An Ellicott City man suffered minor bullet wounds Friday evening when two masked men fired several shots at him during an attempted robbery near Lake Elkhorn in Columbia, county police said.

Robert Jefferson Woolridge, 21, of the 8200 block Fall Chill, was treated and released at Howard County General Hospital for bullet wounds to his right thigh and right forearm, said Sgt. Gary L. Gardner, a county policespokesman.

Woolridge reported to police that he and a 20-year-old female companion were walking along a pathway near the lake at 11 p.m. when they were approached by two men wearing dark sweat suits and ski masks, Gardner said.

The men demanded that Woolridge turn over his suede jacket and wallet, but he refused, Gardner said. Both men then fired several shots from the handguns they were carrying, with two of the shots hitting Woolridge.

Both men then ran from the scene without taking anything, Gardner said. Woolridge and his female companion, whowas not injured, went to their car and drove to the hospital.

Police say no suspects have been identified and the incident is under investigation.


A fire that caused an estimated $40,000 damage to an Ellicott City home Saturday started when an oil furnace malfunctioned, a state fire marshal said.

The fire damage was severe enough that the residents, Mary Gray, 45, and her three children were forced to move from the home temporarily, said Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Bob Thomas.

Firefighters say the blaze, which began shortly before 10 p.m., would have beenmuch worse had it not been for the speedy action of 9-year-old Mitchell Lewis, who was home alone at the time and called 911 when he saw smoke coming from the heat vents.

The single-family home is in the 4000 block of Crescent Drive.

"He's a pretty with-it kid," said Michael Gearhart, a fire department spokesman. "The whole house mighthave burned down if he didn't do what he did."

Mitchell was also able to rescue the family dog from the fire.

County firefighters were able to contain the fire to the basement, a kitchen and a bedroom. Mitchell suffered minor smoke inhalation and was treated and released at Howard County General Hospital.

The family is staying in Glen Burnie with relatives while the home is repaired.


Three Elkridge residents were arrested on charges of possession of marijuana Friday during an undercover raid by narcotics detectives, county police said.

The raid, conducted at a trailer in Deep Run Park in the 200 block of Keeton Road, resulted in the seizure of an undisclosed quantity of marijuana and drug-related paraphernalia, police said. Police did not have an estimated value of the marijuana, although the quantity was not enough to warrant a drug-distribution charge.

Police say the raid, carried out shortly before8:30 p.m., was made after narcotics officers received a tip about drug use at the home.

Arrested were Dana Marie Bennett, 29; Gary GatesMaxson, 30; and Dennis Blaine Bettis, 30. All are residents of the trailer, police said.

Each was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance, police said. Bennett and Maxson were both released on bail from the Howard County Detention Center, while Bettis remains there on $1,000 bond.

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