- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 3, 2007


Illegal guns found in Northwest home

A D.C. man arrested on simple assault charges during an immigration protest at Meridian Hill Park on Tuesday has been charged with carrying a dangerous weapon.

Tyler Joseph Froatz, 24, was arrested by U.S. Park Police after they said he grabbed one of the protesters. Investigators who searched Mr. Froatz, found weapons in his possession and in his vehicle.

Park Police along with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined D.C. police in a search of Mr. Froatz’s apartment Wednesday. The search of the apartment in Northwest turned up more than a dozen handguns and rifles. Swords, archery equipment and replica weapons were also recovered.

Mr. Froatz is scheduled for a detention hearing in D.C. Superior Court at 10 a.m. today.

Metro charges woman with filing false report

Metro Transit Police have charged a woman with filing a false report after she told authorities that a bus hit a stroller carrying a young child.

Cheryl Rousseau, 52, of the District, was arrested Wednesday.

The report she filed said the incident took place Feb. 24. Metro said a police investigation has determined that the incident did not occur.

Miss Rousseau made the report after four pedestrians were struck and killed in three Metrobus accidents in January and February.

At the time, she told police that the stroller was hit by the back of a Metrobus in Southwest as the bus turned a corner.

If convicted, Miss Rousseau faces up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $300.



Mercury spill prompts school evacuation

A mercury spill in the science lab at Sandy Spring Friends School prompted a partial evacuation of a building yesterday.

Montgomery County fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said the spill was reported about 9:30 a.m. at the Quaker school on Norwood Road.

Mr. Piringer said there were no reports of injuries and only a small amount of mercury was spilled. Several students and faculty members were evaluated to determine whether they were exposed to the liquid mineral.

Sandy Spring Friends School has nearly 550 students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.


Agency stops looking for lost data drive

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has given up looking for a lost computer storage device containing the names and Social Security numbers of 1,400 current and former employees.

Deputy secretary Eric Schwabb said the tiny device — called a thumb drive — was reported missing about a week ago. Mr. Schwabb said it was being used by an employee to take work home with him.

An investigation by Natural Resources police concluded Wednesday. Mr. Schwabb said there is no reason to think the drive is in the possession of an identity thief.

Mr. Schwabb said the agency is reviewing its security policy.

A union representing the workers, the State Law Enforcement Officers Labor Alliance, has asked the DNR to pay for several months of credit checks for them, union President Ed Eicher said.


O’Malley supports keeping tuition freeze

Gov. Martin O’Malley said yesterday that he would like to extend a tuition freeze on colleges in the University of Maryland System.

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, met with students at the University of Maryland. He followed through with a campaign promise to cap college tuition, which had been on the rise in recent years.

“By freezing college tuition, improving funding for the University of Maryland, and increasing community college spending by 18 percent, we are training tomorrow’s highly educated work force, today,” he said.

Before the tuition cap, the cost of going to college went up 40 percent in three years. The freeze was funded by $16.2 million in general funds.

If the state is to keep college tuition costs where they are next year, it will have to do so amid gloomy fiscal conditions. The state is facing a projected $1.5 billion structural shortfall.


Escaped inmate found in Tennessee motel

A man who escaped from Harford County sheriff’s deputies in January has been found in Tennessee.

Terrance Kassis Washington, 31, freed himself from leg irons, handcuffs and a “belly chain” while inside a vehicle that was taking him to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center Jan. 23. and fled when the vehicle stopped at the hospital.

Police in Goodlettsville, Tenn., arrested Washington at a motel last week on local motor vehicle theft charges. Police said Washington identified himself as Terrell Lamont Watson.

He pleaded guilty on all charges under a speedy felon agreement and was being held at the Metro Davidson County Detention Facility on $56,000 bail.

Washington’s true identity was discovered when fingerprint comparisons were received from the FBI on Tuesday.

Because so many law-enforcement agencies have active warrants on Washington, it was not clear when he will be returned to Maryland to face escape charges in Harford County.


20,000 more trout killed to stem disease

The state Department of Natural Resources destroyed 20,000 more hatchery trout yesterday in hopes of curbing the spread of whirling disease, an illness fatal to trout. So far, the agency has destroyed at least 156,000 this year

The brown and rainbow trout killed yesterday were from net pens below Jennings Randolph Dam in the North Branch of the Potomac River.

The DNR has known since 1995 that the Jennings Randolph Culture Station harbored the parasite that causes whirling disease, but decided in March to close the operation after the disease was found at two trout-raising stations in Garrett County.

The trout destroyed yesterday were taken to a rendering plant and converted to chicken feed. The rendering process kills the parasite, which deforms trout skeletons, causing them to swim in circles until they die.


Two girls held in suspected bomb plot

Baltimore County police took two girls into custody yesterday after Sudbrook Middle School was evacuated to investigate a bomb threat.

Police spokeswoman Sgt. Vickie Warehime, a police spokesman, said the girls, ages 13 and 14, brought household materials into school to make a destructive device two weeks ago.

The school was evacuated about noon after officers found a bottle with a liquid inside in one of the girl’s lockers. The bomb squad was called, but the liquid was just water.

Police did not find any bomb-making materials or hazardous materials in that school.

The two girls, both students at the school, had sent text messages about 10 days ago describing plans for violence surpassing what occurred at Virginia Tech, the Baltimore Sun reported.

One of the girls told investigators that she had tried to set off an explosive in the school two weeks ago, Baltimore County police said.

The two girls may face felony charges.


Doctor accused of patient assault

A Salisbury-area doctor is accused of having inappropriate contact with a patient.

Dr. Mahmaud Shirazi, 39, has been arrested on charges of third- and fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault.

Charging documents filed by the Wicomico County Bureau of Investigation say a woman filed the complaint last month about an appointment at Dr. Shirazi’s office on Winterplace Parkway in November.

Dr. Shirazi specializes in internal medicine. He was released Wednesday on $50,000 bail.

Dr. Shirazi has denied the charges.


New hearing set for young girl’s killer

A Baltimore woman said she wishes she never met the man who killed her 8-year-old daughter.

Milagro White testified Wednesday at the new sentencing hearing for Jamaal Abeokuto — the former boyfriend convicted of kidnapping and killing Miss White’s daughter, Marciana Ringo, in 2002.

Miss White testified about her guilt and her loss. Wednesday would have been her daughter’s 13th birthday.

Abeokuto’s original death sentence was overturned, requiring the new hearing. The jury will consider whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison.

The defense case was expected to begin yesterday and will focus on Abeokuto’s background and the mental illnesses his attorney says he has experienced.


Former student charged in 2 shootings, stabbing

Police have charged a former member of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore basketball team in the shooting of two students last week after naming him as a suspect in the stabbing of a student the same day.

Shaun Clarence Warrick, 23, of Philadelphia, has been a fugitive since Tuesday and is considered armed and dangerous, Princess Anne police Chief Russell Pecoraro said.

Mr. Warrick is charged in a warrant with the stabbing last Friday of Adeyemi Durity, 20, at Arden’s Run, an off-campus housing complex not far from the UMES campus, and with the shootings the same day of Johnny Jasper Britt III, 20, and Marcus Ormsby, 19, at the Talon Square North, another off-campus student apartment complex. All three students were treated for their injuries.

Mr. Warrick, an exercise science major, played for the UMES Hawks during the 2005-06 season, according to the university’s sports media guide.


$100,000 will keep Miss Maryland pageant

Local governments will pay more than $100,000 to keep the Miss Maryland Pageant in Hagerstown for the next five years, officials said yesterday.

The Miss Maryland Organization, part of the Miss America Organization, had threatened to move the pageant elsewhere unless the Hagerstown City Council and Washington County Commissioners agreed to help shoulder the increased cost of leasing the downtown Maryland Theatre, the pageant’s home for more than 25 years.

The City Council sealed the deal last week by approving a five-year contract obligating the city to pay at least $6,000 and the county at least $14,000 annually, starting with this year’s pageant June 24 to July 1. The public subsidies, covering two-thirds of this year’s $30,000 theater lease, will increase by $500 annually through 2011, city spokeswoman Karen Giffin said.

The city also will contribute $8,000 in in-kind services, said Tom Riford, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, who helped negotiate the deal. The Visitors Bureau, which is funded mainly by local hotel-motel taxes, will chip in $12,500 to rent an air-conditioned bus for pageant participants and subsidize their stay at a hotel, he said.

The county’s share also will come from lodging-tax revenue, Mr. Riford said.

Mr. Riford said the pageant was worth saving because it has a local economic impact of more than $125,000 a year and generates a significant amount of positive publicity.


UMd., Towson set up text alerts

In the aftermath of last month’s shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, two of Maryland’s largest public universities are starting text-messaging systems to alert students of campus emergencies.

The University of Maryland at College Park activated its system Monday and Towson University will do likewise today.

Security experts say students prefer the messages over e-mail because they can be easily read on their cell phones. A text-messaging system was adopted at the University of Maryland at Eastern Shore last year.

Three other state universities have text-message alert systems: Bowie State, Coppin State and the University System of Maryland at Shady Grove.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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