baltimoresun.com

November 12, 2011

Man suspected in Arundel mall shootings killed by police

From The Sun's Arthur Hirsch:

The man suspected of fatally shooting two people outside of Arundel Mills mall late Friday was shot and killed in an exchange of gunfire near Capital Heights this morning, Prince George's County police said.

Anne Arundel County Police spokesman Lt. Francis Tewey had said early Saturday that the victims in the mall shooting were a male and a female, but he had no further information about them. He said the incident was "probably not a random act of violence."

The shootings occurred shortly before midnight outside Dave & Buster's restuarant at the mall in Hanover. Few other details of the shootings have been released. Read the full story here.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 2:06 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Anne Arundel County, Breaking news, Crime elsewhere
        

November 8, 2011

Man who robbed Fells Point thrift shop, and beaten by customer, sentenced to 20 years in prison

In 2009, Michael Voorhis used a baseball bat to beat a man attacking his girlfriend as he held up the Fells Point store where she worked.

"I don't regret it at all," Voorhis told me today, after the suspect was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. His girlfriend, Brittany Byers, called the ordeal "absolutely terrifying" but still works at the store, Killer Trash, on Broadway.

Federal prosecutors said the suspect Mark Lomax, 41, was sentenced to prison on Tuesday. He was convicted by a federal jury in June at a trial during which both Byers and Voorhis testified. Lomax committed 14 other holdups in a month during the summer of 2009 at shops in Mount Vernon, Fells Point and downtown.

Lomax held up Killer Trash three times in eight days. On the final time, Voorhis, worried about his girlfriend, was waiting. When Lomax came in, he hit him over the head with a baseball bat, bragging later that he had gotten "three or four clean shots at his head."

The suspect got away, but dropped the $4 he managed to get from the register and his baseball cap. Both items had DNA that matched Lomax, prosecutors said. Police said he used a collapsible wooden yard-stick covered in tape and wrapped in a plastic bag to resemble a firearm.

Byers, who joined her boyfriend in going after Lomax, hitting him with a jewelry bag, said: 

“It was absolutely terrifying. It was intimidating to see him again in the courtroom. But there’s a part of you that says, you have to stick up for yourself. I couldn’t back down out of fear. This store is my livelihood. I’m not going to let somebody bully me out of my life.”
The picture of Voorhis was taken in 2009 by The Sun's Lloyd Fox.

City officer on drug stop dragged by vehicle, fires two rounds

A city police officer trying to make a drug stop in West Baltimore was dragged nearly two city blocks by a vehicle this morning, according to a department spokesman. Police said the officer fired two rounds from his gun, but does not believe he hit anyone.

The incident occurred about 9 a.m. at North Monroe Street and Penrose Avenue. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the officer, a member of the Violent Crime Impact Division, was investigating reports of drug activity and approached a gold or light colored Ford pickup truck.

The officer apparently reached into the vehicle and "the driver fled," Guglielmi said, "and dragged the officer to the 1800 block of West Lexington Street." He said the officer fired twice from his 9mm handgun and fell from the vehicle.

The officer is being treated at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Police are looking for the pickup truck but had few other descriptive details and no license plate number. It was occupied by a white male driver and white female passenger.

 


Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:19 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, West Baltimore
        

October 27, 2011

Police arrest suspect in killing of church caretaker

Police just announced an arrest in the killing last year of a church caretaker in East Baltimore. James Johnson, 18, was arrested Wednesday and charged with murder in the death of Milton Hill.

The 70-year-old victim tended the grounds at the Ark Church in the 1200 block of East North Ave. He was found on the morning of July 30 2010 slumped against a fence in a pool of blood behind his home next to the church.

His death came five days after Johns Hopkins researcher Stephen Pitcairn was fatally stabbed while walking home in Charles Village, a killing that motivated the city's political establishment and helped Gregg Bernstein upset Patricia C. Jessamy as state's attorney. Pitcairn's killer was just sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison.

City councilmen held vigils for Hill amid concern that Pitcarn's death was dominating the news. At a community cleanup a month after Hill's slaying, The Sun's Jessica Anderson reported that officials talked about a new playground.

Earlier, Jessica had talked with Hill's eldest daughter, Lennoria Hill-Joseph, who said her father had been active and took pride in his job. Police did not release a motive but authorities at the time said they believed Hill's scooter had been stolen.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:04 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, East Baltimore
        

October 26, 2011

Man found guilty in murder-for-hire; death penalty phase starts Thursday

This just in from The Sun's Arthur Hirsch:

A jury has found a Baltimore County man guilty of first-degree murder in the murder-for-hire slaying of a Towson gas station owner in March 2010.

The case will next go to the penalty phase, which is scheduled to begin Thursday morning. Walter P. Bishop Jr., 29, now faces the possibility of being sentenced to death. He could be the first person to receive the death penalty since a new law took effect that requires DNA or video evidence or a video taped confession in such cases.

Bishop was accused of shooting William "Ray" Porter in a Hess station on East Joppa Road on the morning of March 1, 2010. Five others have also been implicated in the crime, including Porter's wife, Karla, her sister, brother and nephew.

Watch video of police interview with Bishop.

October 13, 2011

Shooting in downtown parking garage near University of Maryland Medical Center

[Raw video of police press briefing embedded from YouTube page of James MacArthur, who was at the scene]

A man was shot multiple times in the back just before 6 p.m. on a lower level of an underground parking garage in the heart of the University of Maryland, Baltimore and Medical Center campus, The Sun's Steve Kilar is reporting.

The victim, who appears to be in his mid-40s, is in critical condition but stable at a local hospital, said Detective Kevin Brown, a police spokesman. After the shooting, the assailant fled, he said. No shooter description was available by 9:15 p.m.

Police union President Robert F. Cherry, attributing information to a source, said on the union's Twitter page that the victim was a hospital patient who was robbed and shot three times. Cherry claimed the victim had been previously stabbed in a home invasion and treated at Shock Trauma.

Later, apparently incredulous that the city had not released more information, Cherry tweeted: "A patient leaving the University of Maryland is robbed and shot and no news from the BPD or City? This should outrage every citizen!"

Officers were still conducting a forensic investigation of the scene about 7:15 p.m., Brown said, and surveillance footage will be reviewed.

The University Plaza Garage, which is owned by the university and has an entrance off Redwood Street between Greene and Paca streets, is six floors deep, according to Patricia Fanning, a spokeswoman for the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

 

Source from UMMS says shooting victim was a patient who just left clinic preparing for an operation tomorrow. Victim robbed & shot 3 times.
Oct 14 via Twitter for BlackBerry®FavoriteRetweetReply

Posted by Justin Fenton at 9:48 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Downtown
        

October 3, 2011

Person shot near Social Security Administration campus

UPDATED 2:14 p.m. Baltimore County police are now saying that the victim works at the Social Security Administration and was taking a stroll on his lunch break when the robbery attempt and shooting occurred.  That new information comes from Det. Cathy Batton, a spokeswoman for the department. Batton said the victim has non-life-threatening injuries.

UPDATED at 1:15 p.m. Police are now saying that the shooting was part of a robbery in the woods near the SSA, and not on the campus. Baltimore County police department spokeswoman Elise Armacost said the victim was shot on Walden Circle, but was able to walk to Parallel Road, where he collapsed. Parallel Road is near the entrance to the SSA campus, but Armacost said, "It has nothing to do with the Social Security Administration."

From Baltimore County Police: 

Baltimore County Police are on the scene of a shooting in the woods near Walden Circle. This is a street robbery and did not occur on the campus of the Social Security Administration. SSA was notified because the suspect has not yet been apprehended.

The call was dispatched at 11:43 a.m. The location was Woodlawn Drive and Parallel Road.

The victim, and adult male, has suffered non life-threatening injuries and will be transported to Sinai.

Earlier post: Baltimore County police have confirmed reports that there has been a shooting on the campus of in the woods near the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn.

Elise Armacost, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore County Police Department, said officials are still trying to determine precisely what happened, where it occurred and whether it had anything to do with Social Security. 

An email sent by Social Security officials to staff said the campus is on lock-down and that the gunman apparently has fled the area "and is some distance away."

We'll update the story as more details become available. 

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:00 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news
        

September 22, 2011

Shooting reported at Union Memorial Hospital

Baltimore police are responding to a shooting inside Union Memorial Hospital, on University Parkway in North Baltimore.

The victim is reported to be in critical condition. Police said they are investigating the possibility the man shot himself. More details as they become available. 

UPDATE: According to the hospital, the shooting happened just outside the emergency entrance around 11:30 a.m., and appears to be an attempted suicide.


Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:56 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Breaking news, North Baltimore
        

September 20, 2011

Former mayor's house burglarized

This just in from The Sun's Justin Fenton:

City police are investigating a burglary at the home of former Mayor Sheila Dixon, officials confirmed Tuesday.

The break-in occurred sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning, while Dixon was away from the home in 600 block of Winans Way, Dixon told police, according to a police report.

The intruder apparently entered through a kitchen window and "ransacked" the second floor bedrooms. Dixon told officers she was unsure of the extent of the theft, but said XBox and Wii game systems and jewelry were taken, the report shows.

Last year, the city took back a security system installed in Dixon's home during her tenure as mayor but which had been left there after she stepped down following her 2009 conviction for taking gift cards intended for the poor.
Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:42 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, Southwest Baltimore
        

September 7, 2011

Police investigate double shooting in Northwest Baltimore

This post has been updated.

Amid pounding rain, city police were investigating an afternoon shooting in Northwest Baltimore.

Details were scarce, but police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed that officers were called to the 3300 block of Belle Ave., in the Ashburton neighborhood, for a report of a double shooting. Officers found a man who had been shot in the shoulder and stomach; police later said a victim was located.

The unidentified victims were transported to an area hospital, and their conditions were not immediately known.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 2:33 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Northwest Baltimore
        

August 11, 2011

Man guilty in killing police informant in Westport

The Sun's Tricia Bishop reports breaking news from the federal courthouse:

After five hours of deliberation, a federal jury on Thursday convicted Antonio "Mack" Hall in the retaliation killing of an FBI informant, who told investigators that Hall liked to "bang the gun" and was connected to several drug-related murders in the city.

He was also found guilty of weapons violations and participating in a seven-year conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine in the tiny South Baltimore community of Westport, where both he and his victim lived. Hall, 30, shot Kareem Kelly Guest a half dozen times in September 2009 as the man pleaded for mercy.

This is the case in which the victim's written statement to the FBI, which helped put numerous South Baltimore drug dealers in federal prison, was leaked by a defense attorney and posted around the neighborhood.

Read full story here.

Read background story.

Here is a statement from the Maryland U.S.  Attorney's Office:

Continue reading "Man guilty in killing police informant in Westport" »

August 3, 2011

Woman, 91, stabbed to death in Northeast Baltimore home

Sun reporter Steve Kilar is in Northeast Baltimore with this breaking news:

An elderly woman was fatally stabbed in her home in the 4700 block of Moravia Road in Northeast Baltimore, police said Wednesday evening.

Irene Logan, 91, was found on the floor by her daughter, Irene Ushry, around 4:30 p.m. when she came home from work, said Logan's son-in-law, Frank Ushry, who owns the house.

"Every time I think about it, it hurts me," he said.

Frank Ushry said his wife told him that the house was ransacked but there did not appear to be signs of forced entry. Irene Logan had been home alone during the day, he said.

Frank Ushry said home had been broken into a year ago but no one was home at that time.

We'll update this story as more information becomes available. 

Posted by Justin Fenton at 8:17 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Northeast Baltimore
        

July 18, 2011

Police detain suspect in shooting of security guards in North Baltimore

Police tell me that they've arrested a suspect in the shooting of two security guards Thursday night in North Baltimore. Few details were immediately available but police say they should have an announcement soon.

The suspect is being questioned pending formal charges. Here is some background from a previous story:

Two uniformed, armed security guards who were patrolling a townhome development near Harwood Park were shot in the 2800 block of Mathews St. at about 8:30, said Detective Donny Moses, a city police spokesman.

A 32-year-old female was shot in the right eye and a 38-year-old male guard was shot at least once in the chest, he said. Both guards were taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital and were in serious condition Thursday night, he said.

Police do not know how many people were involved or what caused the shooting, Moses said. The male officer returned fire but it is not known if an assailant was struck, he said. The shooting happened on the property of the Oak Hill Townhome complex and the guards worked for Assured Protection, he said.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:49 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, North Baltimore
        

July 12, 2011

Police said child abductors made ransom demand; child safe, hungry and nervous

An 8-year-old boy who was abducted while walking with friends in Southwest Baltimore Monday night has been found safe in a vacant rowhouse just a few blocks from where he lived, a Baltimore police spokesman said.

Darrick Charles Brown was found unharmed in 300 Lyndhurst St. in West Baltimore, and he was being checked out by medics as a precaution, said the spokesman, Agent Donny Moses. Investigators have one suspect in custody and were interviewing him at police headquarters.

Moses said the suspect in custody is not the man who police named Tuesday morning. The spokesman said detectives are still “actively searching” for Raheem Taylor, 21, as a possible accomplice in the abduction.

The boy had been walking in the 300 block of Gwynn Ave. at about 6:30 p.m., when, witnesses told police, when he was taken by someone driving a green Ford Taurus Monday night, Baltimore police said.

"We live in different times," said City Councilwoman Helen Holton, whose district includes the area where the abduction took place. "When I grew up, when we went out to play, the door wasn't locked, and the neighbors were on watch. I'm just in shock."

Continue reading "Police said child abductors made ransom demand; child safe, hungry and nervous" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 9:46 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Breaking news
        

Abducted child found safe

The 8-year-old child who was abducted Monday evening from a Southwest Baltimore street has been found safe, city police confirmed moments ago. Police said he was found in the 300 block of Lyndhursts Ave. in West Baltimore.

Police said a suspect is in custody. Authorities are promising are details shortly.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:07 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news
        

Police name suspect in child abduction

Baltimore police have named a potential suspect in the abduction of 8-year-old Darrick Brown, who was taken from a Southwest Baltimore street Monday evening. Authorities said they are searching for Raheem Taylor, 21. The child remains missing.

No other details have been released, including whether the suspect knows the child. In a statement this morning, authorities said:, 

The above listed individual is wanted for questioning in reference to the Kidnapping / Abduction of 8 yr old Darrick Brown Jr (m/b dob 7/25/02) from 300 blk Gwynn Ave. Anyone coming in contact with Raheem Taylor is asked to hold same and notify Det. Bennett or Sgt Simmons of Homicide at 410-396-2100.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:47 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Southwest Baltimore
        

July 11, 2011

Majestic owners plead guilty

From courts reporter Tricia Bishop:

The owners of Majestic Auto Repair pleaded guilty today as part of deal cut with federal authorities investigating kickbacks to dozens of Baltimore City police officers accused of steering business to the Rosedale shop.

Brothers Hernan Alexis Moreno and Edwin Javier Mejia admitted to extortion and conspiracy in back to back hearings in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. They each face a maximum of 25 years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine at their sentencings, which are scheduled for Nov. 18. They are likely to receive terms between six to nine years, according to court statements. Both have agreed to cooperate with investigators in the case.

Four Baltimore police officers have already pleaded guilty in the case and are awaiting sentencing, while a fifth is expected to plead guilty later this week: Officer Eddie Arias is scheduled for arraignment Thursday on a criminal information charging him with one count of extortion.

A total of 17 city officers have been charged in the scandal and suspended from the police force without pay, and an additional 14 others were put on desk duty while the inquiry continues. Court documents have said that as many as 50 officers might be implicated in what has become one of the widest corruption probes of city police in recent years.

More details from Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office:

Continue reading "Majestic owners plead guilty" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:25 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Breaking news
        

July 6, 2011

Search for armed suspect shuts down I-295 in AA County

An update on the investigation that has shut down I-295, just sent out by Maryland State Police:

Maryland State Police and Anne Arundel County Police are searching for an armed suspect in the area of I-295 and Rt. 195 in Anne Arundel County.  I-295 is currently closed in both directions at Rt 195.

Calls to police began shortly before 11:30 a.m. today reporting a man armed with a long gun (shotgun or rifle) along the highway at that location.  It is not known if shots were fired.  It is believed the suspect may have used a hammer to break out windows of a vehicle parked near the location.  No one has been injured .

The suspect is described as a white male, between 50-60 yrs old, wearing a black and red flannel shirt and blue jeans.

State and county police have established a command post at 295/195.  A search is underway with K-9, helicopters and police officers on foot.    

Posted by Justin Fenton at 12:47 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Anne Arundel County, Breaking news
        

June 27, 2011

Weekend shootings in city

UPDATE: The violence from the weekend continued into Monday -- the body of a woman who was fatally stabbed was found early today near Patterson Park, and a man was shot in the head in North Baltimore.  

In case you missed it over the weekend, several people fell victim to gunfire in Baltimore this weekend, in addition to the 15-year-old who was accidentally shot by an 11-year-old boy.

Map city homicides here.

Here is a list of weekend shootings from Baltimore police:

 

Continue reading "Weekend shootings in city" »

June 21, 2011

City police officer hit by cruiser, thrown off highway

A Baltimore police officer was rushed to Maryland Shock Trauma Center this morning after she was struck by a car on Interstate 83, was thrown off the highway and slid 30 feet down an embankment, according to a city police spokesman.

The highway northbound has been shut down from Falls Road to Northern Parkway. Two lanes of southbound I-83 are open, police said. Baltimore Police warned drivers via Twitter to expect delays due to the crash.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the female officer was standing near a vehicle that was to be towed. He said the driver of a car lost control, hit her police cruiser, and the cruiser hit the officer. She suffered multiple leg fractures, among other injuries, Guglielmi said. He said she was conscious when she left in the ambulance.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III was at Shock Trauma this morning.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:11 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, North Baltimore
        

June 20, 2011

Police seek man robbing convenience stores

From Sun reporter Julie Baughman:

Baltimore police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man suspected of holding up several convenience stores in the city.

At least four robberies have occurred over the past two weeks in the north, northwest and northeast parts of Baltimore — all targeting 7-Eleven and Royal Farms stores.

According to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, the gunman is considered “armed and dangerous.” Guglielmi said that the man typically enters the store during off-peak hours and approaches the cash register under the guise of buying an item.

Once he reaches the register, he draws a semi-automatic gun from his waistband or pocket and then points it at customers and store clerks until he is able to empty the register of cash and checks, Guglielmi said.

Police described the man as a black male between 25 and 30 years old, standing between 5 feet 11 and 6 feet tall and weighing 160 to 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a tan or black baseball cap with a green or blue polo shirt, dark jeans, black tennis shoes, sunglasses and a watch on his left wrist.

Police would not disclose the exact locations of the targeted stores to avoid interfering with the police tactics during their investigation. Anyone with information is urged to call the police robbery unit at 410-366-6341.

June 16, 2011

Five people reportedly shot in Southwest Baltimore

Police and fire crews are racing to Denison Street, off Edmondson Avenue near Hilton Parkway, responding to calls that at least five people have been shot. The Sun's Justin Fenton is also headed that way an will report back.

Initial reports put at least one victim in critical condition. And word is coming out that there may be a sixth victim, found a block away, with wounds not considered serious. 

 

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:41 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Southwest Baltimore
        

June 10, 2011

Two shot in Baltimore Thursday night

One man was shot and killed and another man was critically wounded in separate shootings on opposite sides of Baltimore Thursday night, according to city police. (plot city homicides at The Sun's crime map)

The fatal shooting occurred about 11:15 p.m. in the 3000 block of Spaulding Ave., in Park Heights. Police said a 26-year-old man was confronted by at least one gunman on the street and was shot several times.

Authorities said the victim, whose name was not released pending notification of relatives, was taken to Sinai Hospital and pronounced dead at 11:57 p.m. Police said they know of no motive and have not made any arrests.

About an hour earlier, at 10:20 p.m., police said officers responding to a report of a shooting in Northeast Baltimore found a 49-year-old man sitting in a car and suffering from a gunshot wound to the right side of the face. Police said the car was parked in the 3300 block of Erdman Ave.

The victim was taken to an unidentified hospital and was listed in critical condition Friday morning.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:54 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Northeast Baltimore, Northwest Baltimore
        

June 9, 2011

Tshamba convicted of manslaughter

Breaking news from Tricia Bishop:

After a six-day trial, a judge on Thursday found Baltimore Police Officer Gahiji Tshamba guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death last year of Tyrone Brown, a Marine veteran haunted by war.

[Read Tshamba's first public account of the shooting]

The attorneys wrapped up their arguments shortly before noon, and Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Edward R.K. Hargadon recessed for two hours to make his decision.

“The defendant overreacted and in fact exacerbated this whole tragic” set of event, said Baltimore Circuit Judge Edward R.K. Hargadon. Picture of Tshamba leaving the courthouse on Wednesday is by The Sun's Barbara Haddock Taylor.

More than 21 witnesses appeared over six days, offering varied accounts of what happened — or was likely to have happened — the morning of June 5, 2010, when Tshamba, who was off duty, shot Tyrone Brown a dozen times in a Mount Vernon alley way, as bars were letting out.

“What happened in that alley dealt with male ego, alcohol, women and a gun,” Assistant State’s Attorney Kevin Wiggins said during his final arguments Thursday morning. “Anywhere you put that, that’s a bad combination.”

Brown, 32, had been drinking, and he groped one of Tshamba’s female companions that morning, sometime after 1 a.m. — that was one of the few uncontested facts in the case. But what happened afterward was harder to gauge, as testimony of one witness frequently contradicted the testimony of another.

Prosecutors said Tshamba was power mad and angry, using his weapon to intimidate — and eventually kill — Brown, a much bigger man. While the defense claimed Brown charged the officer, who had to react with lethal force to save his life and that of others’.

Defense attorneys entered a nine-page selection from the victim’s military records into evidence Thursday morning that showed Brown had a history of violence.

The judge’s decision came down to credibility and which witnesses he believed. “The court rejects the defendant’s version of events,” Hargadon said.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 3:17 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Breaking news, Gahiji Tshamba, Police shootings
        

May 25, 2011

Police update shootings in Northeast; 12-year-old victim not expected to recover

Baltimore police now say that four people were shot on Cliftview Avenue Tuesday night, upping the initial total from three. A 12-year-old boy is among the victims; police say he was shot in the chest and is not expected to survive.

The shootings occurred about 9:53 p.m. in the 1700 block of Cliftview, near Lake Clifton Park. The 12-year-old boy was found lying in the street. Two more victims were found inside a house on the block, ages 15 and 19.  The fourth victim, 18, was found in another house on nearby East 25th Street.

All were taken to area hospitals. No arrests have been made. Police gave these details on the victims;

12 year-old: Shot in the chest
15 year-old: Shot in the buttocks
18 year-old: Shot in the abdomen
19 year-old: Shot in the buttocks 

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:50 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Breaking news, Northeast Baltimore
        

May 23, 2011

Lutherville magician charged with child sex crime in Florida

A 47-year-old attorney and magician who runs a children’s entertainment company in Baltimore County was arrested Monday and charged with flying to Florida to have sex with a 14-year-old boy, who turned out to be an undercover detective, according to police.

Howard Scott Kalin, who lives in the 1700 block of Anne Ave. in Essex, was being held without bail by the Lake County, Fla. Sheriff’s Office. Police said he runs “Funhouse Entertainment,” which has an address on York Road in Lutherville.

Members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office cyber crime division said in a statement that Kalin contacted them in January through an Internet chat line, using the name “Ben Aldridge.” The detectives posed both as a 14-year-old boy and as the boy’s caregiver, the police statement said.

“Mr. Kalin also told undercover detectives that he would bring a basketball to the child and planned on having sex with the boy during his visit,” according to the police statement. On Monday, police said Kalin travelled to Florida and was arrested at a undisclosed meeting place.

Continue reading "Lutherville magician charged with child sex crime in Florida" »

May 21, 2011

Trooper killed in crash was father of six; might have been chasing motorcycle

From Tricia Bishop and Scott Calvert:

An on-duty Maryland State Trooper who might have been pursuing a speeding motorcycle was killed early Saturday in a crash on Interstate 95 in Howard County, according to police, who said the cruiser slammed into the back of a tractor trailer.

Police identified the trooper as Shaft S. Hunter, 39, an 11-year veteran and the father of six. The incident occurred about 2:40 a.m. on the highway shoulder south of Route 32. The trooper was pronounced dead on the scene.

A witness told police that a marked cruiser had been pursuing a fast-moving motorcycle shortly before Hunter’s car plowed into the truck. While Hunter had not radioed to his barrack that he was pursuing the motorcycle, the police statement said “that is not unusual when a trooper is in the initial moments of a traffic stop.”

Police said Hunter had been wearing his seatbelt.

The driver of the tractor trailer, Albert Sandino, 46 of Covina, Calif., told police he was headed from Aberdeen to Virginia with a load of household bleach when he pulled over to check for directions to his destination. Sandino was not injured.

The crash occurred near a rest area entrance ramp. Southbound lanes of I-95 at Route 32 were closed for several hours.

For more details:

Continue reading "Trooper killed in crash was father of six; might have been chasing motorcycle" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:54 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Breaking news, Howard County
        

May 19, 2011

19-year-old fatally shot in Brooklyn

[This post has been updated]

A 19-year-old South Baltimore high school student was fatally shot Thursday afternoon in Brooklyn, the second city homicide over a 12-hour period and fourth shooting since Wednesday night.

Marcus Nickens Jr., a senior at the Southside Academy in Cherry Hill who quarterbacked the football team, was shot multiple times just after 1 p.m. at 10th Street and Stoll Place, in the area of the Brooklyn Homes housing project, and died a short time later.

Police did not immediately confirm the victim’s name, but remembrances were being posted on social networking sites. The picture at right is from Nickens' Facebook page. A source said the school’s principal informed students over the intercom system.

City schools are in High School Assessment testing this week, and seniors have half-days. The school had planned to have an awards ceremony tomorrow morning, but instead will have an assembly with grief counselors on hand, the source said.

Details about the shooting were not immediately available.

Police also identified two recent victims:

 

Continue reading "19-year-old fatally shot in Brooklyn" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 5:34 PM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Breaking news, South Baltimore
        

May 16, 2011

Hate crime charges in McDonald's attack

The 18-year-old woman charged in an attack on a transgender woman at a Rosedale McDonald's that went viral last month will face an additional hate crime charge after being indicted Monday by a Baltimore County grand jury.

Teonna Brown, of the 2000 block of Kelbourne Rd., now faces one count of first-degree assault, three counts of second-degree assault, plus the newly-filed hate crime charge. She remains held without bond since her April 25 arrest. Brown's attorney, Timothy Knepp, declined to discuss the case in detail, but said "anything that happened, happened in self-defense."

"She's a well-mannered, thoughtful young lady, and I firmly believe that when this case comes to trial, she'll be found not guilty," Knepp said. He said hate crime charges "certainly do not apply in this case."

A hate crime charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, which could be added to 25 years in the assault charge. Chrissy Lee Polis has said she was attacked in an apparent dispute over her using a women’s restroom.

Prosecutors “came to the only possible conclusion in deciding to try the assault on Chrissy Lee Polis as a hate crime,” said Lynne Bowman, the interim executive director of Equality Maryland. “Lack of understanding or fear about someone who is transgender is never an excuse for violence and when it occurs, it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Sandy Rawls, who founded Trans-United, a Baltimore-based group that fights transgender discrimination, praised the work of police and prosecutors in the case but said the charge is not reason to celebrate.

“It’s a tragedy for everybody involved,” Rawls said. “It’s a tragedy for the community, it’s a tragedy for Chrissy and it’s a tragedy for those two young ladies” charged in the beating.

“They’re going to find out the wrong way” that you can’t attack those you don’t understand, Rawls said.

Continue reading "Hate crime charges in McDonald's attack" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:15 PM | | Comments (43)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news
        

May 4, 2011

Phylicia Barnes' death ruled homicide

The death of Phylicia Barnes, whose body was recovered from the Susquehanna River last month after she disappeared in December, has been ruled a homicide. Barnes, who was 16 when she disappeared, had been the focus of one of the largest missing persons investigations in the city in years.

Maryland State Police declined to release a cause of death, saying it would jeopardize their investigation. Here is their statement:

Continue reading "Phylicia Barnes' death ruled homicide" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 4:32 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news
        

April 29, 2011

Man who supplied drugs leading to death sentenced

A man who supplied drugs that federal authorities said led to a fatal overdose was senenced today to nine years in prison, according to the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office. Luis Reyes-Torres, 26, distributed morphine and methadone.

"Drug dealers should be on notice that they can be held accountable if anyone dies after taking the drugs that they distribute," Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement.

Reyes-Torres pleaded guilty to stealing drugs from the nursing home where he worked and giving them to a woman. That woman gave them to another man in exchange for marijuana. That man then sold the drugs for $60 to Brandon Sgaggero of Frederick.

On March 6, 2008, Sgaggero was found dead in his apartment. An autopsy found that he had overdoses on methadone and morphine. Two other intermediaries have pleaded guilty to selling drugs and are to be sentenced in June and July.

Prosecutors said this is the third case prosecuted in Maryland "in which the distribution of drugs resulted in a drug user dying from an overdose." A Boonsboro man was sentenced to 20 years in prison and an Olney woman was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2008.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 4:36 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Courts and the justice system, Crime elsewhere
        

April 25, 2011

Downtown shootings linked, city police say

Baltimore police announced Monday that detectives have linked last week’s fatal downtown shootings of a man sitting on a bench and another in his apartment and said that a single suspect has been arrested and charged in both cases.

Authorities said they believe robbery was the motive in both cases.

Isaac Tyrell Truss, 23, who lives in the 200 block of Park Avenue, just blocks from the slaying scenes, was arrested on Friday afternoon and charged with murder and robbery for the shooting of Edward Alfred Jones, 50.

Jones was shot about 3:30 Friday morning as he waited on a bench for a bus in the 200 block of W. Fayette Street. CityWatch cameras captured that shooting, and witnesses identified Truss as the person who attacked Jones, according to court documents.

Police said they then charged Jones in Thursday’s shooting of Keith Cooper, 47, a resident of a high-rise housing complex on West Conway Street near the Inner Harbor, according to charging documents.

Cooper and Truss were seen on security cameras entering the building together just before 1:30 a.m. Thursday, and Truss left by himself shortly after, according to charging documents. A ballistics comparison showed that the casings found in Cooper’s apartment matched the .38-caliber handgun used to shoot Jones. Cooper’s body was discovered about 9:20 a.m.

Police are also investigating several other shootings and stabbings:

Continue reading "Downtown shootings linked, city police say" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:29 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, Downtown
        

April 15, 2011

Three shot in West Baltimore

 

[Above, residents wait to return to their homes as police survey a nearby crime scene. Photo by me]

Three people were shot - one who suffered serious injuries - in West Baltimore's Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood Friday afternoon, police said.

At a crime scene that spanned several city blocks of mostly vacant homes, police said at least one gunman opened fire at about 3 p.m. on three males. An adult was struck in the stomach in the 900 block of N. Calhoun St., and a man and a 16-year-old were struck in the face and found in the 1200 block of W. Mosher St.

Police spokesman Det. Jeremy Silbert said the males shot in the face did not appear to have life-threatening injuries, though the man shot in the stomach was taken to a local hospital in serious condition. 

Detectives were interviewing possible witnesses, as groups of residents waited on the steps of vacant homes waiting for the crime scene tape to come down so they could return home. One woman could be overheard saying she saw one of the victims lying in the street and asking a fleeing friend, "How you gonna leave me here, homie?"

Posted by Justin Fenton at 4:51 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Breaking news, West Baltimore
        

April 14, 2011

Baltimore police seek recruiting help

Baltimore's mayor and police commissioner announced this morning the Hometown Heroes Project, an effort to recruit community members to find people who want to be police officers. It's a renewed attempt to attract more city residents to the 3,000-member force.

"It's a way for someone to give back to their community while making Baltimore a safer place," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told reporters at a news conference this morning. Residents who sign up will be trained in the recruiting process and procedures.

Last year, despite budget shortfalls exceeding $120 million, the mayor promised to hire up to 400 new police officers. The department had been losing officers to attrition at a faster pace than hiring.

Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said that he began his career as a cadet when he was 19 years old. He said part of the program is also to attract cadets who could become future police officers.

Bealefeld started as a cadet in May 1981 on the midnight shift -- he attended community college during the day -- on what was called the "hot desk." His job was handle warrants. He also compared fingerprints of newly arrested suspects to prints on file. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said he used a magnifying glass "It's now what could be considered CSI-like, minus the technology," the spokesman said.

At the news conference, Bealefeld said: "We need to fill 300 positions over the next several months," Bealefeld said. "I've worked my way through the ranks. None of that I think would have been possible without the grounding, experience and start I got here when I was 19 years old." He said that being an officer "is not about car chases. ... What you do every day is help people to be safe, and help people across the city make their lives better. You can't get that experience through a recruitment poster. You really have to live that. ... What we really need are people who are dedicated to service."

Anyone interested in the program is urged to call the Baltimore Police Department recruitment section at 410-396-2340 or visit the department's web site.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:02 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Breaking news, City Hall, Confronting crime, Top brass
        

Police arrest suspect in killing of nursing student

[UPDATE, 1 P.M.: Court records show Blackwell was stabbed 32 times, and Abdullah admitted to detectives that the stabbing occurred after an argument over him taking video games from her home escalated. Police tracked down a stolen XBox 360 system and games to a pawn shop, and located a Nintendo Wii from the Blackwell home inside Abdullah's residence, records show.]

Baltimore police have charged a 20-year-old acquaintance with last month’s stabbing death of a Coppin State University nursing student who was stabbed during an argument inside her home in North Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood.

Syron Abdullah, who turned 20 on Tuesday, was charged with first-degree murder and was awaiting a bail hearing in District Court. Police released few details this morning, but said in a statement that he had been arguing with the victim, Jhoma Blackwell, 18.

Police had confirmed on Wednesday that homicide detectives were detaining a “person of interest” in the March 29 killing. The president of the Remington Neighborhood Association had spoken with a homicide detective about the case.

Continue reading "Police arrest suspect in killing of nursing student" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:54 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, North Baltimore
        

April 13, 2011

Dundalk shooting leads to chase through Baltimore

[UPDATE: County police say three people - two male teens and a female - were shot in the incident in Turners Station]

Police say a shooting in Turners Station touched off a chase that led through Baltimore and ended when the suspect vehicle crashed into a city police officer's cruiser in Northwest Baltimroe.

Details about the shooting were not immediately clear, but at least two people were struck, according to reports. At about 8:30 p.m., I started getting Twitter messages from people who reported seeing a large number of police cars flying through Southeast Baltimore. It's fairly typical for me to get a message or two like that in a given night, but they kept coming in, and from all over the city - Fells Point, downtown, Northwest Baltimore.

Police say the chase ended in a collision at Northern Parkway and Reisterstown Road. A city police officer was injured and taken to Maryland Shock Trauma with non-life-threatening injuries. Amid that chase, authorities were also responding to the shooting of a female in the 4500 block of Westchester Road north of Leakin Park, and two fires in Northwest Baltimore. 

Man charged in robbery, killing in Brooklyn

City police say they have arrested and charged a 22-year-old man in the stabbing death of a 43-year-old in Brooklyn that occurred late Sunday.

Police say Eric Monroe Phillips, of the 5000 block of Brookwood Rd, approached the victim, Antonio Miranda, in the 3800 block of S. Hanover St. just before midnight and attempted to rob him. Phillips is accused of hitting Miranda with a blunt object, then stabbing him multiple times. Phillips is charged with murder and robbery, among other charges, and was being held without bail. 

It took police a few days to identify Miranda, who does not appear to have a criminal record, and police said the case was solved through "community intelligence."

Phillips has pending theft charges in Anne Arundel County from January, and in August 2009 pleaded guilty to fourth-degree burglary there, receiving 18 months in prison with all but six months suspended.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 4:55 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Breaking news, South Baltimore
        

"Person of interest" detained in slaying of 18-year-old Remington girl

City police confirm that they have detained a "person of interest" in the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Jhoma Blackwell, a Coppin State nursing student found dead inside her Remington home last month.

But Anthony Guglielmi, the department's chief spokesman, said no charges had been filed and that the case remains ongoing.

Word comes after Joan Floyd, president of the Remington Neighborhood Association, told The Sun she had spoken with a detective on the case who notified her of an arrest. Last night, Floyd told residents at the community association meeting that detectives told her they were closing in on a suspect, which a commander from the Northern District confirmed.

We'll post updates as they become available. 

The arrest in the stabbing death of Blackwell comes as residents in the Remington neighborhood mount an effort to try to spark tips in another stabbing death of a woman inside her home - the 2008 killing of 74-year-old Nancy Schmidt. 

Earlier today, we posted a YouTube video uploaded by a woman identifying herself as Blackwell's older sister, in which she addressed the killer: “You may be pondering if you are going to get away with this…You may be even trying to rationalize in your head that she deserved this for whatever reason and you may even elude the authorities, but let me tell you something, you can’t elude God.”

Posted by Justin Fenton at 4:32 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, North Baltimore
        

March 31, 2011

Arrests made in killing of College Park student from Bel Air

Prince George's County police have arrested two suspects in the Jan. 11 killing of a student at the University of Maryland, College Park. Justin Vance Desha-Overcash, 22, of Bel Air, was shot on 38th Avenue in the off-campus areas.

In a news release, police said the motive was robbery. But authorities have in the past said the killing was drug-related. The Washington Post is reporting police sources saying the victim was selling drugs and that detectives found scales and marijuana-laced lollipops in his home.

The victim's mother has denied her son was linked to drugs. Police identified the suspects as Stephan Weaver, 22, and Deandre Ricardo Williams, 23. Both have been charged with first-degree murder.

More details:

Continue reading "Arrests made in killing of College Park student from Bel Air" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:47 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, Crime elsewhere, Harford County
        

March 29, 2011

Baltimore County police and too slow news

I'm always reluctant to write Crime Scene columns like I did on Sunday, criticizing Baltimore County police for lagging days, even  weeks posting crime news to their website. It comes off as an angry reporter whining and demanding special treatment. That's certainly the sentiments on some of the comments from readers:

Please let the police do their job and stop whining. I am sure you would like them to announce the local theft at 7-11 too. It is impossible to announce every crime. They do get to decide what crimes should be public while an investigation is going on. ... Why don't you mind the scanner a little more and stop whining about what is spoon fed to you.

Obvious case of the baby not getting his bottle when he wants it. Don't try to make this out that the county police are endangering the lives of residents by not telling the paper about every crime as it happens.

One of the few notes of praise I got came from none other than a Baltimore County police officer who distributes a weekly crime report in the Towson area. It's just the sort of compilation of crime citizens need and want, and I wish it could be repeated throughout the county and in other jurisdictions:

Mr Hermann, read your article in Sunday's edition of the "Baltimore Sun" and I appreciate the favorable words you used on my behalf. Thank you, reading those words or hearing from community members who like receiving that weekly report reinforce in me the need to send out that report every week.
Thanks, Sgt Stephen Fink

So let me try and explain again:

Continue reading "Baltimore County police and too slow news" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:39 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news
        

March 26, 2011

Victim of Barclay Street stabbing identified

Homicide detectives have identified the man found stabbed to death in an East Baltimore alley on Friday as 46-year-old Reginald Leon Wragg, whose last known address was on the westside, police said today.

Wragg was found shortly before 7:30 a.m. on Friday in the 2100 block of Barclay St. Police said he had suffered multiple stab wounds and lacerations to his body and neck. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Police said Wragg last lived in the 1400 block of Mosher St. in West Baltimore. He has an extensive arrest record; he was convicted of second-degree assault last year and sentenced to a year in jail.

Wragg’s body was found just blocks from a vacant rowhouse where another man was found stabbed to death on Tuesday. Andre Drummond, 48, was found with stab wounds in the 500 block of east North Ave. Police have not said if there is a connection to Friday killing.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 3:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, East Baltimore
        

March 25, 2011

Police at standoff in Cherry Hill; school locked down


View Larger Map

UPDATE: Police say the standoff is over -- the 31-year-old female has been released and the 20-year-old man is in custody. According to family members of the woman who spoke with The Sun, she called and urged them to come get her. "I heard, 'Get down on the floor,' and the phone went dead," the woman's mother said. As police set up a crime scene several blocks away, her family sat in an SUV with the woman's children less than a block away from the hostage scene, watching officers set up around the house. Police say a semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the suspect, who has not been identified because he has not yet been charged.

Continue reading "Police at standoff in Cherry Hill; school locked down" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:34 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, South Baltimore
        

March 18, 2011

Convicted rapist pleads guilty to two murders, sentenced

A 44-year-old man convicted two months of raping one woman and trying to rape another was sentenced today to life in prison -- with all but 50 years suspended -- after pleading guilty to killing two other women in 2003.

“The defendant targeted defenseless, vulnerable young women facing challenges such as
mental issues, addiction, and poverty," State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein said in a statement. "He believed that these women were expendable and that we wouldn’t pursue their killer with vigor because of their backgrounds. He was wrong on both counts. Nobody in our city is invisible, second class, or beneath our concern."

The killer, William Vincent Brown, from Gwnn Oak, dumped the bodies, and a third victim he tried to kill, in Leakin Park. The closure of this case helps shed light on a series of attacks that occurred several years ago. The Sun's Tricia Bishop documented the case in January, and her report can be found here.

More details from a statement issued by Bernstein's office:

Continue reading "Convicted rapist pleads guilty to two murders, sentenced" »

Raids in Arundel yield guns, drugs

A series of police raids over the past several days in Anne Arundel County has led to the arrests of several suspects and the seizure of drugs and guns linked to a suspected heroin and marijuana trafficking ring.

Police hit homes in Pasadena, Severn and Annapolis and traced packages containing suspected drugs through a parcel delivery service. Five people were arrested on drug and gun charges in operations conducted Wednesday and Thursday.

Authorities said they traced drugs being sent through the mail to various locations. The total value of the marijuana seized is estimated at $215,000 and weighted about 20.5 pounds, police said. Guns taken by police include an Uzi machine gun, four handguns and assorted rifles and shotguns.

The photographs are from the Anne Arundel County Police Department. For more information about the raids, read the police statement below: 

Continue reading "Raids in Arundel yield guns, drugs" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:03 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Anne Arundel County, Breaking news
        

March 17, 2011

Man guilty in Guilford attacks; had received suspended sentence in earlier case

A man whose suspended sentence in an armed holdup in Guilford three years ago became emblematic of problems with the city’s criminal justice system pleaded guilty Thursday to two more violent attacks in the North Baltimore neighborhood and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

“You are a menace to the community,” Circuit Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill told 21-year-old John Couplin. “The only thing that I can do is isolate you from the community. … There’s a possibility you will rehabilitate. Maybe.”

Continue reading "Man guilty in Guilford attacks; had received suspended sentence in earlier case" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 3:12 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Courts and the justice system, North Baltimore
        

March 12, 2011

Female victim in Better Waverly triple shooting dies


View Larger Map

UPDATE: The victim has been identified as Tanise Ervin, 19. Still no word on a possible motive.

Baltimore police are saying a female victim who was wounded in a triple shooting this evening in Better Waverly has died from her injuries. Two male victims, ages 24 and 20, were in stable condition, police said.

Few details were immediately available, but police said three people were shot after coming out of a deli carryout at the intersection of Gorsuch Avenue and Independence Street, just south of the former Memorial Stadium site, at about 6 p.m. tonight. The shooting is right on the border of the Northern and Northeastern police districts. 

According to Facebook postings, Ervin appeared to have been staying at a nearby women's shelter. She did not have a criminal record.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:31 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, North Baltimore, Northeast Baltimore
        

March 7, 2011

Police commander suspended

The Baltimore police commander who heads the homicide unit was suspended today after he abandoned his unmarked cruiser on the side of I-95 near Route 32 in Howard County, city police confirmed. The suspension is described as routine and required because of the active investigation.

Maj. Terrence P. McLarney apparently ran off an exit ramp in Sunday night's rain storm. State Police said his car went into a ditch and there was minor damage to the front bumper. Another motorists called police to report seeing the vehicle off the road.

Why McLarney left the scene and how he got home remains a mystery at this time. City police said they suspended him with pay pending the outcome of the Maryland State Police investigation, and then they'll launch a internal investigation of their own.

More details later on The Sun's web site and in print on Tuesday.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 5:24 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, Howard County, Top brass
        

March 3, 2011

Man arrested in Pikesville bank holdup

Baltimore County police officers quickly arrested a man who held up a bank Thursday morning in Pikesville using a fake bomb, according to authorities.

Police said the man walked into a Bank of America branch in the 2800 block of Smith Ave. shortly after 9 a.m., approached a teller and demanded money. Police said in a statement that the man “told the teller that he had a bomb.”

The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of money and the man left the bank. While in the parking lot, police said the dye packs from the money “exploded inside the suspect’s bag.”

Bystanders told police which way the man had run and officers had him in custody with 20 minutes of the holdup. Police said he was found hiding, but they didn’t disclose other details. Police said the bomb was a hoax.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:54 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news
        

February 28, 2011

Judge upholds firing cop in Harbor skateboard incident

A Circut Court judge this morning upheld the firing of a Baltimore police officer who berated and pushed a 14-year-old skateboarder during a confrontation in the Inner Harbor in 2007. The ruling came after about an hour of arguments presented by an attorney for the police union and for the city.

The officer's lawyer argued that the police commissioner went beyond what was reasonable when he rejected an internal trial board recommendation that Rivieri be suspended for six days and lose leave time.

The trial board had found the officer not guilty of the most serious charges that included using excessive force and language. Rivieri was found guilty only of failing to write a police report, which his attorney described as a minor infraction. The attorney argued that the commissioner based his decision on parts issues that his client had been found not guilty of doing -- in essence conduct seen on the video.

But the city's lawyer argued that the failing to write a police report is not a minor infraction, and that Rivieri's failure to properly document his encounter with the youth was tantamount to covering up his use of force against a teenager.

There'll be more details later on the web and in The Sun's print edition.

 

February 25, 2011

Williams convicted in wife's death

This just in from The Sun's Nick Madigan at the Baltimore Circuit Court:

A Baltimore jury on Friday found Cleaven L. Williams Jr. guilty of first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of his pregnant wife outside a city courthouse in 2008.

Deliberating for a fourth day Friday, jury members had indicated earlier this week that they were having trouble reaching a consensus. They sent a note to the judge late Thursday afternoon, but it was unclear what the document said.

Williams was also convicted of a weapons charge in the death of his wife, Veronica Williams, with whom he had three children. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 29.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 3:28 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news
        

February 23, 2011

Police commissioner, top prosecutor address police corruption

Here's the video of Baltimore's police commissioner and the Maryland U.S. Attorney discussing the arrests of 17 city police officers charged with steering traffic accident victims to a specific auto repair shop in exchange for kickbacks.

 

 

Bealefeld helps arrest fellow cops

Baltimore’s police commissioner personally helped arrest more than a dozen city officers this morning who allegedly got thousands of dollars in kickbacks for steering accident victims to a towing company that was not authorized to do business with the city.

Federal authorities outlined a broad scheme in a 41-page criminal complaint and at a news conference in which 17 police officers conspired for two years with two brothers who own Magestic Auto Repair Shop in Rosedale.

The brothers, identified as Hernan Alexis Moreno Mejia and Edwin Javier Mejia, were also arrested, along with 15 officers who were lured to the city’s police academy under the ruse of and equipment inspection, Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said. Two officers had not been arrested as of this afternoon.

Bealefeld, in a calm voice, told reporters at a news conference at the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office (photo above by The Sun's Kenneth K. Lam shows Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein at the podium, flanked by Baltimore's FBI director, Richard A. McFeely, and Bealefeld).

that he thought for months about how he would explain the arrests to the citizens of Baltimore. He said he wanted the arrests done in a “very deliberate way” that was “meaningful and respectful,” but also sent a stern message to the 3,000-member force.

The commissioner and the special agent in charge of the Baltimore FBI office, McFeely, had the accused officers line up at the academy and Bealefeld took each of their badges. He said he told them, “I’m here to reclaim our badge.”

He then handed the badges to a academy recruit who was allowed to witness the arrests. He lined them up on the floor as a demonstration to his classmates. Bealefeld, a 30-year veteran of the city force, told reporters, “I know what service means.” Of the way the arrests were handled, the commissioner, said, “You can consider the ramifications of that to infinity.”

Continue reading "Bealefeld helps arrest fellow cops" »

February 17, 2011

Man, 45, fatally stabbed at busy North Ave bus stop

 

A 45-year-old man was stabbed in the neck and killed Thursday afternoon after getting into an argument at a busy bus stop at North and Greenmount avenues.

The victim, who has not yet been identified, was waiting for the bus before 1 p.m. when he got into an argument with a young woman, said Detective Donny Moses, a police spokesman. The argument escalated and a man began fighting with the victim, he said.

He was stabbed in the neck, and ended up across the street at a Rite Aid store. Moses said a private medic in the area treated him, but he died a short time later at a local hospital.

Moses said police did not have a suspect but were reviewing camera footage and speaking to witnesses. The crime scene briefly shut down traffic both ways on North Avenue.

Delores Austin, who said she is a minister at a Northwest Baltimore church, said she picks up medications at the Rite Aid and was stranded at the store because her vehicle was behind the caution tape.

She said other bystanders were surprised at a stabbing occurring in broad daylight, but it didn’t alarm her. “What do they care? Don’t none of them care,” she said.

Austin said both of her sons were killed in violence, including son Titus Austin, who was sitting on the front steps of a house when he was killed by a stray bullet during a gunfight in 1991. She didn’t want to talk about their deaths, but said the persistent violence keeps driving residents away.

“A lot of people that moved out left because of this,” she said. “Crime isn’t down.”

Continue reading "Man, 45, fatally stabbed at busy North Ave bus stop" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 2:24 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, East Baltimore
        

February 16, 2011

Bealefeld talks crime in Northeast

UPDATE: About three hours after the police commissioner left the community meeting, the Northeast District had its seventh homicide of the year. It occurred in the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello neighborhood, an area of particular concern. There have now been 21 slayings in the city this year, one more than noted below.

At times, the city's top cop resembled a pitch-man selling 25-year lows in homicides and other glowing crime stats to people living in an area with a spike in kilings this year (see The Sun's homicide map).

At one point, the Northeast District accounted for one-third of all this year's slayings. Now, iit's slightly less, with six of the city's 20 killings this year. It's tied with the Southern for the most. So you might forgive the residents if they were a bit skeptical (I'll have more about the meeting in Friday's Crime Scenes column).

But they politely allowed Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III to make his presentation during a packed meeting at Good Samaritan Hospital. The top cop is a bit frustrated that few people seem to know of the crime drops made in the past couple of years, even as his cops arrest tens of thousands of fewer people. It's targeted enforcement of gun and violent offenders over street corner sweeps.

Bealefeld pounded away that the image of Baltimore remains a deadly one -- "People are killed in the city every day," he quoted an oft-heard remark. He started at his audience and said bluntly, "It's a lie." The city went nine days once this year without a single killing, and non-fatal shootings are down from more than 750 in 2000 to 450 last year.

Yet Bealefeld lamented that more people know arcane stats about football and baseball players they follow than about the crime stats that impact the values of their homes.  "We don't know the stats that drives the engine that creeps peole out about the city," he said.

Still, Bealefeld acknowledged a problem in the Northeast and that it's no longer confined to one small area in the southern part of the district. "A lot more needs to be done in this area," he told the group. "It's unacceptable under anybody's standards. And it's moving -- it's moving east and west and we need to do something about it."

Residents peppered Bealefeld with questions but few demanded specific answers about the nature of the killings or what plans police had in place. The group appeared unanimous in its support of promoting the district's deputy major, Darryl DeSousa, to majoor, to replace the commander who just retired.

Bealefeld wouldn't give them an answer, despite repeated attempts, but said he will name a new district commander in a matter of weeks. After the commissioner left, DeSousa told his supporters, "I thank you from the bottom of my heart."

February 15, 2011

Police arrest two after carjacking; watch helicopter pursuit

A state worker was carjacked in Northwest Baltimore earlier today, sparking a pursuit using a police helicopter that ended with the arrests of two suspects.

The pursuit went from Baltimore and into the county and then back to Baltimore, and part of it was captured by a news crew for WJZ-TV, which broadcast it live during its 5 p.m. newscast. Here is The Sun's news story and the video from WJZ:

Body pulled from Inner Harbor

UPDATE 2/16, 6:15 P.M.: Police say they have tentatively identified the man as a 46-year-old who suffered from seizures and hypertension; there were no visible signs of trauma. An employee of the Museum of Industry spotted the body and called police. An autopsy will be performed to confirm the man's identity and cause of death. 

Firefighters and police were on the scene of a discovery of a man's corpse in the Inner Harbor, near the Museum of Industry. The city fire union sent a Twitter message around 8:30 a.m. that fire boats were responding to pull the body from the water. Police said the body was discovered at around 8 a.m., in the 1400 block of Key Highway. An autopsy will be performed to determined the man's identity and cause of death.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:20 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Downtown
        

February 14, 2011

Two stabbed at Northwest Baltimore gas station

 

Two people were taken to area hospitals – one with critical injuries – after a stabbing at a Northwest Baltimore gas station, city police said.

The stabbing was reported at about 10:45 a.m. at the intersection of Liberty Heights and Gwynn Oak, in the Howard Park neighborhood, said Detective Jeremy Silbert, a police spokesman. He said two men got into an argument with another man, who produced an undetermined sharp object and stabbed them.

[Click photo for full size image]

At the scene, a trail of blood was visible from a gas pump to in front of the gas station. A crime scene technician flagged items of interest and took pictures as detectives huddled behind the gas station.

The victims were taken to a local hospital where one of them was suffering from life-threatening injuries, police said. Homicide detectives were notified and were investigating, police said.

Police were looking for a black male with dreadlocks, and were reviewing surveillance camera footage.

The incident was initially reported by the Police Department as having occurred at the intersection of Liberty Heights and Reisterstown Road.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:40 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Northwest Baltimore
        

February 13, 2011

Police made an arrest in downtown shooting

Baltimore police - out in force to watch over downtown night clubs - quickly arrested a man in a shooting on East Saratoga Street. We're awaiting more details of the arrest and to see what club to which it might be linked.

UPDATE: Police say the suspect and victim got into a "road-rage" dispute near a parking lot near I-83. The victim was hit in the elbow.

This morning's shooting is near where Officer Todd Strohman was shot back in November when he confronted a suspicious man on North Calvert Street. Just last week, the officer testified in front of an Annapolis Senate committee as part of the city's efforts to toughen gun laws (see article by Justin Fenton on why suspect was out on the street). A bullet remains lodged in the officer's chest, just above his heart. He returned to light duty last week.

Meanwhile, are are the latest details from Baltimore police spokesman, Detective Kevin Brown, on this morning's shooting:

NON-FATAL SHOOTING
200 Blk of E. Saratoga
2/13/11 - 02:15 Hrs

On the above date, time and location officers SWAT officers were monitoring area nightclubs for signs of disturbances.  While doing so they observed an individual begin shooting from his vehicle at another individual.  He was followed and his vehicle was stopped without incident. He was taken into custody and his firearm recovered. The shooting victim, a 26 year-old male, was located as he walked-in to an area hospital seeking treatment, suffering from a gunshot wound to the
arm. At last check he was in stable condition and expected to recover. No word yet on motive or suspect identity.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:24 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, Downtown
        

February 11, 2011

Dog-burning case will be tried again

From Sun courts reporter Tricia Bishop (this post has been updated): 

Prosecutors said Friday that they will retry the animal-cruelty case against brothers Travers and Tremayne Johnson, who were accused of fatally setting fire to a pitbull in 2009, after the first trial ended in a hung jury Monday.

The new trial is scheduled for May 4. 

"The Court's order prohibiting public comment about the case remains in effect. We will respect the Court's order and look forward to the retrial," Baltimore State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein said in a statement.

The brothers' father, Charles Johnson, expressed disgust when told of the decision. Prosecutors "just want them to be guilty," he said. "With all the publicity, how can they have a fair trial?"

The case drew national attention and outrage from animal welfare advocates shocked by the brutality of the May 27, 2009 attack in West Baltimore. The female dog, later nicknamed Phoenix by rescue workers, was doused in accelerant, set alight and left to burn to death. A Baltimore police officer found her and put out the flames, but Phoenix didn't survive. She was euthanized five days later.

Continue reading "Dog-burning case will be tried again" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 12:42 PM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Breaking news, Courts and the justice system
        

February 7, 2011

Mistrial declared in dog burning case

The animal cruelty trial of Travers and Tremayne Johnson, charged in the 2009 fatal burning of a dog nicknamed Phoenix, ended in a mistrial Monday when jurors couldn't come to an agreement about the brothers' guilt or innocence on any of four animal cruelty charges against them, The Sun's Tricia Bishop reports.

The brothers smiled as the result was read about 6:30 p.m., after several days of jury deliberation and five days of trial.

Prosecutors had little evidence to work with in making their case, and defense attorneys repeatedly pointed out the flaws in the dog-burning investigation, which they said began minutes after Phoenix was set on fire May 27, 2009.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 7:42 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Breaking news
        

Police investigating Northeast Baltimore shooting

[This post has been updated] 

A 19-year-old man was fatally shot Monday afternoon in Northeast Baltimore, leaving a trail of blood as he stumbled up a street before collapsing. By early Tuesday, police had made an arrest.

Officers were called to the 2700 block of Polk St. at about 3:15 p.m. for a report of a shooting. A 58-year-old resident, who would not give his name but said he’s a construction contractor, told a reporter that he heard at least four shots, then looked out of his window and saw a male fall down on the corner where two churches face each other.

Police would locate the victim, Craig Manuel, of the 2700 block of Carswell St., in next block up, on a patch of sidewalk where a crime scene technician photographed blood and clothing. 

Anthony Guglielmi, the Police Department's chief spokesman, said detectives made an arrest early Tuesday, taking 18-year-old Isaacier McQueen into custody. Guglielmi said "community intelligence" - police-speak for tips - played a role.

The witness said the area – in the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello neighborhood – is not particularly violent. “But those teenagers, they get a little fight in them, and the next thing you know, a gun is involved,” he said.

Manuel had recently been convicted on drug and auto theft-related charges, receiving a four-year suspended sentence. Records show he had also sought a protective order against a woman. 

Continue reading "Police investigating Northeast Baltimore shooting" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 5:34 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, Northeast Baltimore
        

February 5, 2011

Men stabbed, shot in Baltimore

A man was shot in the stomach and another man was repeatedly stabbed in the upper body in separate, unrelated attacks Friday night and early Saturday in East and Northeast Baltimore, according to city police.

Continue reading "Men stabbed, shot in Baltimore" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:06 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, East Baltimore, Northeast Baltimore
        

February 4, 2011

Jurors deliberating in burned dog Phoenix case

UPDATE: Juror were unable to reach a verdict Friday and will resume deliberations on Monday.

UPDATE: The Sun's Tricia Bishop reports --The jury deliberating in the animal cruelty trial of Travers and Tremayne Johnson sent a note to the judge Friday morning suggesting that they are having trouble reaching a verdict.

They went at it for nine hours on Thursday, and still jurors couldn't decide on a verdict in the animal cruelty case against brothers Travers and Tremayne Johnson. The jury will resume talks this morning.

The 18-year-old twins are charged with setting fire to a pit bull known as "Phoenix" in 2009, in a case that has become the centerpiece in a series of animal abuse cases. Defense attorneys say the teens were wrongly accused by Baltimore police under pressure from outraged animal welfare advocates.

Complete details of Thursday's courtroom drama can be found here. The Sun's court reporter, Tricia Bishop, wrote about Thursday's closings:

Prosecutors had spent the fifth day of trial — highlighting the evidence, while the defense team pointed to the lack of it. Prosecutors Jennifer Rallo and Janet Hankin systematically connected the dots in their circumstantial case and asked the jury to consider the testimony of their key witness, city police Sgt. Jarron Jackson, akin to that of a reporter: someone who watches and interprets information.

A defense attorneys questioned  the timing of her clients on a video and provided a list of 41 things that the police allegedly failed to do in the investigation. They did not preserve the crime scene, she said; they waited a week to assign an investigator; they didn't collect important evidence; and they didn't investigate other suspects.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 9:27 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Courts and the justice system, West Baltimore
        

February 3, 2011

Man guilty in robberies that left business owner dead

A federal jury on Thursday convicted the mastermind of a series of brazen robberies that netted more than $300,000 and left a Southeast Baltimore business owner zip-tied and duct-taped to a chair, the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Nikolaos Mamalis, 53, of Edgewood, faces at least 57 years in federal prison and could get up to life when he is sentenced in U.S. District Court in Baltimore in May. Four other conspirators pleaded guilty in the case and are to be sentenced over the next three months.

The guilty finding after a seven day trial brings to a close a complicated and violent scheme that led investigators from a city warehouse to a hotel in Atlantic City. The 54-year-old Southeast Baltimore vending machine owner, Constantine “Dino” Frank, died shortly after the robbery at his shop.

Federal prosecutors said Mamalis knew Frank and other victims and used his knowledge of their shops, homes and money they stored in them to plan the attacks. Police arrested them after learning through a wiretap that they planned to commit a home invasion in New Jersey.

Continue reading "Man guilty in robberies that left business owner dead" »

February 2, 2011

Serial drunken driver gets 13 years in death of Hopkins student

This just in from The Sun's Tricia Bishop:

Serial drunken driver Thomas Lee Meighan Jr. was sentenced Wednesday to 13 years in prison for the 2009 fatal hit-and-run of a 20-year-old Johns Hopkins student. He was also given an additional nine-year suspended sentence in connection with a similar hit-and-run that same year, in which five people were injured.

Several of those victims testified at the hearing Wednesday afternoon, along with the friends and family of Miriam Frankl, who was killed Oct. 16 after Meighan slammed his white Ford truck into her as she crossed St. Paul Street in Charles Village.

"The tragedy here … is the Miriam that will never be," said Julia Pilcer, one of Frankl's sorority sisters who looked up to the young scientist, recalled as kind, intelligent and driven.

A half-dozen witnesses told police that the driver of Meighan's white truck took a terrifying trip through the city before striking Frankl about 3:20 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2009. The truck was spotted running red lights, tailgating other drivers and going the wrong way on a one-way street. At one point, the driver, identified by police as Meighan, got out to urinate alongside the vehicle while parked on Eastern Avenue.
Posted by Peter Hermann at 4:51 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, North Baltimore
        

January 29, 2011

Fire destroys popular Towson pub

A fire tonight destroyed the Charles Village Pub in Towson, a popular hangout for Towson University students.

The blaze was first reported shortly before 7:30 p.m. and might have started in the kitchen. About 100 firefighters battled the blaze, near the traffic circle, which shut down numerous streets on a busy Saturday night.

The photo was taken by The Sun's Jerry Jackson. Reporter Arthur Hirsch reported:

 "I spent half of my college existence in that building," said April Shaw of Towson, who graduated with a mass communications degree in 2003.  "I just texted my college roommates" to tell them about the fire, she said.

Paul Donhauser, who took some classes at Towson University and now works as law clerk nearby, said he goes to the restaurant occasionally for lunch and went often when he was in school. "It was definitely a college bar," he said. The fire appeared to be under control by about 8:30 p.m. but firefighters remained at the scene, still showering the building with water, although most of the smoke had dissipated by 10 p.m.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:30 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news
        

January 28, 2011

City police announce major gun arrest

Baltimore's police commissioner and mayor are having a news conference (4:15 p.m.) to announce an arrest of a person they call a significant gun criminal. Police in Northwest Baltimore arrested the man, Michael Nichols, 31, Thursday evening.

He's at left in a police mug shot.

According to a police charging document, an officer got a call for an armed man in the 2300 block of Reiserstown Road. The man was wearing an Army camouflage jacket with a hat adorned with snowflakes and had just entered a location with an AK-47.

Police said the man jumped off a back second-floor balcony when the officer arrived but was arrested by a back-up officer. According to the court document, the man admitted that he had two guns in the house and thought the cops were there to arrest him for violating his parole.

Authorities then obtained a search warrant for the residence and confiscated several weapons. They include: a 9mm Luger handgun loaded with nine rounds; a High Point .45 caliber handgun loaded with five bullets; suspected marijuana; and suspected heroin.

The court document also says that the man told police he had a Tech 9 gun hidden in his mother's basement in a tool box on Bentalou Street. Police said they found the gun, loaded with 17 bullets, along with a box containing 28 rounds of ammunition.

At this moment, police and the mayor are giving more details (watch the news conference here). Check back to the Baltimore Sun for a more complete news story.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 4:05 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, Top brass, West Baltimore
        

Reward up to $25,000 in finding missing teen

The high school in Monroe, N.C., where 17-year-old Phylicia Barnes was senior, announced a reward of $25,000 for information leading to her recovery. The honor student disappeared Dec. 28 while visiting relatives in Northwest Baltimore.

The search has become one of the Baltimore Police Department's biggest missing persons cases, at one point involving half the agency's homicide squad. The FBI in Baltimore and Washington are still involved.

Here are some past news stories on Barnes, and the following is information from Barnes' school, Union Academy, in North Carolina:

"In November of this past year at the Annual Ultimate Charity Auction hosted by the Union Academy Foundation a fund was created to help students at Union Academy in financial need. This fund was named the Phil Hargett Memorial Fund in memory of the late City of Monroe Councilman, grandfather of Union Academy students and community leader. Over $25,000.00 was raised the night of the auction for this fund.

Since that time as you all know, Phylicia Barnes, a beautiful, loving and gifted student of Union Academy has disappeared while in Baltimore Md. during the Christmas Holidays. We continue to have faith that Phylicia is out there somewhere.
More information from the school:

Continue reading "Reward up to $25,000 in finding missing teen" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:12 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Breaking news, Northwest Baltimore
        

January 26, 2011

City police arrest car jacking suspect

Baltimore police just announced an arrest of a car jacking suspect:

"On January 25, 2011, Northwest District officers were flagged down by an individual who stated he was just car-jacked. Immediately, officers began a search of the area for the victims vehicle.

Officers located the Honda mini-van a short time later. The suspect was subsequently arrested after attempting to elude officers on foot.

Along with the victims vehicle, additional property taken during the incident was recovered as well.

The suspect has been identified as Dion Williams, DOB: 1/14/75.


Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:19 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Northwest Baltimore
        

SNOW !!!!

SNOWWWWWWWWWW! !

That's stating the obvious, I know, but it comes via Twitter, courtesy of the Baltimore Fire Department firefighters union #734. It's my way of passing along the latest public safety news!

Not to be outdone, Baltimore police put this up on Twitter: "DRIVING ADVISORY: Winter weather conditions are making area roads very slick. Please drive with care and consider staying home."

Of course, the rank and file firefighters and paramedics would be remiss if they didn't also remind you, again via Twitter, that the city continues to close fire companies to save money. So along with storm news, you get this:

Units closed to save money today are Engine 5 & Engine 8. Engine 43 is closed for maintenance. Use caution walking & driving in winter weather.

Engine 8 operates from a firehouse in the 1500 block of West LaFayette Avenue. The house also has a truck and a medic which are operational Engine 5 is out of the Roman Kaminski station in the 2100 block of Eastern Ave.

But enough politics. The last Twitter from Baltimore police was last night, with a man shot in the back in the 800 block of Lennox St. No word yet on his condition. Meanwhile, Liz F. Kay is reporting that the snow you see this morning is "just a teaser" of what we'll see later today and tonight.

Check out the rest of The Baltimore Sun for more snow news, including accidents and road conditions, and closing information. Or better yet, head to Frank Roylance's Maryland Weather blog, Let's see if the adage prove true -- more snow equals less crime.

January 25, 2011

Officer who died in October crash distracted by film crew

Baltimore police have concluded their investigation into the October accident that killed a city police officer whose cruiser slammed into the back of fire engine.

The report concludes that Officer Thomas Portz Jr., 32, was most likely distracted by a film crew using the opposite lanes of U.S. 40 to record the final scene of an independent movie. The report, obtained under a Public Information Act request, says the officer was speeding at 71 mph (in a 50 mph zone) and was not wearing his seat belt.

Photo was taken by The Sun's Barbara Haddock Taylor.

From our news story:

Just before the accident, the city Fire Department received a call for a sick person in the area and firefighters on Engine 8 had stopped in the eastbound lane of U.S. 40, near the Stricker Street footbridge, and were looking for the source of the call.

Portz also was driving east on the U.S. 40, and the report concludes he was probably looking at the film crew and didn’t see the stopped fire engine. Portz was not responding to an emergency call at the time. Police identified the firefighter driving the engine only as a 41-year-old male.

The report says Portz had been speeding at 71 mph — the speed limit is 50 mph on that portion of roadway — but slammed on is brakes 2.5 seconds before impact. Detective Patty A. Baur, a traffic collision reconstruction expert with the police crash team, said in the report that the police car was traveling 62 mph a split-second before impact.
The Baltimore Sun's Michael Dresser, who writes about transportation issues and writes the Getting There blog, has discussed this accident and police driving in general.
Posted by Peter Hermann at 3:01 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Top brass, West Baltimore
        

January 9, 2011

Two officers shot, one killed, outside downtown club

Click here for the most updated version of this story.

UPDATE 11:45 p.m. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said police do not expect to provide more information today on the Sunday morning shooting. He said detectives will be gathering surveillance camera footage and reviewing physical evidence.

He said the three civilians who were shot and wounded were all women in the early 20s, who were shot in their lower extremities.

UPDATE: 10:10 a.m. Sources are identifying the officer killed this morning as William H. Torbit Jr., 33, who was assigned to the Central District operations unit. On Twitter and Facebook, friends are mourning the civilian victim, Sean "Loz" Gamble. Police are not confirming either victim's identity.

A friend, Corey Brown said Gamble had a young child and was engaged to be married. He worked for a waste management company and had no criminal record.

"He's not a violent kid - he's not in the streets," said Brown. "He's not even cut from that cloth. Apparently he got in a fight, and the cops start shooting. Not in the air - in the crowd, and they shot him."

Attempts to locate friends and family of Torbit were not immediately successful.

UPDATE: 6:45 a.m. Two Baltimore police officers were shot, one of them fatally, when gunfire erupted early Sunday outside of a club near downtown. Six people in all were shot and two killed.

Two sources said detectives are exploring whether the officer who was killed was shot by another officer amid a chaotic scene outside the Select Lounge in the 400 block of N. Paca St.

The incident occurred at about 1:15 a.m. when police were called to break up fights and control a crowd outside the club near Franklin Street in Seton Hill, said Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III. 

"There was an altercation that took place very near the club and some officers worked to intercede in that fight, at which time some gunshots were discharged," Bealefeld said. "Several officers fired multiple shots."

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was in the early stages, said the officer who was fatally shot was in plainclothes and was being attacked by a group of people moments before the gunfire rang out.

An eight-year veteran of the force whose name was not disclosed was shot and killed, Bealefeld said. A second officer, an 11-year veteran, was shot in the foot. Both officers were assigned to the Central District and were on duty, police said. One was in uniform and the other was in plainclothes, police said.

Continue reading "Two officers shot, one killed, outside downtown club" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 4:34 AM | | Comments (29)
Categories: Breaking news, Downtown, Police shootings
        

January 6, 2011

Suspicious packages at city court house, state office building, unfounded

UPDATE AS OF 6:30 P.M.: The suspicious package at the state office building on West Preston Street turned out to be computer accessories. Again, heightened caution after the explosive devices that were found earlier today in Annapolis.

UPDATE AS OF 5:45 P.M.: The suspicious package at the Mitchell Courthouse turned out to be a box of toner cartridges, according to police. In light of what happened in Annapolis today, people are being more cautious.

Baltimore police are at a state office building at 201 West Preston St. where a department spokesman says at least one suspicious package was found. Police have no other details of where the packages was or what it contained.

Fire Department spokesman Kevin Cartwright said "no detonation" occurred. There were conflicting reports about whether employees were told to leave; Preston Street is closed in the area; the state complex contains several state buildings, including the the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Howard and Preston streets was closed as of 4:15 p.m.

At the moment, we don't know whether the package contained an explosive or if this is the result of heightened suspicions following the explosives found in two other state buildings in Anne Arundel County..

Also, Maryland State Police just sent out an update on the explosive devices found in two state buildings in Hanover and in Annapolis. No explosion, but a chemical reaction did cause an injury to one mail room employee.

Here's a statement from police:


Continue reading "Suspicious packages at city court house, state office building, unfounded" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 5:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Downtown
        

Explosive devices at Maryland state office buildings

Explosive devices have been found in  two state office buildings in Annapolis, near the State House, and in Hanover, according to authorities.

Bomb squad technicians and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating. Details are still coming in, but it appears that a State House mail room employee was hurt while handling one of the packages.

State mail room offices have been shut down.

Keep checking the Baltimore Sun web site for updates of this breaking news.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 2:54 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Anne Arundel County, Breaking news, Confronting crime
        

December 16, 2010

Report: Milton Tillman, son to plead guilty next week

The father-and-son team behind one of Baltimore’s largest bail bond services will plead guilty next week to federal charges filed against them, the Daily Record reports.

Milton Tillman Jr. and Milton Tillman III of 4 Aces Bail Bonds Inc. are scheduled to be in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon, according to a notice of a hearing filed Thursday. The Tillmans were indicted in February on multiple counts of tax, insurance and wire fraud.

The elder Tillman is a well-known businessman with two federal convictions, vast property interests  and a major chunk of the city's bail bonds market, including holding insurance policies for a slew of others in the industry. The CityPaper in August 2008 described Tillman this way:

"To white-collar prosecutors he's a target. According to Drug Enforcement Agency documents and a deceased narcotics prosecutor, he's a violent drug trafficker. But to people he's done business with and public officials who know him, he's a plain, soft-spoken, and successful minority businessman."

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:53 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Breaking news, Courts and the justice system
        

December 13, 2010

Thieves commandeer pharmaceutical delivery truck, abduct driver

[This is a breaking news update. The original post is after the jump]

A pharmaceutical delivery driver was abducted while making his rounds in West Baltimore on Monday morning by thieves who made off with a truckload of drug products, police said.

Police called the morning heist “incredibly thought-out,” and were looking for three suspects. The robbery occurred at about 9 a.m. in the 2000 block of W. Pratt St., outside the tiny Westside Pharmacy and Wellness Center.

The 55-year-old driver was forced at gunpoint into the back of his delivery truck and transported to an unknown location where the suspects unloaded about 80 crates of drug products. He called police from the 2000 block of Annapolis Rd. in Westport at about 10:10 a.m.

“The value of the drugs is significant,” said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, who said he could not place a dollar figure. “We believe the individuals responsible might have had knowledge about where and when the truck was going to be.”

Guglielmi said police were in contact with the local FBI and DEA.

At the pharmacy, located along a struggling commercial corridor in West Baltimore, a handwritten, neon yellow sign tells customers when the store will be closed, and a flier for a lost dog is in the door. The inside resembles a hardware store, and the service counter is located in the back.

A manager who declined to give his name said he didn’t know what had happened until detectives visited the store later in the day. He said the driver drops off supplies every weekday morning but that he did not know his name.

“This is the first time we’ve had something like this happen in eight years,” he said. “We’re just happy he was not harmed.”

Police did not give out a description of the suspects.

Continue reading "Thieves commandeer pharmaceutical delivery truck, abduct driver" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 1:15 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Breaking news, South Baltimore, West Baltimore
        

December 8, 2010

Baltimore man arrested in plot to blow up Catonsville military recruiting center

Authorities say a Baltimore man has been arrested for attempting to blow up a military recruitment center in Catonsville.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore said the man attempted to detonate what he believed to be a vehicle bomb this morning.

“There was no danger to the public as the explosives were inert, and the suspect had been carefully monitored by law enforcement for months,” the office said in a statement.

There was no evidence that the plot was tied to recent shootings at military recruiting centers in the Washington D.C. area.

The man, who was not identified, is scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court this afternoon. An FBI spokesman declined to comment.

The Associated Press first reported the arrest. An official who was briefed on the arrest told AP on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information said the individual is a United States citizen.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:45 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news
        

December 7, 2010

Fire unions blasting closures after two city blazes

Firefighters are still putting out embers at this morning's fire in Mount Vernon (just hours after clubs on The Block burned) and already the city fire union (Firefighters Local 734) is blasting away at company closures. Two or three fire companies are shuttered each night throughout the city due to budget cuts.

Photo is of the Mount Vernon blaze and was taken by The Sun's Jerry Jackson.

Union officials routinely complain that the closures slow response time to fires and endanger lives of citizens and firefighters. Last year, a man was killed in a fire just a block from a firehouse that was closed, though a variety of factors, including a wrong address, contributed to a delayed response (read a tribute to the victim here).

The Baltimore Fire Department shoots back that closures have little to no impact on fighting fires (though Fire Chief James S. Clack warned during the last budget process that the department couldn't absorb anymore cuts).

This morning, the Firefighters Union 734 issued a blistering statement saying that once again the the Fire Department's shortcomings are endangering citizens, and noting that the city needed help from Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Howard counties (twin four-alarm fires in a strip of vacant houses in West Baltimore this summer required an assist from as far away as Washington).

Chief Kevin Cartwright, a spokesman for the Fire Department, shot back this morning, calling the union complaints overblown and old. "Response time had nothing to do with anything that happened last night," he said.

Both five-alarm fires brought nearly 150 firefighters to the scenes. Union officials are saying that a 5-alarm assignment today is roughly equivalent to a 3-alarm assignment in years past, due to cutbacks in personnel and apparatus. Fire officials counter that different chiefs have different protocols, and that better equipment and improved safety guidelines mean that fewer trucks and engines are required on each alarm).

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has reduced rotating closures from four to three in this year’s budget, which ran a $121 million deficit. For more from the union and Cartwright:

Continue reading "Fire unions blasting closures after two city blazes" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 9:09 AM | | Comments (19)
Categories: Breaking news, Downtown, North Baltimore
        

November 30, 2010

Double shooting downtown

Two people were shot on Water Street near The Block early this morning and police said a few minutes ago they have a suspect in custody. Few details have been released, but police said the incident occurred about 2:30 a.m. and that a male and female were wounded.

UPDATE: Police said that officers conducting crowd control on The Block heard four or five gunshots and race over to find a victim lying on the ground bleeding from the upper chest. A second victim was found in the driver's side of a 1998 Honda Accord, suffering from a gunshot wound to the left foot.

Witnesses gave officers a description of a vehicle the suspect's were in and officers later spotted the white Honda. Two suspects were arrested and police said they found a 9mm handgun in the car. "The gun appeared to have just been fired," according to a police statement. One victim is in critical condition after surgery at Maryland Shock Trauma Center; the other victim is in good condition at Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

It's the latest violence on downtown streets. A police officer was shot at Baltimore and Calvert streets shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday, and police engaged the suspect in a running gun battle before wounding him.

And shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday, police said a male was stabbed in the upper chest at Lombard and Light streets.

All of these incidents occurred just a few blocks north of the Inner Harbor -- two of them around the times bars closed. The shootings on Water Street (police have also listed the address as Commerce and Baltimore streets) are near the strip clubs but also at the top end of Market Place, a popular night spot.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:15 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Downtown
        

November 27, 2010

Stabbing reported downtown

Just hours after this morning's running gun battle up North Calvert Street, in which a city police officer was shot and seriously wounded, Baltimore officials are reporting that a man was just stabbed in the chest at Light and Lombard streets.

More crime near the Inner Harbor.

There are no other details, other than that the victim's injuries are not considered life threatening. Baltimore police spokesman Kevin Brown provided this update to some other crimes in the area overnight:

Continue reading "Stabbing reported downtown" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:38 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Downtown, East Baltimore, Northeast Baltimore
        

Baltimore police officer shot

A Baltimore police officer who confronted an armed man on a downtown street early this morning was shot and seriously wounded, and backup officers engaged the suspect in what the police commissioner described as a running gun battle up North Calvert Street.

Police said that at least three members of the tactical unit, among the best trained in the use of firearms, fired at least 20 shots along a single city block, hitting the suspect several times on a street crowded with patrons of downtown clubs and bars.

The wounded man managed to escape in a silver Toyota Camry occupied by two of his friends. The car crashed into a light pole at Calvert and Franklin streets and police found the suspect inside Mercy Medical Center seeking treatment for his wounds. The car was peppered with about a dozen bullet holes in the back windshield, trunk and bumper.

Police shut down numerous streets north of the Inner Harbor after the shooting, which occurred shortly past 1 a.m. at North Calvert and East Baltimore streets. A police helicopter hovered over the two crime scenes and police said they recovered a semiautomatic handgun and arrested the two occupants of the car and the man who they said shot the police officer.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 5:35 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, Downtown
        

November 26, 2010

Missing person found, arrest in homicide

UPDATE BELOW: Police say stabbing victim died, brother arrested

Some crime updates from Baltimore Police:

MISSING PERSON
 
Raymond Burke, M/W/74, was found last night around 11:30 hrs by patrol units in the Northeast District, in the area of Pulaski Hwy and Moravia Park  Drive. He was discovered unharmed and is doing well. He had been missing since Wednesday.
 
STABBING
 
In reference to the tweeted stabbing within 4400 Blk of Belvieu Ave., information is still being gathered, to include the latest condition check. I will have an update on this case near noon.  I do know that the victim is an adult black male, born 12/27/48, and a person of interest (a relative) has been taken into custody.

UPDATE from police spokesman Kevin Brown: Please be advised that in reference to the assault reported on the 4400 Blk of Belvieu Ave., the victim, Robin Patterson (B/M 6/24/59) has died as a result of his injuries. His brother, Harry Patterson Jr. (B/M 11/27/41) has been charged with the murder (and lesser related), and is currently being held in CBIF. His photo is at left. It appears as if the incident stemmed from an argument between the suspect and his wife, in which the victim attempted to intervene and was fatal wounded.  No word yet on the cause of the argument, etc.  

 

 


Continue reading "Missing person found, arrest in homicide" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 9:52 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime
        

November 23, 2010

Robbery suspect arrested

Baltimore County police are crediting the public with helping them arrest a suspected purse-snatcher. Here is the police statement:

Baltimore County Police have arrested and charged Robert Lawrence Gardner, 31, of the 11000-block of Greenspring Avenue, 21093 with robbery. He has been identified as being responsible for a November 10, robbery that occurred in the 9700-block of Groffs Mill Road, 21117.

On November 10, at approximately 9 p.m. Baltimore County Police responded to the Giant food store located in the 9700-block of Groffs Mill Road for a robbery. Police spoke with the victim who advised that she was walking through the store when the suspect forcibly took her purse and ran out of the food store. The suspect was last seen running toward the north end of the shopping center.

On November 19, police issued a news release and photo to the media, which led to several concerned citizens contacting the police to provide the identity of the suspect in this case. Robert Lawrence Gardner was arrested on November 20 and charged with robbery, assault, and theft. He is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on $350,000 bail.

Chief Jim Johnson and the men and women of the Baltimore County Police Department thank both the media and the public for their assistance in this case.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 4:09 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news
        

November 18, 2010

Police Chief: officer may have been wrong to accept Rice autograph

A week after a Baltimore County police spokesman said the officer who accepted an autograph from Ravens running back Ray Rice did not do anything wrong, the county's police chief, James W. Johnson, called me to clarify.

If you remember, the officer stopped Rice in his white Range Rover on Nov. 8 in the parking lot of an Owings Mills shopping center. The officer verbally warned the player that the tint on the vehicle's windshield appeared darker than the law allows.

Rice then posted this on Twitter: "Just got pulled over for my tints … but gave the officer a autograph for his son and he let me go." Later that day, Rice clarified his statement, telling reporters that he had offered his signature after the stop had been concluded.

Here is what Johnson had to say:

The chief agrees that the officer did not forgive a ticket in exchange for the signature. But he's contemplating whether the officer was right to accept the gift and he said he doesn't necessarily agree with the spokesman's statement that the autograph was not "a gift of monetary value."

"I think it's debatable whether this is in fact a gratuity," said Johnson, who would not rule out disciplinary action for the officer even though internal affairs detectives concluded their investigation and recommended the officer be cleared.

Johnson said the question for him is whether an autograph by a sports star "is a gratuitous act or merely an act of one human extending some arm of friendship to another. … This is not a closed matter. This is one of those cases that we need to step back on and slowly deliberate."
The chief's comments has reopened the debate and shows that it's not as clear-cut as it at first appeared. Today's story on the chief's comments can be found here. A more detailed column on questions raised by this issue can be found here.
Posted by Peter Hermann at 4:24 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news
        

Man in standoff found dead

A man who police say shot and wounded his wife and then barricaded himself in his Baltimore County house in Randallstown for hours was found dead inside this afternoon, a police spokesman said.

Police identified him as Terrence Joseph Wilson, 36, who lived in the 9500 block of Oak Trace Way in a subdivision off Liberty Road. His wife, who escaped the house before the standoff, was being treated at Maryland Shock Trauma Center for multiple gunshot wounds. The couple's 8-year-old boy also escaped unharmed and was being taken care of by relatives.

Police did not immediately say how the man died.

The standoff started about 9:30 a.m. when the wife called 911 to report an assault. Officers pulled up to the house, heard a commotion and said the wounded woman ran outside with the child. The man remained inside with a gun, police said.

Lt. Robert McCullough, a Baltimore County Police spokesman, said tactical officers went into the house about 1:15 p.m. and found the man dead.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:28 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news
        

Police at scene of shooting, barricade in Randallstown

A man shot a woman this morning inside her house in Randallstown and has now barricaded himself inside, according to Baltimore County Police. Heavily armed SWAT officers are the scene in the 9500 block of Oak Trace Way, in the Kings Park community off Liberty Road.

Cpl. Mike Hill, a police spokesman, said the wounded woman along with a child escaped. The woman has been flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, but her condition and types of wounds have not yet been disclosed. The child was not harmed.

Hill said the woman called police about 9:30 a.m. to report an assault. Officers pulled up and heard a commotion, Hill said, and then the woman ran out of the house with the child. The relationship between the woman and man is not yet known, Hill said.

Police said the man does not have any hostages but that he is armed. The neighborhood has been sealed off due to the standoff. 

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:17 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news
        

Juveniles charged in nature center break-in

Two youths, ages 11 and 14, have been charged as juveniles with breaking into the Carrie Murray Nature Center and stealing a dozen animals. A police spokesman confirmed the charges this morning but had no further details.

The boys could have been arrested or charged and left in the custody of their parents pending their court date. Police said the nature center at the edge of Leakin Park was broken into twice, once over the weekend, and then again Monday night or early Tuesday.

Among the animals stolen were gechos, chameleons, turtles, an iguana and a Madagascar hissing cockroach. A tip led police on Tuesday to a house near the center, where they found all the animals unharmed. 

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:47 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Breaking news, West Baltimore
        

November 16, 2010

Exotic animals stolen from nature center recovered

The exotic animals stolen in two break-ins at the Carrie Murray Nature Center in West Baltimore have been found safe in a rowhouse in West Baltimore, according to city police.

Anthony Guglielmi, the department's chief spokesman, said detectives got a tip from a resident that he saw juveniles carrying the animals into a house in the 5000 block of Clifton Ave. Within the hour, police were at the house and said they found the dozen animals unharmed. They include an iguana, several turtles and a Madagascar hissing cockroach.

Earlier today, police suspected an inside job because in break-ins over the weekend and Monday night, the alarm had been turned off. Entry had been gained through a rear door and an unlocked window.

But now police said they suspect neighborhood youths. No charges have filed yet; Guglielmi said detectives are "debriefing the people" inside the house. "At this point, it does not appear to be an inside job."

The house in which the animals were found are on the western edge of Leakin Park, near the Carrie Murray Nature Center.


Posted by Peter Hermann at 2:44 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, West Baltimore
        

Body found in box off I-70 in Western Maryland

Maryland State Police issued this statement a few minutes about a body found along a highway in Western Maryland:

Maryland State Police homicide investigators are investigating a body found inside a box off of a highway in Frederick County. The victim can only be described as an adult at this time.  No identification has been found.

The body has been taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy and to continue efforts to identify the victim.

The preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 9:45 a.m. today, a  State Highway Administration maintenance crew was working roadside along westbound I-70, at mile marker 48 near Braddock Mountain, when they discovered a box. The box was barely visible off the shoulder of the highway in a wooded, roadside embankment. The contents of the box appeared to be that of a deceased human body. The workers immediately called state police.  

Due to this being a possible homicide, members of the State Police Homicide Unit responded to conduct the investigation. They were assisted by sheriff deputies and state troopers from the Frederick County Bureau of Investigation, crime scene technicians from the State Police Forensic Sciences Division and forensic experts from the Office of the State Medical Examiner.  

At this time, the cause of death has not yet been determined. Investigators are awaiting autopsy results.  It is unknown, at this time, how long the body has been in the wooded, roadside embankment.

Police are asking anyone with information that may be relevant to this case to please contact Frederick County Law Enforcement Center 301-600-4151. This investigation is active and ongoing.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:31 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Crime elsewhere
        

Nature center broken into again

UPDATE: Baltimore police say two chameleons were stolen in the latest break-in at the Carrie Murray Nature Center. Police said someone got in through an unlocked window. Over the weekend, someone broke in through a door and authorities said they alarm system had been turned off. Police are now investigating whether a staffer or a volunteer is responsible.

---

Baltimore police confirmed this morning that they are back at the Carrie Murray Nature Center in Leakin Park investigating another break-in. As you may recall, someone got into the preserve over the weekend and stole several animals, including a beloved iguana, turtles, two geckos and a Madagascar hissing cockroach.

The police report for that incident noted that the building's alarm system "has been suspended for over two years." 

This morning, Baltimore police spokesman Jeremy Silbert said: "We are on the scene of another reported burglary at the location. There were some animals that were taken. I have no specifics yes as to what it was."

UPDATE: A spokeswoman for the Baltimore Department of Parks and Recreations told me this morning that no animals were taken but that the center was vandalized. We'll have fuller details once police finish up at the scene.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:57 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Breaking news, West Baltimore
        

November 15, 2010

Missing cockroach, other wildlife

If you see a Madagascar Hissing cockroach, call Baltimore police.

Same for six turtles ( one Eastern Box, two Susquehanna Maps and three Red-Ear Sliders), two geckos (a Gargoyle and a Tangerine Flat Tail) and one 3-foot-long iguana.

These are among the exotic wildlife stolen over the weekend during a break in at the Carrie Murray Nature Center in West Baltimore’s Leakin Park, according to a Baltimore police report filed on Monday.

The preserve, named after Orioles great Eddie Murray’s mother, helps educate youth and others about a variety of animals, from insects to hawks and beavers to song birds.

Two months ago, the center held its 11th annual bug fest that included cockroach races, bug hikes and insect cuisine. City police say they have no suspects in the break-in, which occurred sometime between 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 9:17 a.m. Monday.

A naturalist told police that he had “locked and made sure the center was secured” when he left Saturday but returned Monday to open and found the front and back doors unlocked and mulch from the cockroach cage covering the floor.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 4:41 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, West Baltimore
        

Police make arrest in weekend slaying

Baltimore police have charged an uncle with killing his nephew Saturday night in Highlandtown. Here is a release just issued by city police:

ARREST
 
400 Blk of East Street
11/13/2010 - 21:51 Hrs
 
In reference to the stabbing death of David Lawrence Hopkins (b/m 12/4/90), Dewayne Hopkins (b/m 12/23/65) [pictured at left] has been arrested and charged with murder yesterday evening. It appears that the incident stemmed from a family altercation. Suspect (uncle) victim (nephew). In the interim, please find attached his booking photo.


Meanwhile, here's some additional information on a shooting:

SHOOTING
 
1700 Blk of Ellamont Ave (SWD)
11/14/2010 - 17:04 Hrs
 
On the above date and time officers responded to the location in response to a shooting call for service. Upon arrival officers located the victim, (b/m 12/29/88) lying in the grass suffering from gunshot wounds to a hand and leg.  Same was transported to an area hospital for treatment and expected to recover.  He advised that he was walking within the block when a small vehicle approached and a male exited, fired at him, returned to the vehicle, and fled.  No word as of yet on suspects or motives.

Here are some updated crime stats from the police:
 

Continue reading "Police make arrest in weekend slaying" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:25 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, East Baltimore
        

November 11, 2010

Radio stolen from vehicle of Rawlings-Blake's husband

UPDATE: Police just made available the incident report, which states that an officer did not respond to take a report until 6:45 p.m., 12 hours after the theft was discovered and almost four hours after we first inquired. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi calls it a technicality, saying that the mayor's executive protection detail was notified immediately and that it took some time for the case to be turned over to the district.

A satellite radio system was stolen from the vehicle of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s husband last night near their home in North Baltimore, officials confirmed.

The incident occurred Thursday morning, and officials said it appeared that the doors to the vehicle had been left unlocked as there was no damage to the vehicle.

The mayor’s security team was outside the Coldspring home at the time, but Kent Blake’s vehicle was parked out of view, said spokesman Ryan O’Doherty. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that the theft was discovered when Blake got into his car in the morning and realized the equipment was missing.

Officials declined further comment.

Last February, police and the Downtown Partnership launched a public relations campaign aimed at curbing car break-ins, asking people to help by not leaving items of value in their vehicles.

“We just need people to be responsible. Common sense. Secure your valuables,” Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said at the time.

The mayor can take solace in city crime statistics that show larcenies from automobiles this year are down 9 percent. However, they are up 6 percent in the Northern District, where she lives, compared with this time last year.

City officials, including past mayors, have not been immune from crime. In 2003, a 22-year-old homeless man was charged with stealing a gym bag from a truck parked behind the home of then-Mayor Martin O’Malley.

Continue reading "Radio stolen from vehicle of Rawlings-Blake's husband" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 5:03 PM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Breaking news, City Hall, North Baltimore
        

November 10, 2010

Arundel police search for assault suspect

Anne Arundel County police put out this alert:

The above suspect is being sought in reference to an active Sexual Assault Investigation. The assault occurred on November 8, 2010, around 7:11 p.m. in the area of the 8100 block of Scenic Meadow Drive in Laurel, Maryland.

Description:    Black Male with a “chunky” build
    Facial hair with razor burn / bumps
    Approximately 6’0” Tall
    Early 30’s
Last seen wearing a maroon hooded pullover sweatshirt, dark colored sweat pants and white shoes.

If any jurisdiction or individual has information about the above suspect, please contact Detective J.R. Hartzell of the Sex Offense Squad at (410) 222-3750. CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DIVISION – SEX OFFENSE SQUAD 41 COMMUNITY PLACE CROWNSVILLE, MD 21032

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:27 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Anne Arundel County, Breaking news
        

November 9, 2010

Baltimore police make pot bust

Baltimore police announced that its Violent Crime Impact Section, working with federal authorities, busted a suspected marijuana growing center in the 4800 block of Curtis Avenue in South Baltimore.

A police spokesman said officers seized "over 400 'starter' marijuana plants and assorted growing paraphernalia, as the site was a large-scale marijuana growing operation.

The suspects were identified as Jesse Duffy (left), 29, of Severn, and Vincent Davis (right), 30, of South Baltimore.

Here is the report:

 

Continue reading "Baltimore police make pot bust" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:37 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Breaking news, South Baltimore
        

Ray Rice brags about escaping traffic ticket

 

Ravens running back Ray Rice tweeted last night that he got pulled over by police for having tinted windows "but gave the officer a autograph for his son and he let me go." (Screen grab via Inside Charm City). He went on to write: "And the officer admitted to being a die hard redskins fan I def got lucky tonight."

"Inside" first posted about the twitter messages, and it was picked up by NBC's Pro Football Talk.  The Sun's Ravens insider blog says the running back was expected to address the issue at today's practice. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Lt. Robert McCullough, the chief spokesman for the Baltimore County Police Department, confirmed a few minutes ago that an officer from his agency stopped Rice. The spokesman declined further comment but said more information would be forthcoming. said police had not talked to the officer and would not comment today.

UPDATE 2: For his part, Rice said after practice this afternoon that he was in a parking lot to buy the new Call of Duty video game and was stopped by an officer for the tinted window, according to The Sun's Jamison Hensley. He said the officer gave him a warning and then he gave the autograph. He said there was no special treatment.

So what's the state law on window tint? The Berwyn Heights Police Department in Prince George's County, addresses it here:

"The 35% Window Tint Law in Maryland means that the TOTAL amount of light being transmitted through the glass of a motor vehicle cannot be less than 35%.  In other words, it doesn't make any difference what percentage the actual window tinting film is rated at, you still cannot exceed 35% total Light Transmittance Value, or LTV for short.

Be forwarned [sic] that if you get stopped with illegally tinted windows, it's YOU that gets the $55.00 ticket, not the shop that installed it. Plus you'll have the added cost of having it removed from your vehicle, which is probably as much as it was to have it put it on!"

If a "safety equipment repair order" has been issued for a window tint violation, the problem must be corrected and the vehicle reinspected within 10 days by a member of the Maryland State Police Automotive Equipment Safety Division.

In the 1990s, a federal appeals court ruled that window tint gave police the right to search a car. "We can conceive of almost nothing more dangerous to a law enforcement officer in the context of a traffic stop than approaching an automobile whose passenger compartment is entirely hidden from the officer's view with darkly tinted windows," a judge wrote.

-Peter Hermann and Justin Fenton

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:58 PM | | Comments (36)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news
        

Retired city police officer convicted of assault

The Baltimore State's Attorney's Office sent out this statement on a retired city police officer convicted of assault. He had been retired at the time of the incident:

A Baltimore jury convicted Daniel Marshall, 61, of Eldersburg, MD of first-degree assault, use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence and reckless endangerment. Jurors deliberated approximately two hours before reaching a verdict on November 5, 2010 after a five day trial.

Judge M. Brooke Murdock scheduled sentencing for January 7, 2011. Marshall faces a  maximum possible penalty of 45 years in prison.
For more details:

Continue reading "Retired city police officer convicted of assault" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:07 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, Courts and the justice system
        

November 5, 2010

Police arrest three more suspects in beating outside Inner Harbor hotel

Baltimore police have arrested three more suspects in last month's beating of four men outside a hotel near the Inner Harbor. The Sun's Justin Fenton reported the first arrest on Wednesday.

Police got their break from a dropped cell phone:

Four men, who police said were highly intoxicated, said they were attacked as they stood outside the Intercontinental Hotel in the 500 block of Light St. in the early morning of Oct. 24. As a group of six people walked by, one of them asked if the group standing outside the hotel was laughing at him, and punched one of the men in the face.

That led to a fight, sending the four men to University of Maryland Medical Center with injuries. One victim's wallet was taken during the fight, and one of the attackers dropped a cell phone.

According to court records, two days later, a security guard at the hotel asked a co-worker if an iPhone had been left behind after the attack. The security guard said that "his boys" had "laid a beating" on some men and that one of them had dropped their phone.

The first man arrested was identified as Earl Cruz Jr., 23. Police said the other three suspects are Travis Birdsong, who turned 24 on Thursday (above middle), Ayodele Oni, 23 (above right), and Jasmine Ragler, 22 (above left). All have been charged with assault and robbery counts.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:38 PM | | Comments (27)
Categories: Breaking news, Courts and the justice system, Downtown
        

Maryland's top court to hear police records case

The Maryland Court of Appeals is to hear today arguments in a case that could open up police disciplinary records.

At issues is a claim by the ACLU and the NAACP that monitoring how state police are investigating complaints of racial profiling is impossible when authorities withhold the records.

The groups entered a consent decree to settle a lawsuit with the state, and have been told that all complaints lodged against troopers alleging they pulled someone over because of skin color were resolved in the favor of the officers. The groups want to see the records to see how the complaints were handled.

I wrote about this issue and another one that is tied to it earlier this week in Crime Scenes.

The Sun's Andrea F. Siegel previewed the case today:

The attorney general's office, which represents the state police, contends in its brief that the documents are personnel records, making them private and exempt from disclosure. The troopers' identities were not sought by the NAACP, but redacting the names does not protect the identity of the troopers, the attorney general's office argues.

"[R]ecords of investigations of complaints against state police officers and employees remain confidential," the office said in its brief.

"If the MSP were have its way, it could throw complaints of indisputably unconstitutional behavior in the trash without any investigation, and no one would ever know," lawyers for the NAACP wrote in their brief.

November 4, 2010

Female bank robber sought

Baltimore County police are seeking help identifying a female bank robber. Here are the details from the department:

Baltimore County Police need the public’s help identifying a woman responsible for robbing the Patapsco Bank in the 1300-block of Merritt Boulevard, 21222 on October 27 at approximately 2:50 p.m.

The suspect is described as a black female, 25-30 years of age, 5’8” tall, with a medium build and a medium-length black afro hairstyle.

Detectives say that the suspect entered the bank, walked up to a teller, and produced a handgun and demanded money. The teller gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of cash, and the robber walked out of the bank.

Anyone with information about the identity or whereabouts of the suspect is asked to call Baltimore County Police at 410-307-2020 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCKUP (1-866-756-2587). To text a message to Metro Crime Stoppers, send to "CRIMES" (274637), then enter the message starting with "MCS," or e-mail a tip to www.metrocrimestoppers.org. Those contacting Metro Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and might be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.   
Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:31 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news
        

November 3, 2010

Former city police officer gets prison time

A former city cop was sentenced to five years in federal prison for an assult. The Sun's Tricia Bishop reports that the cop had been convicted in state court, but that it was overturned. Federal authorities took over the case against Gregory Mussmacher:

"The power that accompanies a police officer's badge does not give the officer the right to violate the civil rights of those in his or her custody," Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ's Civil rights Division, said in a statement. "The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute any officer who abuses their power and violates the public trust in this way."

Here is a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice:

 

Continue reading "Former city police officer gets prison time" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 6:26 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime
        

Bank robber sought in Arundel

Anne Arundel County police are seeking help identifying this suspected bank robber. Here is their statement:

On November 1, 2010, at approximately 1:15 p.m., officers from the Southern District responded to the 5500 block of Muddy Creek Road in West River for a report of a bank robbery at the Bank of America.

Upon arrival, officers spoke with the bank teller, who stated that a male suspect approached the counter and passed a note demanding money and implying that he was armed. The teller handed over an unknown amount of money to the suspect, who fled the scene. Several officers and a K-9 unit responded to the scene, but were unable to locate the suspect.

Suspect: Black male in his 30’s, approximately 5’8”- 5’9”, 150 pounds, wearing a black Nascar hat with the #24 in yellow writing on the front, red and white striping and the #24 on the rear of the hat, a gray sweatshirt and dark colored sunglasses.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 9:20 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Anne Arundel County, Breaking news
        

October 29, 2010

Argument leads to man's death in Southwest

Another killing Thursday evening in Southwest Baltimore brings the week's murder count to at least eight. They include the killing of a 63-year-old bus driver on his way to work, a 16-year-old juvenile and a domestic slaying.

Police have made an arrest in the domestic killing and more details are in Justin Fenton's story here. Also, more details on these killings and others can be found on the Baltimore Sun's homicide map.

Here is some more information on the latest killing from The Sun's Yagenah June Torbati:

Continue reading "Argument leads to man's death in Southwest" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:42 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, West Baltimore
        

October 28, 2010

Top prison official guilty in money scheme

The Maryland Attorney General's Office just sent out this statement on a former top prison official who oversees Central Booking and other pre-trial detention centers with taking seized money from arrestees.

But he wasn't keeping the money -- or at least most of the money -- for his own personal use. Turns out the money was contaminated with bodily fluids, such as blood, and the official took the money and buried it in a junkyard. His attorney told me that Benjamin F. Brown, 60, took only about $800 for himself.

"He wasn't personally enriching himself," said the attorney, Creston P. Smith.

Here is the statement from the Attorney General: 

Continue reading "Top prison official guilty in money scheme" »

Boyfriend arrested in E. Baltimore stabbing

Police have arrested and charged the boyfriend of a woman who was found fatally stabbed on an East Baltimore sidewalk Monday evening.

Shakarian Frazier, 31, was being sought since Monday night, when police say four witnesses saw him stab 48-year-old Mary Williams during an argument in the 2000 block of E. Oliver. Police recovered the murder weapon at the scene - it was resting on the steps of a vacant home near a large pool of blood.

Police wrote in charging documents that Frazier and Williams had a long history of domestic violence, though court records show that they never sought intervention from police and the court system.

Williams' daughter told me on Tuesday that Frazier had just gotten out of jail, where he had been held on a gun charge, and that he had been abusive upon returning home. "He never put his hands on my mother until my grandfather passed away," the daughter said.

Court records show Frazier has a long history of convictions for drug dealing and drug possession, in 2007 receiving a 20-year sentence in which all but four months were suspended. He would have still been on that probation when he was convicted of possession of a firearm and drug charges in February of this year, and it's unclear why that did not trigger a violation of his probation on the 20-year suspended sentence. He received two years for the new charges, and appears to have served less than eight months - not necessarily uncommon for a charge considered "non-violent." We've got a few calls out to try to get some clarity on the situation. 

Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:57 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Breaking news, East Baltimore
        

Don't rob the bank where you bank

The week of Oct. 4, authorities say Randolph Wells Jr. cashed a work check at Harbor Bank at Fayette and Charles streets in downtown Baltimore.

On Oct. 13, the FBI says the same man returned to rob the branch at gunpoint.

He escaped with $3,549 but apparently left an indelible impression on a teller. She recognized him from the previous week and police and federal agents were able to track him down from the check he had cashed, which listed his employer's name and address.

Authorities arrested Wells Oct. 19 and a federal grand jury indicted him on Wednesday. In a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, the FBI says Wells was on supervised release at the time of the holdup and has been convicted twice in the past of robbing banks, once using a gun, another time with a knife.

For more details:

Continue reading "Don't rob the bank where you bank" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:38 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, Downtown
        

Store owner shoots burglar; student assaulted with gun

A man who tried to break into a store on York Road in North Baltimore was shot in the leg by the owner, city police said this morning. Few details were available, and it's unclear whether the store was open or closed.

The shooting occurred about 4:45 a.m. and the address of the incident is a beauty supply store, reports The Sun's Yeganeh June Torbati.

Police also are investigating a gun incident at a city school. The Sun's Jessica Anderson reports:

City school officials said a student hit another student with a handgun inside the locker room at the Institute for Business and Entrepreneurship high school in West Baltimore Monday. City Schools police received a report from a school coach that a student had a handgun in a locker room after school Monday. The incident remains under investigation and school officials said a warrant has been issued for the student's arrest. The unidentified student has not returned to school, officials said.
Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:57 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, North Baltimore
        

October 27, 2010

Funeral services for city police officer

Here are some pictures from today's funeral mass for Baltimore Police Officer Tommy Portz Jr., who was killed last week when his cruiser hit the back of a fire engine. The photos were taken by The Sun's Barbara Haddock Taylor outside The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in North Baltimore.

 

 

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:47 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, City Hall, Confronting crime, North Baltimore
        

Man in critical condition after Mondawmin shooting

A man shot in the Mondawmin area of Northwest Baltimore is in critical condition this morning -- the latest in a spate of violence that left five people dead in less than 24 hours Monday and Tuesday.

The Sun's Yeganeh June Torbati reports this morning that the 24-year-old was shot in the 2000 block of North Bentalou Street Tuesday night.

Justin Fenton, The Sun's police reporter, has a story today documenting the violence, which includes a 16-year-old boy and a 63-year-old school bus driver who was shot while heading off to work in West Baltimore.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 9:24 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Northwest Baltimore, West Baltimore
        

October 25, 2010

Judge John N. Prevas dies from heart attack

Late confirmation tonight that Baltimore Circuit Court Judge John N. Prevas, 63, has died from an apparent heart attack. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed that police were notified that Prevas had been taken to Mercy Hospital complaining of chest pains at about 2 p.m., and he was pronounced dead later in the evening. Homicide detectives were notified, though Guglielmi said that is routine and no foul play was suspected.

Prevas was the chief judge of the Circuit Court, a ceremonial title given to the judge with the most seniority. He spent 15 years as an assistant state's attorney, according to his official bio, and was appointed to the bench as an associate judge in 1986. He was a City College graduate who earned degrees from Syracuse and the University of Maryland School of Law. He also served as an executive assistant to U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes from 1975-76.

Judge John Themelis, who retired from the Circuit Court, told The Sun's Liz Bowie that he grew up with Prevas. "He was a very hard-working, honest and dedicated person. His work always came first," Themelis said.

Prevas presided over untold trials, though he rarely made reference to the fact that he had himself been a city crime victim, shot in the arm with a blast from a shotgun in 1972. From a 1992 article by Sun columnist Dan Rodricks:

Continue reading "Judge John N. Prevas dies from heart attack" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 10:18 PM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Breaking news, Courts and the justice system
        

Funeral for officer underway

The funeral for Baltimore Police Detective Brian Stevenson took place at 10 this morning at New Antioch Baptist Church in Randallstown. Here are some pictures from the procession by The Sun's Jed Kirschbaum.

Stevenon was off-duty and killed last weekend during a dispute over a parking space in Canton. Police have charged a suspect with hitting the detective with a chunk of concrete. Here are additional details.

On Wednesday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 North Charles St., services for Baltimore Police Officer Thomas Portz will begin at 11 a.m. Portz was killed last week when his cruiser hit the back of a fire engine that had stopped on Route 40.

 

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:58 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Top brass
        

October 20, 2010

Baltimore police officer killed in crash

UPDATE: The Baltimore police officer injured in the car crash has died.

Baltimore police will updating the public shortly on this mornings crash involving a city fire truck and a police cruiser in West Baltimore. The Western District officer was rushed to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, but there have been few updates on his condition. We're told it's grave. The photo at left was taken by The Sun's Barbara Haddock Taylor.

Here is a brief report from The Sun's police reporter Justin Fenton:

A city police officer was badly injured and at least one firefighter was taken to a local hospital after the officer rear-ended a fire engine on U.S. 40. A police spokesman said emergency vehicles were responding to a medical call at Calhoun and Franklin streets when the police cruiser struck Engine 68 on eastbound U.S. 40 at the Stricker Street overpass.

Police shut down traffic to clear a route to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. An update on the officer's condition was not immediately provided. The front end and windshield of the police car, observed at the scene, were crushed in the incident, with the front fender completely off the vehicle.

Police are still busy preparing for a funeral for Detective Brian Stevenson, who was killed over the weekend while off-duty in a dispute over a parking space in Canton. You can read a full account of that story and the arrest here. Another city officer was killed in a traffic accident in Pennsylvania earlier this month. 

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:01 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, West Baltimore
        

Clergy target Lansdowne gun shop

The clergymen stood inside the Lansdowne gun shop on Hollins Ferry Road, over a glass counter containing what they called the “instruments of death” responsible for turning the streets of Baltimore into a killing field.

“The city is devastated by violence — gun violence,” pressed Rev. Eugene Sutton, a bishop with the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, whose group protested this store on Wednesday. “We’re trying to get the illegal guns off the street. Too many people are dying. It’s destroying Baltimore.”

Bill and Clyde Blamberg, owners of Clyde’s Sport Shop for more than a half century, listened politely but firmly told the group to seek help elsewhere — Annapolis in particular. They refused to sign a code of conduct and agree to voluntary inspections and other restrictions beyond that of what state and federal law requires.

“They’re do-gooders who are trying their best to make a difference,” said 69-year-old Clyde Blamberg, out of earshot of the protest group called Heeding God's Call. Added his brother Bill, “We’re close to Baltimore City and we do make a lot of sales, all of them legal. What this group is doing isn’t going to do a lot good.”

(In the picture: Bill Blamberg, left, looks down his store's wall of guns as his brother Clyde Blamberg (second from left) shakes hands with the Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, the bishop of Maryland for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. By The Sun's Jed Kirschbaum)

For more:

Continue reading "Clergy target Lansdowne gun shop" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:51 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news, Confronting crime
        

October 19, 2010

Teen arrested in shopping center stabbing

Baltimore County police just announced an arrest in a stabbing in White Marsh that occurred Monday afternoon near a Panera Bread. Here is there statement:

Yesterday Baltimore County Police responded to the parking lot area in the 6400-block of Petrie Way near a Panera Bread in Precinct 9/White Marsh for the report of a stabbing at approximately 1:15 p.m. When they arrived they found the victim, Michael Rector, 44, of Baltimore, suffering from a serious laceration to his neck. He was transported to Bayview Hospital where he underwent surgery on arrival, and is currently listed in serious but stable condition.

Officers at the scene discovered that Timothy Criner, 15, of the 3900-block of Fleetwood Ave., 21206, stabbed Rector and fled the scene. Other officers responding to the scene found Criner in another area of the shopping center parking lot and took him into custody. Michael Rector is currently dating Criner's mother. Detectives believe that a possible motive may have been that Timothy Criner was not happy about his mother dating Rector.

Timothy Criner has been charged as an adult with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault. He is currently being detained at the Baltimore County Detention Center on bail denied. He is scheduled to have a bail review sometime today.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:29 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news, Confronting crime
        

October 17, 2010

Baltimore detective, 37, killed in off-duty assault

An off-duty Baltimore police detective, taking part in the Canton nightlife on the eve of his birthday Saturday, was killed after being struck in the head after an argument, police said. He would have turned 38 today.

Brian Stevenson, an 18-year veteran, was pronounced dead at Johns Hopkins Bayview not long after he was attacked in the 2800 block of Hudson St. at about 10 p.m. Acting on witness descriptions, police located several suspects and expected to charge them.

Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III told reporters outside the hospital that the argument was "incredibly petty."

"It's an incredible tragedy for the family, for all of us," said Bealefeld, who spoke with Stevenson's family members along with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "The city's losing.. we're losing a fantastic detective who works to make people safe in this city. It's just senseless."

Bealefeld said Stevenson was having dinner with a longtime friend at a Canton club when they got into an argument in a parking lot, reportedly over a parking space. Crime scene technicians were processing evidence in the parking lot of a Mercy Medical Center eye care clinic at 2801 Hudson Street.

Police said the suspect picked up an object - a rock or piece of concrete - and hurled it at Stevenson, striking him in the right temple and causing him to fall to the ground.

Continue reading "Baltimore detective, 37, killed in off-duty assault" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:03 AM | | Comments (18)
Categories: Breaking news, Southeast Baltimore
        

October 15, 2010

Man charged with killing infant

City police have charged a 20-year-old Baltimore man in the death of a six-month-old, police said tonight. On Oct. 13, officers responded to the 3800 block of Glengyle Ave. in the Falstaff neighborhood after the child's father, Timothy Darnell Lewis, called for a non-breathing child. The child was transported to Sinai and was pronounce dead just before midnight. Lewis initially said he had simply found the child, but later admitted that he had choked the child after becoming frustrated with incessant crying.

Lewis, of the 3800 block of Glengyle Ave., was charged today and ordered held without bond. Court records show that he did not have a prior record.

 
Posted by Justin Fenton at 7:32 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, Northwest Baltimore
        

October 13, 2010

Baltimore gets grant to fight "bad guys with guns"

Baltimore officials announced this morning a grant to fight "bad guys with guns," the city police commissioner's central crime fighting strategy. The Sun's Justin Fenton Julie Scharper covered the event and will have an update.

Meanwhile, here is the statement from the mayor:

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld, III, and Congressman C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger joined representatives from Johns Hopkins University to announce a highly competitive grant award to aid in Baltimore’s fight against gun violence. The $300,000 Smart Policing Grant, one of only six awarded in the nation, will fund Baltimore Police Department’s (BPD) gun suppression efforts and establish the agency’s enforcement program as a national model of best policing practices.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance Smart Policing Grant will assist BPD’s Violent Crime Impact Section in arresting and convicting violent gun offenders through partnerships with state and federal prosecutors and the U.S. Attorney’s EXILE program.

“Reducing gun violence is our number-one public safety priority,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “This year, the BPD has arrested more than 700 individuals on illegal gun possession charges and seized nearly 1,800 illegal guns from city streets. With this additional support from our federal partners, we will continue to enhance our gun suppression strategies.”

“The men and women of the Baltimore Police Department have done a tremendous job putting intense, sustained pressure on criminals using illegal guns,” said Commissioner Bealefeld. “Year-to-date, non-fatal shootings are down 10% and overall gun crime is down 15%.”

For more details:

Continue reading "Baltimore gets grant to fight "bad guys with guns"" »

October 11, 2010

Stolen car leaves path of destruction

The driver of a stolen SUV from Washington went on what police describe as a "path of destruction" while trying to elude capture in West Baltimore on Monday. Police said members of the Regional Auto Theft Task Force about 3 p.m. tried to stop the vehicle when its driver sped away on West North Avenue.

It collided with a car at Hilton Parkway, causing minor damage and injuries, and then went up an alley into a townhouse complex about a block away. There, police said it ran over a mailbox and rammed three parked cars, causing them to burst into flames. The fire charred the vehicles and rendered the stolen SUV unrecognizable. Fire also melted the sidings on several townhouses.

Police said the man ran from the burning SUV and boarded an MTA bus. The driver pulled away and then stopped, and police arrested the man.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 4:37 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, West Baltimore
        

Murders continue in Baltimore

Five people were killed in Baltimore over the weekend and the gunmen didn't stop today. About 9:25 a.m., police responded to 911 calls for gunshots and found the body of an adult male behind some rowhouses on Shirley Avenue, just off Park Heights. Police said he had been shot in the head.

We don't know much about this latest killing and detectives are still at the scene at this hour. But the department has been taxed with a spate of shootings and now six deaths since just before midnight Saturday.

They are scattered over the city from this latest one in a blighted neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore to the shaded streets of Oakenshawe juts north of Union Memorial Hospital. Police are planning a command staff meeting for this afternoon and we should have some more details then.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:29 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, Courts and the justice system
        

October 7, 2010

Police seek murder suspect in killing of elderly man

Breaking news statement from Baltimore police:

The Baltimore Police Department’s Warrant Apprehension Task Force detectives are looking for Gary Latham (M/W/27) for the murder of a 73 year-old John Sandy. Mr. Sandy was beaten on April 18, 2010 in the 3500 block of Elm Ave. On July 13, 2010 Mr. Sandy died as a result of the injuries sustained in the assault.

On September 13th, an arrest warrant was obtained for Gary Latham charging him with 1st degree murder. Latham is currently on the run. He lives with his wife in the 800 block of Wellington Avenue and has been seen in the area within the last 2 weeks, mostly at night. He has relatives living throughout the city, in the Dundalk and Essex areas of Baltimore County and in Harford County.

Anyone knowing of Gary Latham’s whereabouts is asked to call the Warrant Apprehension Task Force at 410-637-8970.

One man, 29-year-old Bobby Wisner, was charged in August in connection with the death of Sandy, a cab driver. Sandy identified his attacker as "Bobby," who he said was the brother of a man who lived with him. He slipped into a coma, but eventually woke up and identified Wisner from a photo lineup. It was not immediately clear how police believe Latham is tied to the crime.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:46 PM | | Comments (20)
Categories: Breaking news, North Baltimore
        

Baltimore County cops make marijuana bust

Baltimore County police announced today what they hail as the largest drug bust in their department's history -- 478 marijuana plants and 640 pounds of processed marijuana.

Police said they also seized from a warehouse about $12,000, grow system lights, electrical systems, venting systems, and a truck and trailer. "The suspects were renting a warehouse at the location and built a two story marijuana grow operation inside," police said in a statement.

The suspects who were arrested, Joseph Jesus Guadagnoli, 39, and Megan Bailey Veitch, 28, are pictured here in mug shots.

Gaudagnoli was previously arrested in 2007 after a 9-month investigation involving federal and local authorities. At that time, police said they seized $230,000 worth of marijuana that was growing there. He ended up receiving five years in prison, but all but 9 months of the sentence was suspended, which he served at home with an ankle bracelet.  (Hat tip to Baltimore Crime blog)

The cops are planning a news conference this afternoon to talk about the case and display the drugs. Last year, I wrote about police agencies bragging about large busts, after a former city police commissioner complained that the current city commissioner had misled the public into thinking his seizure was bigger.

Here are some other police drug busts over the years:

In 2009, city police seized 90 pounds of cocaine. In 2004, city police and federal authorities seized 338 pounds of cocaine. Maryland State Police got 14.2 pound of cocaine in a car stop on I-95 in 1996, and found 176 pounds of cocaine in another car stop in Cecil County in 2006. The DEA got 2,000 pounds of cocaine from a city warehouse in 1997, and U.S. Customs found two tons of marijuana at the port in 2001.

Here is a release from today's announcement by Baltimore County police:

Continue reading "Baltimore County cops make marijuana bust" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:12 AM | | Comments (66)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news, Confronting crime
        

October 6, 2010

Police crash in Woodlawn; shootings in city

Today opens with news of an accident involving a police car in Baltimore County that shut Security Boulevard and Rolling Road. Authorities say the road could be open by now; no fatalities were reported.

In Baltimore,  a woman was killed and a man injured when a gunman opened fire in the Cherry Hill neighborhood. The double-shooting occurred about 11:45 p.m. on Claflin Court. No arrests have been made.

For a complete look at city homicides, visit the Baltimore Sun's murder map.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:09 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news, South Baltimore
        

October 5, 2010

Man fleeing police crashes into car

A man fleeing police in a stolen Mercedes Monday night in East Baltimore struck another vehicle being driven by a 26-year-old woman and occupied by her 6-year-old son, police said this morning.

The child was taken to Johns Hopkins Children's Center but did not appear to suffer any injuries, according to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. The woman and the suspect also were not injured.

Police charged Antoine Chesley, 31, of the 200 block of Mason Court in Southeast Baltimore, with auto theft and various traffic violations.

Guglielmi said that about 6:40 p.m., an Eastern District officer saw the man walking down the street in Latrobe Homes while clutching his waistband. The spokesman and the officer saw the man get into a 1999 Mercedes Benz and drive away.

Police said officer put a description out for the suspect, who be believed to be armed, "and attempted to follow at a safe distance behind. Guglielmi said about 90 second later, the Mercedes struck a 2001 Acura at North Broadway and East Federal Street.

Guglielmi said the man ran from the crash but was caught a few blocks away. The spokesman also said it appeared that he had been drinking, but results of a breathalyzer test were not immediately available.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:48 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, East Baltimore
        

October 4, 2010

Jurors deliberating fate of men charged with killing Harris have questions

The Sun's Nick Madigan is covering the trial of the men charged with killing a former city councilman. Here's his latest update:

The jury considering the fate of three men accused of the murder of Kenneth N. Harris had two questions today — neither of which the judge answered.


In the first, jurors wondered how many guns had been used in the hold-up of the New Haven Lounge where Harris was shot two years ago, to which retired Baltimore Circuit Judge David Ross responded that the jury had to refer to the evidence at their disposal.

(Complete trial coverage can be found here.)


The second question was whether Jerome Williams, who was 15 at the time of the robbery, was holding a gun during the crime. The answer from the judge was the same. It is rare in criminal trials for a judge to answer a jury’s factual questions about evidence or testimony once deliberations have begun, since the phrasing of any answer could be interpreted as prejudicial to one side or another.


Juries are provided with every shred of evidence presented during trials by prosecution and defense, including, in the Harris case, bandanas, a mask and surgical gloves from which incriminating DNA evidence was obtained. The Harris jurors also have copies of surveillance videos — and still images lifted from them — captured of the shopping plaza that houses the Haven as well as the interior of the club before and during the hold-up in the early hours of Sept. 20, 2008.

There were no images of the shooting of Harris, but two of the robbers can be seen holding guns.
Prosecutors said during the trial that Williams, the man DNA evidence pinned as the wearer of the mask, was the likely shooter of the former councilman. In the video, the masked assailant joins his two accomplices inside the bar some moments after the pair have already burst in, suggesting that the masked man was busy with the shooting outside and that only when he was finished did he enter the club.

The jury’s questions came shortly before they wrapped up their second day of deliberations, which they began on Friday afternoon.


The defendants — Gary Collins and Charles McGaney, both 22, and Williams, 17 — face life in prison if convicted of the crimes. More than two dozen charges were filed against each.

Man gets 50 years in shooting of officers

A 35-year-old man was sentenced to serve 50 years in prison for shooting and seriously wounded two Baltimore police officers. The incident occurred as a result of a domestic dispute in the summer of 2009. Here are the details from a statement issued by the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office:

Judge Charles Peters sentenced Shawn Sinclair, 35, of the 2400 block of Harlem Avenue to life in prison suspend all but 50 years with the first 10 years without parole.  Sinclair pled guilty June 10, 2010 to two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of use of handgun in the commission of a crime of violence for crimes committed during an early morning domestic dispute that turned violent, with two police officers shot and seriously wounded.  Both officers offered victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing on September 23.

During the early morning hours of July 18, 2009 Shawn Sinclair, the defendant, became involved in a verbal dispute with his wife Angela Green, at 2412 Harlem Ave. The dispute escalated and the defendant assaulted his wife by punching her multiple times in her face.  He left the house and drove off in a red Ford Explorer – Maryland Tag # 14518M1 - that he and his wife owned.  After the defendant left the house, Ms. Green called the police to report the domestic assault.

For more details:

Continue reading "Man gets 50 years in shooting of officers" »

Holton pleads no contest to campaign finance charges

Baltimore City Councilwoman Helen Holton pleaded no contest to violating campaign finance laws, charges that grew out of the prosecution of former Mayor Sheila Dixon.

The Sun's Julie Scharper reports that Holton had been accused of "exceeding campaign finance limits by asking bakery magnate John Paterakis Sr. and developer Ronald Lipscomb to pay $12,500 to fund a poll during her election campaign."

Julie reports that Holton received probation before judgment, was fined $2,500 and must serve one year of unsupervised probation. The offense is classified as a misdemeanor.

October 1, 2010

Top cop goes camping

Baltimore’s police commissioner hasn’t camped out in years, but there he was Friday night at Fort McHenry, fitting poles together and setting up a tent with the help of two young boy scouts.

Shane McCormick, 16, from Troop 870 in Pasadena, and Marquise Dunlap, 10, from Thurgood Marshall Troop 193 in Baltimore, helped the city’s top cop set up his new digs in the federal park at the end of East Fort Avenue.

At left, Bealefeld is shaking hands with Marquise.

“Under the night sky and stars,” Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said of spending the night with hundreds of boy scouts who are camping out this weekend as part of a celebration of 100 years of scouting.

“I asked how could I demonstrate my support,” Bealefeld said. “They said, ‘Camp out.’”

For more on the outing:

Continue reading "Top cop goes camping" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 9:41 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, Top brass
        

September 30, 2010

One man shot dead, another injured in city

Two men were shot in Baltimore over night, one fatally.

A 55-year-old man died from wounds he received in a shooting on Bowley's Lane in the Frankford neighborhood of Northeast Baltimore. The shooting occurred about 8:40 p.m.

About 10:45 p.m., another man was shot on Boarman Avenue in Northwest Baltimore. He walked to a hospital on his own with a gunshot wound to his back.

No arrests have been made.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:51 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Northeast Baltimore, Northwest Baltimore
        

September 29, 2010

NW District drug unit disbanded amid investigations

[Here's the link to the full story, which appears in Thursday's paper]

City police have disbanded the plainclothes unit that investigates drugs in Northwest Baltimore amid allegations of misconduct against at least three officers in two different units, the department confirmed.

Six officers who comprise the Northwest District drug unit were sent back to patrol amid the suspension of the unit’s supervisor and one officer, who are accused of using a stolen license plate on an unmarked vehicle, said Anthony Guglielmi, the department’s chief spokesman.

Separately, an officer assigned to the elite Violent Crimes Impact Section (VCIS) was suspended last week after being targeted in an internal affairs “integrity sting,” which is typically used to catch officers pocketing drugs or money.

Guglielmi confirmed that the officer was suspended and that police were conferring with the state’s attorney’s office on charges, but would not comment further. Sources identified the officer as Kody Taylor, a three-year veteran, and said he is accused of pocketing money planted on an undercover officer.

“These are internal personnel matters being investigated by internal affairs,” Guglielmi said. “We’re going to determine if there’s any criminal component to this, and if there is, we’ll work with the state’s attorney’s office’s police misconduct unit.”

The breaking up of the Northwest drug unit comes amid a slew of shootings in the district, which includes the Arlington, Park Heights, and Reisterstown Station neighborhoods. Six people were shot in the district between Friday morning and Sunday night.

More in tomorrow's paper and online.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:49 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Breaking news, Northwest Baltimore
        

Parents of dead teen continue to press for answers

The parents of Annie McCann continue to seek answers.

Convinced that their 16-year-old daughter did not run away from her Virginia home of her own volition, and did not kill herself once she reached Baltimore by drinking Bactine, Daniel and Mary Jane McCann (at left, in a photo by The Sun's Amy Davis) are refusing to give up.

Read more on the twists in the case here.

The couple have scheduled a news conference for Thursday to update the public on their private investigation. They say have "significant new developments" into the case but wouldn't divulge them to me on Wednesday.

As you might remember, Annie left home Oct. 31, leaving behind a note that said she had contemplated suicide but decided to run away instead. Her body was found two days later off Lombard Street east of the Inner Harbor. Her car was found dumped two blocks away.

The cases has had dozens of twists and turns, including youths who admitted to finding her body in the car, removing it to near a trash bin at a public housing complex and taking the car for a ride. There were other suicide notes, written and crossed out, found both at Annie's home and by her body. The Medical Examiner has ruled the cause of her death undetermined but said she overdoses on lidocaine from drinking a bottle of the antiseptic Bactine.

Did she drink it herself or did someone force her to down the bottle? The McCanns say the drug wasn't enough to kill her, that her note indicated she had changed her mind and was not a declaration of suicide, that she met at least two mysterious people in Baltimore. They are angry that Baltimore police shelved the investigation in March 2009, saying they're sure Annie took her own life.

It is not a conclusion the McCann's can live with. We'll have more have the news conference on Thursday.


September 28, 2010

Veteran city officer dies in Pa. crash

A 33-year Baltimore police veteran was killed Monday evening in a single-vehicle accident in Pennsylvania while traveling to a training program, police said.

Officer James E. Fowler III, of Catonsville, was driving through Lewiston Lewistown, Pa. at about 5:25 p.m. when his 2002 Chevrolet truck hit a berm on U.S. 22/322 West and came to rest along a concrete barrier on the left side of the roadway.

Fowler joined the Baltimore Police Department in 1976 after he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy. The bulk of his career was spent in the patrol division and traffic investigations, Guglielmi said.

According to a 1993 Sun article, he was dispatched to respond to a citizen's call of a frantic woman screaming and helped deliver a baby in the back of a police wagon. Fowler had received medical training in the Navy and served as a volunteer medic with a Carroll County fire department.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 12:23 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Breaking news
        

Killing at Perkins prompts review of violent history

The killing of one patient allegedly by another patient at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center for the criminally insane raises lots of questions. Baltimore Sun reporter Yeganeh June Torbati describes a state audit that shows a history of violence at the facility.

But even more troubling is how the suspect, El Soudani El-Wahhabi, a convicted killer and sexual predator, had been housed on the same floor with women. He is charged with killing Susan Sachs, whose body was found Sunday morning face down in her bed with a string around her neck.

El-Wahhabi had been to Perkins before, when he was deemed unfit for trial after he was charged with sexually assaulting his sister-in-law while he was wearing lingerie. While at Perkins that time, he was convicted of assaulting a guard. In 1995, he killed a woman during a struggle in which part of his tongue was bitten off (the piece was found at the crime scene, linking him to the death).

Workers at Perkins told Torbati that the suspect had not threatened anyone in years but why take the chance with someone with that kind of history. Sachs had been convicted of a killing several years ago in Chevy Chase.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:44 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, Courts and the justice system, Howard County
        

September 27, 2010

Motorcyclist wins taping case against state police

A Harford County Circuit Court judge ruled this afternoon that a motorcyclist who was arrested for videotaping his traffic stop by a Maryland State Trooper was within his rights to record the confrontation.

Judge Emory A Plitt Jr. tossed all the charges filed against Anthony Graber, leaving only speeding and other traffic violations, and most likely sparing him a trial that had been scheduled for Oct. 12. The judge ruled that Maryland's wire tap law allows recording of both voice and sound in areas where privacy cannot be expected. He ruled that a police officer on a traffic stop has no expectation of privacy.

"Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public," the judge wrote. "When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation."

Posted by Peter Hermann at 3:06 PM | | Comments (84)
Categories: Breaking news, Courts and the justice system, Harford County
        

White supremacist gets 31 years for attacking black fisherman

White supremacist Calvin Lockner, whose nickname is "Hitler," was sentenced this morning to 31 years in prison for attacking a 77-year-old black fisherman at a city park. For more details, read court reporter's Tricia Bishop's story.

The 29-year-old Lockner, a convicted sex offender, did not speak at the hearing but his public defender read a statement into the record in which his client apologized.

The victim, James Privott, described the attack.  Bishop reports:

 "Standing four feet from his attacker, James Privott, 77, outlined the effects of the August 2009 battering, which left him with a fractured eye socket, missing teeth and expensive doctor bills.

"'The situation put my wife and I and my family in a stressful, stressful'" position, Privott said. "'My wife basically had to take over for me… For three weeks I couldn't see.'"

Piece of tongue key evidence against killer

The patient at Clifton T. Perkins mental hospital charged with killing another patient had been committed after being found not criminally responsible for killing a woman in Baltimore in 1995 -- and leaving a piece of his tongue behind at the crime scene.

El-Soudani El-Wahhabi, also known as Saladin Ishmael Taylor, had a quarter-sized piece of his tongue bitten off during a struggle with Mona Johnson inside her Laurens Street rowhouse where her body was found.

According to a Baltimore Sun article written by then police reporter David Simon, Taylor showed up to his parole office after the slaying complaining about missing part of his tongue, which police had found at the slaying scene.

Taylor had known Johnson but I wasn't able to immediately discern a motive for the slaying. Taylor was committed to Perkins and now Maryland State Police say that on Sunday he killed patient Susan Sachs who was found with a string around her neck.

A motive for that killing hasn't been revealed. The Washington Post reports that Sachs fatally stabbed her 71-year-old landlord in Chevy Chase in 2004.

Simon reported that Taylor had served three years at Perkins in Jessup before being released in 1993. While there, he was convicted of assaulting a patient. Simon reported he has a history of sex offenses dating back to the 1980s. 

 

Four shot in city over weekend; more gun seizures

Update: two more shootings to add to the list, one of them fatal.

Baltimore police reported four people shot in the city over the weekend, the latest about 10 p.m. Sunday night on Denison Street and Piemont Avenue. Few details have been released but police said an adult male was shot three times in the stomach. There is no immediate word on his condition.

Three others were shot and wounded this weekend -- on Oswego Avenue, Perring Parkway and Chelsea Terrace.

Police also reported seizing several guns. A tip led officers to an armed man in the 5500 block of Frankford Avenue and the recovery of a .22 caliber Beretta. A raid in the 5300 block of Denmore Avenue got police a .22 caliber handgun, heroin and money.

A traffic stop on Annapolis Road netted an arrest the seizure of marijuana and a 9mm handgun, according to police. And detectives arrested a man in the 3500 block of West Belvedere Avenue and got a .45 caliber handgun.

 

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:15 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, West Baltimore
        

September 23, 2010

Howard County police arrest 'preppy burglar'

Howard County police just announced they arrested the so-called "preppy burglar" who they caught on video breaking into a house earlier this month. Police said they arrested him at his home after getting a tip from soneone who saw the story on television.

To watch the video.

He's identified as Jeremy Matthew Hall, 30, of Silo Way in Silver Spring. Police said he is facing burglary, theft and destruction of property charges. Police gave him his nickname because he was dressed in a button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up, gray dress pants and a red tie.

We're doing some background checking to see who this man is what he does for a living.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 6:47 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Howard County
        

Shootings "like an underworld war"


[This post has been updated]

Marie Daramy calls it an “underworld war.”

It used to be that her street in East Baltimore was full of drug dealers – they sat on the steps, hung out on the corners. Residents knew this, and when a shooting broke out, she said it was easy to chalk it up to the activity outside.

These days, the street is typically clear, and the overt dealing is largely a memory. But the violence persists.

“This place was full, and every house had a drug dealer,” said Daramy, who has lived in her home for 20 years. “[Now], you don’t know who, you don’t know why. It’s like an underworld war.”

On Thursday morning, police were back on her street, the 1500 block of N. Broadway, which splits the Oliver and Broadway East communities. A man was shot multiple times in the torso and found in front of a home about 10:12 a.m. Homicide detectives huddled over the blood-stained limestone steps, where a cap and a can of Sprite were left behind.

By late afternoon, the Fire Department had washed away the blood and police had posted two cars on the corner, with officers passing out crime watch pamphlets. The daughter of the 95-year-old woman who lives at the home where the body was found said her mother has dementia and did not hear the shots.

“Did somebody get hurt?” the mother asked.

Yes, somebody got hurt, her daughter said. Killed, in fact.

Continue reading "Shootings "like an underworld war"" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 11:50 AM | | Comments (52)
Categories: Breaking news, East Baltimore
        

September 22, 2010

Howard County cops seek 'preppy burglar'

Howard County police are seeking a bespectacled man dressed in a shirt and tie caught breaking into a house. Be sure to watch the video -- it shows the burglary in progress. The cops have dubbed him the "preppy burglar."

092210WantedBurglar (2)
Posted by Peter Hermann at 2:50 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, Howard County
        

City police talk about mall robberies live on Internet

The Baltimore Police Department has scheduled a news conference for 11:15 a.m. to update the public on a series of robberies at Mondawmin Mall. The event will be live-streamed, meaning you can watch it as it happens.

Here is the link the press conference.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:49 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, Top brass, West Baltimore
        

City police select new commander to oversee sex offense unit reforms

Baltimore police have found a new commander to oversee reforms in the sex offense unit, selecting Dep. Maj. Clifton McWhite, of the Western District, to fill a vacant position overseeing special investigations.

Police thought they had this position filled before in July, when Maj. Scott Bloodsworth, the commander of the Southern District, was asked to move downtown and head the unit. But Bloodsworth instead opted to retire, and police have been searching for a replacement ever since. In the meantime, police have changed protocols for rape investigations, detectives have been sent to re-training, and an extensive review is underway to determine if cases marked as "unfounded" since 2009 were properly classified.

McWhite is a 15-year veteran whose experience includes homicide investigations, such as the killing of a Johns Hopkins student in 2004. In the past year he has jumped from lieutenant to deputy major of the Western District. He doesn't have experience with sex offense investigations, and officials believe that may be a plus given the way the unit has operated for the past several years. In his new role, he'll oversee child abuse, sex offense, missing persons, financial fraud, and the citywide robbery and pawn shop units.

[Picture by Sun photographer Karl Merton Ferron]

Continue reading "City police select new commander to oversee sex offense unit reforms" »

Posted by Justin Fenton at 9:29 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Top brass, West Baltimore
        

New technology helps convict domestic abuse suspect

New technology designed to detect hard-to-see injuries has been successfully used to prosecute a domestic violence suspect in the city. Called an Alternative Light Source, staffers at Mercy Medical Center used it to detect bruises hidden under a victim's skin.

(In the photo by The Sun's Kim Hairston, Angela Primeau, a forensic nurse examiner at Mercy Medical Center, shows off the Spex forensics handscope, which uses light of different wavelengths to reveal bruising in domestic violence cases).

As a result, the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office says a 31-year-old man was found guilty of assault and sentenced to eight years in prison. A Baltimore Circuit Court judge allowed the Mercy nurse to testify about the technology.

Baltimore Sun reporter Kate Smith described the new technology in a story published earlier this month.

A statement from city prosecutors:

While at Mercy Medical Center, the victim was examined by Barbara Boal, R.N., F.N.E. – A, a forensic nurse with the hospital’s SAFE program. She observed and photographed bruising to the victim’s chest, back, and neck.
She then examined the victim using an Alternative Light Source (ALS), a technology that will allow its user to observe bruises underneath the skin and not yet visible to the naked eye.
Using the ALS, Nurse Boal was able to see additional bruising to the victim’s neck consistent with her report of being strangled with one hand. She also observed substantial bruising to the victim’s chest, caused by blood vessels bursting while the victim was deprived of oxygen during the strangulation.
For more details:

Continue reading "New technology helps convict domestic abuse suspect" »

September 21, 2010

Ravens coach charged with DUI

An assistant coach with the Baltimore Ravens was arrested Saturday on the Beltway and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Crime reporter Justin Fenton wrote:

Andy Moeller, 46, an assistant offensive line coach, was stopped by a trooper for speeding just before 1 a.m. Saturday on the outer loop of the beltway at Greenspring Ave., according to state police spokesman Greg Shipley.

Moeller showed signs of being impaired and was charged with seven traffic violations, including driving while under the influence. Shipley said Moeller signed the citations and was released to a sober driver.

It's not the first time for Moeller. Fenton reports that he was charged with the same offense back in May and acquitted in August. There was no comment from the Ravens.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:07 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Baltimore County, Breaking news, Confronting crime
        

Shot Hopkins doctor improving

The Johns Hopkins doctor who was shot during last week's standoff in a hospital building is improving, according to officials. David B. Cohen has been upgraded to good condition. This picture is at left from a Johns Hopkins Hospital website screen shot.

He was shot by Paul Warren Pardus, who apparently was upset that his mother might have to go into a hospice. Police said Pardus shot Cohen, then killed his mother and himself. Police, believing Pardus was holding his mother hostage, locked down part of the campus for hours.

Baltimore Sun reporter Yeganeh June Torbati reports today that the doctor's wife issued a statement:

"We are deeply appreciative of the outpouring of support and concern for us during this difficult time. We are especially grateful to everyone at Johns Hopkins who worked to make David's recovery possible. Now it is important that our time and energy be focused on David's recovery. David is in good condition and continuing to recover more and more every day. We are asking the media to please respect our privacy during this time of healing. Thanks for your understanding."
Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:44 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, East Baltimore
        

Five shot in new round of city violence

Baltimore police are continuing to investigate two multiple shootings that occurred Monday night -- three men shot and wounded in Brooklyn and two others shot in East Baltimore.

One victim was listed in critical condition from the South Baltimore shootings; homicide detectives are investigating the shootings near Greenmount Cemetery but there's been no word on their conditions.

For more details, police reporter Justin Fenton has a fuller account.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:40 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Breaking news, East Baltimore, South Baltimore
        

September 17, 2010

Bealefeld offers more details on Hopkins standoff

Baltimore police have begun a post-mortem on Thursday’s standoff at Johns Hopkins Hospital to determine whether police or hospital employees missed any signals that might have prevented a man from shooting a doctor and then killing his mother and himself (photo at left by The Sun's police reporter, Justin Fenton).


“Was there a clue we could have picked up?” Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said at a news conference Friday afternoon. “It’s important that we go back and critique this for the safety of all Baltimoreans.”


One question Bealefeld said he would like answered is whether Paul Warren Pardus always carried his small .38 caliber Kel-Tec handgun, so small the chief said it could be “concealed in the palm of your hand”  — when he visited is ailing mother, 84-year-old Jean Davis, at the hospital.


Police said that Pardus, speaking with a doctor and believing he had failed to help his cancer-stricken mother, pulled out the gun, shot the doctor and then retreated into Room 873 at the Nelson Building where he shot her and then himself.

Continue reading "Bealefeld offers more details on Hopkins standoff" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 2:39 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, East Baltimore
        

Live chat with Justin Fenton at 12:30 p.m.

Join Justin Fenton at 12:30 p.m. for a live chat. Topics we'll cover include yesterday's shootings at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the hotly contested race for city state's attorney between Patricia C. Jessamy and Gregg Bernstein. Though the chat doesn't begin until 12:30 p.m., you can ask questions now by clicking on our chat interface below.


Posted by Carla Correa at 11:32 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, East Baltimore, State's Attorney Campaign
        

Jessamy to concede State's Attorney's race to Bernstein

Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy will concede her race this afternoon to her primary opponent Gregg Bernstein, according to a source with direct knowledge of her plans. Jessamy has scheduled a news conference for 1 p.m. at her campaign headquarters.

Up until this morning, it appeared that Jessamy was getting ready to challenge the voting process even as absentee ballots are being counted. Thursday night, the elections board had counted about 75 percent of those votes.

Bernstein was ahead by 1,363 votes, with more than 2,000 ballots still to be counted.

Jessamy's spokeswoman had alleged that thousands of votes might be missing and her legal team appeared to be gearing up for a challenge. We'll what happens in 90 minutes. 

September 16, 2010

Murder-suicide in Hopkins standoff

The man who shot a doctor and took his mother hostage in a Johns Hopkins building killed his mother and then fatally shot himself, a city police source told The Sun's police reporter Justin Fenton.

Police put out a Twitter alert just a moment ago saying the situation had ended and was a "possible murder suicide." No other details were given. They said the gunman was not shot by a police officer.

Details are still coming in. Early reports were that the man was angry over the treatment of his mother and that he threatened to jump out of an 8th floor window. Initial reports also had him holding his mother hostage.

An officer at the scene early in the confrontation was heard over the police radio saying that the man wanted to kill his mother. Here are full reports and on scene accounts from reporters who are at the scene. Live twitter feeds from reporter Justin Fenton are here.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:54 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, East Baltimore
        

Hopkins shooting; police still at scene

Update from Hopkins: The Johns Hopkins Hospital is not currently locked down, but visitors are being asked to stay out of the Nelson Building. Employees who have hospital identification badges can be in the building, but are not to try to access Nelson 8. Patients on Nelson 8 are going to be evacuated to other locations throughout the hospital.
Pregnant women in active labor should be encouraged to go to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

Baltimore police remain at Johns Hopkins Hospital after a gunman shot and critically wounded a doctor and is now contained to a room on the 8th floor of a building on the sprawling East Baltimore medical campus.

Police SWAT members and dozens of officers are inside and around the hospital and the CNN is reporting live from the scene. The television network has already put The Sun's Justin Fenton on air to describe events. Fenton's picture from the scene is at left; follow his Twitter updates here.

Police had blocked off many streets in the area, but they just sent out a Twitter alert noting that the situation "is isolated to one relatively small part of the hospital. Persons who have business are encouraged to come."

Details remain slim at this hour but police have confirmed that a doctor was shot but apparently did not suffer life-threatening injuries. A nurse told reporters that the gunman was upset at the treatment of his mother and threatened to jump out of a window. Police just Twittered that "motive unclear at present."

A police officer had reported early in the confrontation that the man was holding his mother hostage, but police have not confirmed that there is any hostage involved. The name of the doctor has not been released.

For more details, see The Baltimore Sun's full coverage of this unfolding event.

Here is one report:

Portions of the Nelson Building, which includes a thoracic center on Hopkins' sprawling East Baltimore campus, were placed on lockdown and other sections evacuated. Police have shut down numerous roads in the area of Broadway, East Monument and North Wolfe streets. South of Monument and Wolfe was sealed off with trucks, cars and tape. Many units are on the scene, including police, fire and SWAT teams. Snipers are set up outside the building, and Guglielmi said that police are enacting a "tactical operation."

At 11:15 a.m., Hopkins sent out emergency e-mail and text advisories to staff that said "shooter on Nelson 8." An employee at the Hopkins School of Public Health, which is across Wolfe Street from the complex containing the Nelson building, said that employees were told to stay in their offices.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:51 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, East Baltimore
        

Reported shooting at Hopkins

Update: Justin Fenton reporting from the scene that police are confirming a doctor has been shot and is critical condition.

Update: We've obtained the alert text Hopkins sent out to employees:  "Shooter incident on Nelson 8 at JHH. Stay in your office or room and lock doors until an all clear is announced. Stay away from windows. Wait for further instruction."

Baltimore police are swarming John Hopkins Hospital where there are reports a person has been shot and that a man has taken a hostage on the 8th floor of one of the buildings, according to authorities and traffic over the police radio.

Hopkins sounded an emergency alert about 11:15 a.m. at Nelson 8, a Thoracic Center on its sprawling East Baltimore campus. Police have shut down numerous roads in the area of Broadway, East Monument and North Wolf Streets.

Baltimore police did not offer any immediate comment. One officer on the radio asked, “Do we have a description of this guy?”

Another officer said the Quick Response Team, or SWAT, is at the hospital. The officer said on the radio that a man is “inside the building with his mother and he wants to kill his mom.”

Baltimore police just confirmed that an adult male has been shot at the hospital. No other details have been released.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:44 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Breaking news, East Baltimore
        

Escape suspects arrested on West Coast

An attempted murder suspect who escaped from police custody on Friday in downtown Baltimore was captured along with his pregnant girlfriend Wednesday evening in Washington state, city police said this morning.

The arrests end a five-day manhunt for 32-year-old Paul Bryan Palmer and 29-year-old Gina Christina Distefano. Police also said they recovered the couple's silver four-door Kia Spectra with a bent frame; it was not immediately clear if the couple used the car to drive across country.

Police did not say how they found the couple in Washington, but said members of the Warrant Apprehension Task Force and the U.S. Marshal's Service arrested Palmer and Distefano in Yelm, Washington about 5:40 p.m.

Police have said Palmer escaped Friday about 1 p.m. from the Central District police station on East Baltimore Street. He had been arrested and charged with attempted murder in connection with an attack on a man last month in a dispute over a girl. The victim had been stabbed seven times.

While in custody, he complained of a hand injury and was taken to the police station lobby, where he managed to wriggle free of his plastic handcuffs and ran away.

Here is a statement from police:

Continue reading "Escape suspects arrested on West Coast" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 9:15 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Breaking news, Downtown
        

September 15, 2010

Security officer shoots at man to thwart robbery

About 100 afternoon shoppers were stuck in a shopping center parking lot Wednesday as police investigated a thwarted robbery in which a security officer fired shots at two men with guns, officials said.

The incident unfolded around 3:15 p.m., police said, in the Loch Raven Shopping Center in the 1700 block of E. Northern Parkway. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said two men brandishing handgun attempted to rob the Lime Tree liquor store a pharmacy, and a special police officer working there pulled out a weapon and fired. It did not appear as though anyone was struck.

Special police are security officers commissioned by the city or state to arrest people within certain areas, and police were working to verify the officer's status.

One man was apprehended by a city police detective who was in the area, and police were searching for a second man.

The crime scene stretched from the supermarket parking lot, through a gas station, and to the busy intersection of E. Northern Parkway and Loch Raven Boulevard. Shoppers, who were potential witnesses, were blocked from leaving the shopping center as more than a dozen detectives investigated. Many grumbled that they had picked a bad time to run errands.

"How long does a chicken keep in a hot car?" one asked.

A woman, who did not want to give her name because she witnessed part of the incident, said she saw a "pudgy" white man with a heavy knit mask over his face run from the liquor store, as what looked like an undercover police officer gave chase. She said he pulled the mask off as a car squealed out of the parking lot.

Another woman who was inside the Mars supermarket said he store employees rushed to the front of the store and yelled, "Don't kill him, don't kill him."

Police said nearby Mercy High School was placed on lockdown as a precaution but has since reopened.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 5:07 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, Northeast Baltimore
        

Bernstein has edge in state's attorney's race

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, it appears that challenger Gregg Bernstein has enough votes to defeat State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy.

Bernstein has a 1,400 vote edge, but there are 1,678 absentee ballots left. Though as of this writing neither candidate has claimed victor of conceded defeat, Jessamy would have to nearly nearly all the absentee votes to serve another term. Those ballots will start being counted on Thursday.

 

September 14, 2010

Non-profit worker pleads guilty to gang ties

A man who worked for a Baltimore nonprofit designed to help stem the city's violence plead pleaded guilty today to racketeering charges linked to his participation in the Black Guerilla Family gang, federal prosecutors announced.

Todd Duncan, 36, had worked for Communities Organized to Improve Life Inc., even as prosecutors with the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office said he ran much of BGF's activities. Several indictments related to this case have implicated prison guards, highlighted a luxurious lifestyle led by gang members in prison and underscored how deep gang connections reach.

The Sun will have more on this plea deal later today on the Internet and in the print edition. Here are some details from federal prosecutors:

Continue reading "Non-profit worker pleads guilty to gang ties" »

Bar owner testifies in Harris trial

Nick Madigan's latest installment on the Harris trial (for full trial coverage and more stories on the Harris shooting):

A jazz club owner who was with Kenneth N. Harris moments before the former Baltimore City Council member was shot to death said in court today that a gunman shouting profanities and threats approached them outside the club and that Harris immediately left the club owner’s side and headed for his car.

Keith A. Covington, who has run the New Haven Lounge in Northeast Baltimore since 1987 and became friendly with Harris about a decade ago, was the fourth witness to testify in the trial of three men accused of Harris’ murder on Sept. 20, 2008.

Covington told the jury that Harris had stopped by the club at about 1 a.m., after it had closed, to borrow a corkscrew for a bottle of wine and to use the restroom. Covington let Harris into the bar and opened the bottle for him. Then, he said, Harris told him he had a woman in his car he wanted Covington to meet and the two stepped outside.

At that moment, a gunman appeared from behind a column, his weapon pointed “directly at my forehead,” Covington said.

“ ‘You know what this is,’ ” the man with the gun shouted, according to the witness. “ ‘Get the **** back in the building before I kill you.’ ”

Harris, standing on Covington’s left, “broke off to get back to his car” as two other men approached. “One is running toward me,” Covington said, “and the other is running toward Ken.”
As he reached the door of the club, a gun pointed at the back of his head, “I hear a shot,” said Covington, who did not see anyone being hit. “I’m frightened for my life at this point like at no other time… I’m realizing this is no joke. This is nothing to be played with. I can only pay attention to the gunman’s demands. I can only feel that if my employees panic and run, they may be shot as well.”

Covington went on to describe the robbery inside the club, where six employees had been holding a staff meeting. Some were robbed, and about $2,000, the night’s proceeds, were taken from a safe that Covington was forced to open, he said.

As the three men ran out the building’s rear door, Covington grabbed a gun he kept in a drawer and fired three shots, prompting another expletive from one of the robbers.

Covington said he did not find out that Harris had been shot and killed until later, after police had been summoned. The former councilman was found in his car a short distance away. His companion, Monica Foreman-Robinson, testified on Monday, the trial’s first day.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 1:59 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Breaking news, Kenneth Harris trial
        

Busted cop was already in trouble

The Baltimore police officer arrested early Sunday in a fight outside a bar on Washington Boulevard had already been suspended last year after he was arrested during an altercation on a police parking lot, according to court documents.

Everett Walker, a six-year veteran of the force, was in plain clothes while walking across the lot of the Southwestern District station in April 2009. Two other officers questioned him, not knowing he was a police officer, and an argument ensued.

Police said in charging documents that the officer thought Walker had been drinking and waited until he got into his personal car and backed out of his space. The officers then boxed him in and arrested him.

Court documents say he declined to take a breath test and that officers did not know he was on the force until they reached into his pants pocket and found his badge. They then removed his handgun from his waist. Walker's trial on a charge of disturbing the public peace is scheduled for October.

The officer now faces additional charges stemming from Sunday's altercation outside Club Reality on Washington Boulevard. Police said it was near closing when they walked behind the bar because of a loud dispute. They said they saw a woman punch Walker and then Walker later charged the woman and hit a bystander.

Both the woman and Walker were charged with assault. Walker was not armed at the time, as his gun had been confiscated after the April incident.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:24 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Breaking news, Top brass, West Baltimore
        

Baltimore police officer arrested

A bar fight in the parking lot of Club Reality in Southwest Baltimore turned ugly for cops, and they ended up arresting one of their own. The officer clearly picked a bad time to get in trouble -- one of the officers he encountered was his boss, Maj. Anthony Brown, the commander of the Southwestern District.

The officer has been suspended without pay and faces charges of assault and disorderly conduct stemming from a fight with a woman and fellow officers outside the bar on Washington Boulevard early Sunday.

A department spokesman identified him as Officer Everett Walker, 29, who has been on the force nearly six years. Police said they also arrested the woman, Takira Thompson, 20, and charged her with assault.

Police describe a raucous altercation in the back parking lot of the bar shortly before 2 a.m. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Everett appeared intoxicated and belligerent, but he did not have his weapon with him at the time.

Here are the details: 

Continue reading "Baltimore police officer arrested" »

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:50 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Breaking news, Top brass, West Baltimore
        

September 13, 2010

Police continue to search for escapee

Baltimore police have now charged an escapee's pregnant girlfriend with harboring a fugitive for allegedly helping a 32-year-old man elude authorities. The man, Paul Bryan Palmer, is charged with attempted murder in connection with a stabbing in August.

Palmer escaped from a downtown police building about 1 p.m. Friday on Gay Street, near City Hall. He was being driven to Central Booking when he complained of a hand injury. He was returned to the Central District station where police said he managed to get free of plastic handcuffs and run away.

He is described as a white male, bald, standing about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 185 pounds. Palmer was last seen wearing a black ball cap, sleeveless white "muscle" t-shirt, blue jeans, and brown work boots. 

He is wanted in a Aug. 31 assault in the 200 block of Davis St. in which a man was stabbed seven times in an argument over a woman.

Over the weekend, police said Palmer could be driving a silver four-door Kia Spectra with a bent frame and "donut" spare tire, with Maryland license plate number 1EWB10. Now, police say they believe Palmer is with his girlfriend, identified as Gina Christina Distefano, 29, who is pregnant. She is described as white, standing 5 feet all and weighing 100 pounds. She has light brown hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with information is urged to call 911.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:27 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, Downtown
        

September 10, 2010

Dick Irwin, and his police blotter, depart

John Richard "Dick" Irwin, 74, retires from the Baltimore Sun Monday after having spent 44 years reporting on the city's enduring crime industry and distilling and cataloging a never-ending litany of murders, shootings and robberies to his signature "police blotter."

He began the popular feature -- which treated the theft of a tomato plant with as much reverence and importance as bank heist -- in 1979 at the now-defunct News American, then to the now-defunct Evening Sun, and finally to the still-being-printed morning Baltimore Sun.

Dick has been absent since February recovering from medical problems and hardly a night went by when a desk sergeant in some far flung police outpost didn't ask the reporter making cop rounds, "Where's Dick?"

Dick Irwin got information out of cops that no other reporter could, and he demanded perfection from not only himself but from the officers who answered the phone. Whatever information he got was going to be accurate in the next day's paper.

Maryland State Police spokesman Gregory M. Shipley called Irwin "an icon in the news business in Baltimore. He has the stamina and the tenacity to get every detail in every story that he pursues. Most policemen want to get off the midnight shift as quickly as possible. Not Dick Irwin. I can't count the number of times I've been awakened from a sound sleep from Dick. I will miss him, but I hope I get some sleep now."

Dick's humor was understated, to say the least. He could talk crass with cops but demanded civility when addressing others. Between stints as a newspaper man, he worked as a clerk in the Social Security Administration, pumped gas and patrolled the streets of North Baltimore for a year as a city police officer.

In the Sun newsroom, he left a reporter who sat next to him this note: "Dick Irwin is off until July 5. He says behave yourself!" In 1995, he stood at a window overlooking Centre Street and watched Pope John Paul II depart on a helicopter after a daylong, hectic visit to the city. "In another 10 minutes, he'll be the Anne Arundel bureau's problem," he said in perfect deadpan, a quip that earned him a spot on "The Wall," reserved for the best quotes heard around the newsroom.

For more:

Continue reading "Dick Irwin, and his police blotter, depart" »

Attempted murder suspect escapes Central District

UPDATE: Police say Palmer may be driving a silver Kia with a "donut" spare tire, Maryland tag 1EWB10. If seen, call 911.

Baltimore authorities were searching for a man who was arrested for attempted murder but escaped from a downtown police building after wriggling free of his plastic handcuffs.

Police said Paul Bryan Palmer, 32, was taken into custody on a warrant charging him with attacking a man last month near City Hall. At about 1 p.m. Friday, Palmer was to be transported to Central Booking and Intake Center when he complained of a hand injury and was taken back into the lobby of the department’s Central District building on Baltimore Street, said Anthony Guglielmi, the department’s chief spokesman.

Palmer was able to get free of the plastic handcuffs and ran off, Guglielmi said. Police searched for him for about an hour and are now asking for the public’s help.

Palmer is described as white, bald, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 185 pounds.

Angela Johnese, juvenile justice director for Advocates for Children and Youth, said that at about 1:15 p.m. she saw police cars “coming and going in all directions around Gay, Lombard, Pratt and South.” Officers on foot were posted on numerous corners, and walking in and out of parking garages.

“Makes for an interesting Friday afternoon at the Inner Harbor,” Johnese said in an e-mail.
Guglielmi said Palmer has been charged in connection with an Aug. 31 incident in the 200 block of Davis St. in which a man was attacked and stabbed seven times.

Guglielmi said the victim had just gotten out of jail and went to his girlfriend’s house, where he discovered she was living with another man – Palmer. The men got into an argument and police were called to the home, defusing the situation.

Later, the victim was getting off a bus and walking toward a homeless shelter when he was jumped by Palmer and two men. He was knocked to the ground and punched, then stabbed seven times.
Anyone with information about Palmer’s whereabouts was asked to call 911.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 4:32 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, Downtown
        

September 9, 2010

Murder suspect released on bail back behind bars

An Anne Arundel County murder suspect who a judge released on bail without the knowledge of prosecutors is back behind bars. That move comes just a day after relatives of the victim expressed outrage.

The Baltimore Sun's Jessica Anderson reported on Wednesday that Hida Chan, the victim's sister, said, "We're scared — he's still out there. To us, [the suspect] is a very dangerous person. He is not afraid to kill."

Police had arrested James William King, 26, of Severn, on Aug. 17 in the shooting of Calvin Chi Man Yeung, 40, who suffered a bullet wound in the upper body while sitting in his car at a traffic signal on Telegraph Road and Route 100. When King was arrested, police said he may have been motivated by road rage.

The suspect was being held in jail but his lawyer filed for bail review. The paperwork never made it to prosecutor, and the judge freed the suspect. "This guy was on the streets by the time we found out," Kristin Fleckenstein, a spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office, told Anderson.

The suspect's bail was rescinded during another hearing Thursday and police took him back into custody.

September 8, 2010

Police agencies target laser pointers

Police in several jurisdictions around Maryland are warning residents not to point laser pointers at helicopters, saying their pilots are getting blinded as they track criminals and patrol from the area. There has been numerous such attacks on aircraft this summer at Ocean City and in the Baltimore area.

Baltimore County police recently arrested two men from Essex in separate pointing incidents in Essex -- in one case the pilot of police helicopter was able to turn and shine a spotlight on a house were a resident was playing with a pointer from his front porch.

Earlier today, police held a news conference at Martin State Airport in Middle River to call attention to the problem. Representatives from Maryland State Police were joined by pilots from Baltimore City, Baltimore County, the U.S. Park Police and the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The laser pointers, which can be bought for around $65 at office supply stores and in shops along the Boardwalk in Ocean City, have become popular play-things for youths and young adults. But police warn that shining the pointers -- particularly the green ones, which are more powerful than the red -- can blind pilots for up to 30 seconds.

"It's not fun and games," said Maryland State Police Lt. Walter A. Kerr of the aviation unit (at the podium above). "It could be potentially lethal."

Police helicopters are particularly vulnerable because they fly low -- at 500 to 1,500 feet -- and circle, and Kerr said people "have fun playing with us. Our helicopters are primary targets."

Baltimore County Sgt. Ron Wines, who has flown police helicopters since 1984, said he has been "lasered" two times, once just a few months ago while chasing an armed robbery suspect in the western part of the county. He said he was temporarily blinded and had to delay his response.

"It's very disorienting," Wines said. "Our flight crews are defenseless."

Here's a history of Baltimore Police Department's Foxtrot helicopter.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 12:04 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Anne Arundel County,