In Baltimore CountyElkridge man held and charged...


In Baltimore County

Elkridge man held and charged in kidnapping, assault

TOWSON -- A 38-year-old Elkridge man was being held on $250,000 bail last night in the Baltimore County Detention Center on charges including kidnapping and first-degree assault in the reported abduction and beating of a girlfriend, police reported.

The victim, 44, told police she was kidnapped from her home in the north county community of Hydes about 3 p.m. Saturday and forced into the passenger seat of her car. She said her assailant drove her around, smoked crack and beat her with his fists during the six-hour ordeal.

The woman, who police said suffered a broken nose and cheekbones, was able to flee and call police from a liquor store after the car ran out of fuel about 9 p.m., and the man went into a gas station near Washington Boulevard and Levering Avenue in Elkridge in Howard County.

Arrested a short time later was Jeffrey Dennis Merson of the 5700 block of Main St. The victim was released after treatment at St. Agnes HealthCare, a spokesman there said.

Man is seriously injured in Dundalk apartment fire

DUNDALK -- A man who suffered second-degree burns to 50 percent of his body in an apartment fire yesterday morning was in serious condition at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center last night, officials said.

The one-alarm fire in the 2100 block of Dundalk Ave. was reported at 9:24 a.m. Fire officials believe the blaze began in the victim's apartment, but they aren't sure how. Three of the seven apartments in the building were damaged, said Baltimore County Fire Capt. James Korn.

Residents of five apartments were displaced when electricity was cut to the building. Two of the apartments were unoccupied, Korn said. Damage was estimated at $110,000.

Police, civic groups plan Night Out events tomorrow

TOWSON -- Baltimore County Police Department and civic groups will mark the 19th anniversary of National Night Out tomorrow.

Crime-watch groups such as Citizens On Patrol will meet with precinct officers in a show of unity against crime, police said. Activities will include child fingerprinting and an appearance by McGruff, the crime-fighting dog in the Wilkens precinct; cookouts and a parade in the Woodlawn precinct; and picnics and neighborhood walks in the Garrison precinct.

In Towson, a "Going Away Party for Crime and Drugs" will be held at Uncle Wiggly's Ice Cream Shop at York Road and Regester Avenue. Communities in White Marsh, Essex and North Point also are planning activities, police said. Information: the outreach office of the local precinct.

Three police commanders take over new jobs today

TOWSON -- Three Baltimore County Police Department commanders assume new posts today.

Capt. Howard Hall takes over the personnel section, overseeing benefits and staff. Hall, 37, a 16-year veteran, had been training academy commander. Capt. Charles Rapp, formerly head of the crimes against persons section, takes over as commander of the training academy. Rapp, 42, is a 20-year veteran. Capt. John Campbell will head the department's crimes against persons section, which includes the homicide, rape and robbery sections. Campbell, 49, a 28-year-veteran, was in charge of the personnel division.

Chief Terrence B. Sheridan changes the command staff periodically to "keep individuals learning and growing and to bring new perspectives to the various sections," said Bill Toohey, a department spokesman.

University receives grant for Urban Debate League

TOWSON -- Towson University has been awarded a $300,000 grant by the Open Society Institute to expand the Baltimore Urban Debate League.

The league, which involves 17 inner-city public schools, allows students to participate in projects, including public debate, the courts, Congress, youth culture, drug policy, minority rights, environmental policy and the media. The program is run by Chris Baron, speech and debate coach, and Beth Skinner, assistant director of speech and debate.

The debate league has received more than $900,000 from the Open Society Institute, a foundation that distributes about $7 million a year in grants to find solutions to urban problems in Baltimore.

In Baltimore City

Police investigate killing of man on west-side street

Detectives were searching for suspects last night in the fatal shooting of a 31-year-old man on a West Baltimore street.

The man was shot once in the back about 11 a.m. in the 1800 block of W. Franklin St., said Officer Troy Harris, a police spokesman. The name of the victim -- who was pronounced dead at 1:31 p.m. at Maryland Shock Trauma Center -- was withheld until family was told.

Investigators had neither a suspect nor knew of motive in the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at 410-396-3100.

Agency gets grant to keep seniors in communities

The federal government has awarded a grant of $987,000 to Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc. (CHAI) of Baltimore to help older people remain in their community.

CHAI will focus on seniors living in areas where there are comparatively large numbers of older people. The funds will help ensure that people have access to health and other services, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging.

The Baltimore grant is one part of a new national effort to establish "demonstration programs" to develop and test ways to support the elderly as they remain in their homes in the community.

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