- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2007


U.S. attorney probes shooting of boy, 14

The U.S. Attorney’s Office will investigate the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old at the hands of an off-duty D.C. police officer that has left family members and residents with many questions.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said yesterday that they invited the federal investigation to make sure all questions are answered and the appropriate action is taken.

Chief Lanier said Deonte Rawlins was shot Monday night when two officers went to find a minibike that had been taken from the garage of one of the officers’ homes.

Police said the officers saw Deonte on the stolen minibike and when they confronted him, police said the teen fired at the officers and ran down the street. One of the officers returned fire, shooting Deonte in the head. He died at Children’s Hospital.

But neither a gun nor the bike has been recovered, and the boy’s family is questioning the police account.

Deonte’s father insists that his son did not have a gun.

Deadly blaze started by furnace

Investigators said Sunday’s row house fire that killed a mother and son was sparked by heat from a furnace, which ignited several boxes of clothes placed nearby.

Fire department spokesman Alan Etter said the chilly weather caused the gas furnace to automatically begin running. He said the home did not have a smoke detector.

Ramsi Gilbert was able to make it out but went back inside when he realized that his mother, Letha Gilbert, was still inside. Neither survived the blaze.

The homes adjoining the burned-out row house were damaged, but Mr. Etter said firefighters kept the fire from spreading down the entire block.

Damage was estimated at $200,000.



All requests are in from Tech victims

Everyone eligible to receive payments and benefits from about $7.5 million in donations to aid victims of the mass killings at Virginia Tech has applied to do so.

Applications had to be postmarked Monday, and university spokesman Larry Hincker said yesterday that the last request for compensation arrived Tuesday. A total of 78 were received, he said.

Families of the 32 persons killed by student gunman Seung-hui Cho in April are eligible for $180,000 in cash or a combination of funds and endowed scholarships in the victims’ names. Mr. Hincker said the school did not have a breakdown yet on how much would be disbursed in cash and how much would go to scholarships.

The most severely injured are eligible to receive $90,000 plus free tuition at Tech. The less-severely injured are to receive $40,000 plus free tuition. Other victims, including some who were in the classroom building during the killings, will receive either $10,000 or free tuition.

The money comes from private donations made to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, which was set up immediately after the April 16 killings. It will accept donations through the end of the year.

About $1 million of the donations were designated for specific purposes such as scholarships, Mr. Hincker said.



Mother calls dog laws weak

The Wicomico County Council wants to add teeth to the county’s dog laws.

Bonnie Sybert of Willards told council member that she was outraged to learn after her 14-year-old son was mauled last month by two dogs that the dogs could return to her neighborhood.

Jarritt Sybert received more than 40 bite marks in the attack. His mother said the county should have the power to euthanize dogs without the consent of the owners.

The council also considered a proposal that would create a panel that would be authorized to hold informal public hearings to hear grievances from people whose dogs have been seized and impounded. The panel would have the authority to decide the fate of dangerous dogs.

A public hearing on the proposals is set for Oct. 16.


West Nile found in mosquitoes

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been found for one of the first times this year in Maryland.

State officials said the mosquitoes were found in the Cottage City area about two weeks ago. They also said the U.S. Department of Defense had found infected mosquitoes in Montgomery County recently.


Police say man made false reports

Anne Arundel County police arrested a 19-year-old Severna Park man in connection with a series of unfounded calls to 911.

Investigators said the calls on Sept. 5, 8 and 10 came from the same cell phone. In the first instance, the caller reported a shooting; the second call was about a hostage situation; and the third was a report of a bomb threat.

Police said they wasted time and money investigating the false reports.

Christopher Scheibe was arrested last week after police checked telephone records.


Juror’s unease leads to mistrial

A Baltimore judge declared a mistrial yesterday in the trial of two men charged with attempted murder and witness intimidation.

Prosecutors said a juror in the trial of Victor Shuron, 30, and Yosef Winston-Bey, 27, was alarmed by an encounter at a bus stop after court Tuesday.

In a note discussed in court, the juror said two men who had been in the courtroom during the trial pointed her out at the bus stop, and it scared her.

The juror told the court that “she doesn’t want to vote on the charges.”

Judge Robert Kershaw declared a mistrial and set a new trial date of Dec. 13.

Court documents say Mr. Shuron got out of a car driven by Mr. Winston-Bey and shot a witness in a Baltimore County felony case as he sat in a car parked in the Waverly Shopping Center.


AWOL soldier shot by police

Military officials said a man shot by Aberdeen police is a soldier who had been away from Aberdeen Proving Ground without permission since last month.

Pvt. Evan Parker, 22, of Pittsford, N.Y., had been absent without leave since late last month, Army officials said.

Aberdeen police said officers called to a disturbance at a motel Sunday night encountered Pvt. Parker. When they learned his military status, they took him to the base.

When officers returned to the motel about 11 a.m. Monday for a suspicious-person call, Pvt. Parker had returned.

Police said he displayed a gun and waved it threateningly when the officer ordered him to drop the weapon. The officer fired several shots, hitting Pvt. Parker.

Police said Pvt. Parker was carrying a gun that shoots rubber projectiles.

Pvt. Parker was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was in guarded condition Tuesday night.


Historic bridge to be restored

The town of Williamsport is teaming with the National Park Service to restore a C&O Canal railroad bridge.

The bridge was erected in 1923 to move coal along the Western Maryland Railroad. The bridge used a motor and a weight system to allow it to be raised for passing canal boats. It is now owned by the Park Service, and local officials think restoring it could boost local tourism.

Architects have begun making drawings, taking measurements and collecting archive information about the 79-foot-long bridge. A preliminary design and a cost estimate are the next steps.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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