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Baltimore Crime Beat
Police and court news
Two shot, one fatally, in Baltimore

Two men were shot, one of them fatally, in separate incidents in Baltimore Wednesday night, police said.

A man was shot to death just before 8 p.m. in the 3800 block of Woodbine Ave. in Howard Park, police said.

He was not identified, pending next-of-kin notification. Homicide detectives are investigating, and anyone with information may call 410-396-2100.

At about 10:23 p.m., officers found another man shot in the chest and right arm in the 5100 block of Wetheredsville Rd., police said. He was taken to a hospital for emergency medical treatment, and his condition was not released. Anyone with information may call Southwestern District detectives at 410-396-2488.

Police did not give any information on a suspect or motive in either shooting.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

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Corrections employee placed on paid leave after murder suspect mistakenly released

A corrections employee has been placed on paid leave after a murder suspect was mistakenly released from a downtown facility last week, state officials said Wednesday.

The employee was placed on leave Tuesday after the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services discovered that Rodriquez Purnell was released on Friday. The employee was not identified.

Officials acknowledged release procedures were not followed and continue to investigate how Purnell was able to leave the facility.

"The Department's review will not only include the actions of the employee, but all related policies and procedures, to see whether anything needs to be changed in the wake of the error, or whether this was simply the result of one employee's failure to adhere to established policies and procedures," officials said in a statement Wednesday.

Purnell, who remains missing, was being held at the Maryland Reception, Diagnostics and Classification Center until his November trial for the fatal...

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Teen arrested in deadly Catonsville raid sentenced

A teenager, charged with illegally possessing a gun during a raid in Catonsville last year that left a police officer and another man dead, was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in jail.

Taquan Barney, now 18, was charged after officers with Baltimore County's tactical unit entered his aunt's home on Aug. 28, 2013. During that incident, Barney's half brother, Tevon Smith, 25, shot at Officer Jason Schneider, who, along with a second officer, returned fire.

Barney's sentencing was the last court appearance related to the deadly predawn raid. Both Schneider and Smith died in the shooting. Barney's cousin, Rasheed Stanford, the intended target of the raid who was wanted in a nonfatal shooting, was acquitted on all charges in May.

Before sentencing Barney to five years with all but 18 months suspended, Baltimore County Circuit Judge Mickey Norman said that under other circumstances, Barney would likely not have faced jail time. But the judge said he could not ignore an officer's death.

Barney...

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High-ranking Baltimore police commander stole pay, prosecutors say

A former high-ranking Baltimore police commander — who the department said in April stepped down for "personal reasons" — was charged Wednesday with theft.

Prosecutors said Lt. Col. Clifton McWhite was charged with theft between $1,000 and $10,000 following a joint investigation by the city state's attorney's office and the Police Department.

Two officials with knowledge of the theft case said he lied to obtain an educational incentive credit, which offers a small pay increase for officers with college degrees. The officials did not want to be identified because it is a pending case.

McWhite's attorney, Ivan Bates, said McWhite had taken classes online at what he thought was a legitimate school, and the school had sent his transcript to the Police Department.

"Cliff is a victim here. He took actual online courses, but unbenownst to Cliff, it appears it was a diploma mill," Bates said, declining to name the school.

Bates said McWhite is only accused of recieving $1,700 extra pay...

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Police car struck, naked woman hospitalized in separate chases

A suspect in a Baltimore drug investigation rammed a city police sergeant's car as he sped away from officers in the Highlands neighborhood Tuesday, police said.

The sergeant, who was not identified, was taken to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was treated for minor injuries and released, police said. The officer was on foot, and the police car struck him, police said. The suspect escaped after the crash, which happened at about noon in the 3000 block of E. Baltimore St., police said. The incident started in the 3800 block, police said. Police did not identify the suspect or give any additional details.

In a separate incident two hours earlier on the northwest side of the city, a woman driving a stolen car led officers on a chase in the 3900 block of Wabash Ave. in East Arlington before crashing into foliage in front of a nearby home, police said. Officers called for the police Foxtrot helicopter, which helped find her in a nearby wooded area. The woman, who was...

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Police break up $39,000 'Molly' deal in Northeast Baltimore

Four kilograms of the party drug "Molly" were seized when authorities broke up a drug deal in the parking lot behind a Northeast Baltimore restaurant on Friday, court records show.

Baltimore Police officers and federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations received a detailed tip that a shipment of MDMC, more commonly known as "Molly," was set to be delivered on Friday afternoon, police wrote in court records.

Officers set up surveillance in the area of Northern Parkway and Harford Road and saw a car matching a description of one of the participants pull into the rear parking lot of Valentino's restaurant, police said.

After police said they watched the exchange of a black backpack and a shopping bag, as described by the tipster, they moved in and arrested two men. 

Police said one of the men was carrying $39,900 in cash, and seized approximately four kilograms of "Molly."

Court documents say both men were arrested, and court records show the alleged buyer has since been charged...

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