “terrorized” the community during the robberies, which took place from January to June 2004.

An escape at a SunTrust Bank branch in Northwest was caught on camera by a television news crew, which happened to be outside. Video showed three masked men, one crouching by a minivan, followed by the other two seen running from the bank. All carried assault rifles.

More than $360,000 was stolen during the six robberies. No one was seriously hurt.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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