- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Man fatally shot near police center

A man was fatally shot yesterday morning while doing landscaping work near the new Unified Communications Center in Southeast, officials said.

Jose Villatoro, 35, of the 3200 block of Mount Pleasant Street Northwest, was found dead at 11:11 a.m. in the 2600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue — just blocks from the new center for emergency responders that opened last month.

Mr. Villatoro had multiple gunshot wounds to his head and body. He was pronounced dead at Howard University Hospital.

Police arrested Lankward Harrington, 22, of the 200 block of 56th Street Northeast, and charged him with first-degree murder while armed and several other gun charges. He is scheduled to be arraigned today.

D.C. police were able to make a quick arrest with help from a high-tech audio-monitoring tool called ShotSpotter, which detected the gunshots and pinpointed their location, allowing the communications center to dispatch officers to the scene immediately.

Apartment blaze leaves three injured

A woman and two children suffered smoke inhalation yesterday in an early morning apartment fire in Southeast.

The fire in the three-story brick apartment in the 4200 block of Sixth Street began on the top floor of the building about 5 a.m., fire department spokesman Alan Etter said.

Firefighters rescued six persons from the building.

Mr. Etter said the cause and the extent of damage have not been determined, but residents of four apartments will be temporarily displaced by the fire.



MS-13 member sentenced to prison

A gang member was sentenced yesterday on racketeering and conspiracy charges, prosecutors said.

Juan Lopez, 20, of Riverdale, was sentenced yesterday to 87 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

He pleaded guilty in June.

Lopez was associated with several MS-13 cliques and participated in its illegal activities. Specifically, he had a weapon and was prepared to engage in assaults on rival gang members, prosecutors said.

On Sept. 24, 2004, he participated in an armed robbery in Montgomery County and received a prison sentence. He was released in February 2005.

In March 2005, another gang member shot a 15-year-old boy during a confrontation with a rival gang in Prince George’s County. Lopez later helped dispose of the evidence, including the gun and vehicle, police said. He was arrested in August 2005.


Man sentenced in hostage case

A man who took an employee hostage at a police station was sentenced yesterday to four years in prison for assaulting a police officer, false imprisonment and escape.

Rodney Bethea, 21, was arrested April 13 on a marijuana possession charge and taken to the Northeast District station. After he was interviewed by detectives, he attempted to hang himself in the interview room with a string, police said.

Bethea then took out a halogen light bulb from an overhead light. When Officer Paul Southard walked into the dark room, Bethea jumped off a table and hit him over the head with the bulb, causing numerous lacerations.

Bethea then ran into an office, locked the door behind him and armed himself with a pair of scissors and a letter opener, police said. He held a woman against her will, causing a standoff with police for more than two hours.

A SWAT team eventually forced the door open and used a stun gun to take Bethea into custody.

Bethea pleaded guilty to the three charges last month. Judge John R. Hargrove Jr. sentenced Bethea to four years on the false imprisonment charge, and two years each for assaulting a law-enforcement officer and escape, with the sentences running concurrently.


Vintage airplane returns to city

A vintage military plane was returned to the city where it was manufactured.

The C-82 Flying Boxcar was built at Hagerstown’s Fairchild plant during World War II and was purchased for $140,000 in August by the Hagerstown Aviation Museum.

The plane touched down Sunday at Hagerstown Regional Airport, where it was greeted by about 200 aviation enthusiasts and people who worked at Fairchild.

The C-82 was designed to haul troops and equipment.


Pit bull euthanized after horse attacks

A pit bull that mauled three horses last week has been euthanized, animal-control officials in Frederick County said.

Officials concluded the dog would be a risk to other animals any time it was not on a leash.

The horse most severely injured in the attack — a 5-month-old miniature horse foal — is recovering from wounds to its legs, head and abdomen.



Cat with rabies found near school

A cat found near a school tested positive for rabies after possibly biting two persons, Fairfax Animal Control officers said.

The cat was found in the 1200 block of Aldebaran Drive — near the Potomac School — about 8 a.m. on Thursday after someone called about a cat that appeared to be sick. The cat had an eye injury and had difficulty walking, officials said.

Animal-control officers took the cat to a local vet clinic, where it bit an employee.

A decision was made to euthanize the cat and send its remains to the Fairfax County Health Department to test it for rabies.

The Animal Services Division notified staff at the school and residents in the area. An employee of the school said that a second-grader might have been bitten by the same cat.


Vt. autopsy reveals death was homicide

The results of an autopsy performed on an Arlington woman who attended the University of Vermont were released yesterday — saying for the first time that her death was a homicide.

Michelle Gardner-Quinn, 21, was found dead Friday about 15 miles east of the Burlington campus, where she was a senior. Police would not release any other findings from the autopsy conducted Saturday.

A suspect in Miss Gardner-Quinn’s disappearance and death denied yesterday that he had anything to do with it.

Brian L. Rooney, 36, told police he walked up Main Street in Burlington on Oct. 7 with Miss Gardner-Quinn. But he said he parted company with her and never saw her again, and he denied having any knowledge about what happened to her. He has not been charged in her death.

Mr. Rooney is being held on charges of unrelated sex crimes.


Man charged in mall stabbing

A man has been charged with stabbing a 16-year-old inside Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax County Police said.

Kenneth John Dias III, 18, of Clinton, Md., was transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and charged with malicious wounding and gang participation.

The teen walked into the mall with a 21-year-old woman and a 14-year-old boy at about 6:30 p.m. on Friday when he bump-ed into Mr. Dias as he walked through the doors. Mr. Dias is accused of stabbing the teen in the midsection and knocking him to the ground, police said.

The injured teen and his two friends followed the suspect and chased him inside a department store. Police took Mr. Dias into custody without incident.

The victim was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital and treated for his injuries.


Man killed in truck crash

A Essex County man was killed in a tractor-trailer accident yesterday that closed part of Interstate 64 for most of the day, Virginia State Police said.

George Pollard, 61, died at the scene. Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said he was not wearing a seat belt.

The tractor-trailer overturned, and the sawdust it was carrying caught fire at about 6:30 a.m. on westbound I-64 in Goochland County.

The lanes were closed for 8 hours, state police said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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