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Two die, one wounded in 3 shooting incidents

Two men died, and another was in critical condition after three apparently unrelated shootings reported in a four-hour period in Baltimore yesterday afternoon, city police said.

The bloodshed continued last night as a double shooting was reported about 9:30 p.m. Police said two unidentified men were shot in the 2700 block of Tivoly Ave., near Clifton Park in Northeast Baltimore. One man was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital and the other to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, but their conditions were not immediately known.

One of the men killed yesterday - a 28-year-old whose name was not divulged - was fighting with another man in the 2700 block of Beryl Ave. about 3 p.m. when someone shot him in the chest, said homicide Detective Gordon Carew.

The victim died at Johns Hopkins Hospital at 6:30 p.m., Carew said.

In the second fatal shooting, police responding to shots fired about 5 p.m. in the 2100 block of Walbrook Ave., near Payson Street, found a 21-year-old man lying in the street and bleeding from a gunshot wound to the upper body, said homicide Detective Frank Miller.

The man, whose name was not released, died shortly before 8 p.m. at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, Miller said.

The first shooting was reported shortly before 1 p.m., when the owner of Just For You Flowers in the 5400 block of Park Heights Ave. entered the shop and found an employee, Bobby Anderson, 35, lying unconscious on the floor and bleeding from a bullet wound to the head, said homicide Detective Donny Bradshaw.

Anderson, of the 2400 block of Annor Court in South Baltimore, was in critical condition last night at Sinai Hospital.

Bradshaw said money was taken from a cash register, but it was not known exactly when the shooting occurred. "The first police knew of the shooting was when the owner called 911," he said.

- Richard Irwin


Woman given probation in insurance fraud case

A Perry Hall woman was placed on five years' probation yesterday for making insurance claims on car accidents that never happened, according to the state attorney general's office.

Darlene Hohl, 61, of the 8800 block of Dove Drive was also ordered by Harford County Circuit Judge Thomas E. Marshall to pay $5,000 in restitution to Progressive Insurance and was given a three-year, suspended sentence after pleading guilty to felony insurance fraud, the attorney general's office said.

Hohl conspired with others to make false insurance claims on fictional car accidents, the attorney general's office said. Two of her co-conspirators, Janelle Wiegand and Shannon Smith, both 23, pleaded guilty to felony insurance fraud in February.

Michael J. Horner, the former owner of Contemporary Automotive in the Joppa area of Harford County, was indicted in September 2004 on charges of making eight false auto insurance claims totaling $288,000, the attorney general's office said.- Danny Jacobs


Asphyxiation was the cause of death of city woman, 62

An autopsy has established that asphyxiation caused the death of a 62-year-old grandmother whose body was found Saturday, hands bound, in her West Baltimore apartment, city police said.

Police declined to reveal whether the victim, Shirley Chisley, had been strangled or smothered. Police said it was not known whether someone entered her apartment in the 600 block of W. Franklin St. by force or whether any property was missing.

Police said there is no apparent link to Chisley's death and the killing of Sadie Mack, a 78-year-old grandmother found strangled May 31 in her home in the 1600 block of N. Gilmor St.

No arrest has been made in either case. Anyone with information is asked to call the homicide squad at 410-396-2100.

- Richard Irwin


Area posts highest rate of fatal drug overdoses

The Baltimore area had the highest rate of fatal drug overdoses in 2003 among 32 cities surveyed in a federal report released yesterday.

The survey of hospital emergency room data by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that the Baltimore area had 205.6 "drug misuse deaths" per million residents in 2003, putting it just ahead of Albuquerque, N.M., for the highest rate in the country.

The city's metropolitan area is defined by the survey as containing 2.6 million residents, embracing much of central and southern Maryland and half the state's population.

The overdose totals cannot be compared with those of previous years because the 2003 survey was compiled using a different definition of overdose deaths, SAMHSA officials said yesterday. Instead of counting only those deaths that were found to be the direct result of drug abuse, SAMHSA is now using a broader definition that includes deaths that were found to be related in any way to recent drug misuse.

The survey arrives just a few weeks after Baltimore's Health Department reported a drop in the fatal overdose rate within the city last year. The city registered 261 overdoses, mostly involving heroin, in 2004, the lowest level in five years. But the federal survey offers a reminder that the city's drug problem remains one of the worst in the country.

The Baltimore area's rate of drug misuse deaths was well above the state's average rate of 127 deaths per million. The five Maryland counties in the Washington area had rates ranging from 35 to 75 deaths per million. For Baltimore proper, the rate was 485 deaths per million - more than three times the rate for the state as a whole.

- Alec MacGillis


City man indicted on charge of firing at ATF agent, officer

A federal grand jury brought attempted murder charges yesterday against a Baltimore man who prosecutors say shot at an agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a Baltimore police officer.

Taki Hughes, 29, was indicted on four counts of possessing a gun and using it to try to kill ATF Special Agent Gabriel Scott Mamock and city Detective James Bradley while they were working together as part of the city's Violent Crime Impact Team, law enforcement officials said. Neither man was injured.

According to court papers, Mamock and Bradley were in an unmarked police vehicle May 25 approaching the 1700 block of E. Federal St. when they saw a man shooting at someone.

Mamock and Bradley got out of their car and yelled at the man to stop and surrender, the court papers said. But he fled and, as the officers pursued, turned and fired.

Later, according to court papers, Mamock and Bradley found a Lincoln Continental nearby with the engine running, passenger-side door open and several bullet holes in the back windshield. It was determined that the vehicle was registered to Hughes, officials said.

Shortly after 11 p.m., detectives said in court papers, they learned of a patient at Sinai Hospital who was suffering from a gunshot wound to the right leg and who had lied about his identity. He was identified as Hughes, according to the court documents, and was arrested.

Hughes, who is being held in custody until his trial, faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted.

- Matthew Dolan


Conservatory dedication to honor late Del. Rawlings

City officials will dedicate the Howard P. Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens at 10:30 a.m. today at Druid Hill Park.

The dedication ceremony will honor the longtime Baltimore delegate and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, who died in 2003. Officials credit Rawlings with helping to secure the $3.3 million needed for the recently completed renovation and expansion of the conservatory and gardens, which include a year-round display of 35 flowerbeds.


Financial workshops planned for prospective homebuyers

Two financial workshops aimed at helping people prepare for homeownership will be held today and June 15 at the Village Learning Place, 2521 St. Paul St.

Topics to be covered include savings and budgeting, understanding credit reports and grants available to first-time homebuyers.

The workshops - sponsored by the Village Learning Place and Tri-Churches Housing - are scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Information: 410-235-2210, ext. 203.


Fire Department wins grant for fire-prevention programs

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced a $336,000 grant to the Baltimore City Fire Department to help fund programs that deal with preventing fire-related injuries to children.

The English Consul Volunteer Fire Department in southwestern Baltimore County also received a $49,500 grant from the same program.

The grants were two of 82 given to fire departments across the country, totaling $4.8 million.

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