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THE BALTIMORE SUN

BALTIMORE

17-year-old boy missing in swollen Gwynns Falls

A 17-year-old boy remained missing last night after being swept away by thunderstorm-swollen Gwynns Falls in West Baltimore yesterday afternoon. Authorities said the missing youth was identified last night as Joey Cox, whose Southwest Baltimore address was not available.

Three others caught up in the surging waters - two 10-year-old boys and a 16-year-old girl - were rescued, but subsequent search efforts were complicated by continuing storms and then halted by darkness, authorities said.

Storms moved slowly across the metropolitan area as lightning disrupted electrical service, ignited a few fires - among them at a house in the 3800 block of Roland Ave. in the city - and toppled several trees.

The Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. reported outages affecting at least 34,000 customers by 8 p.m. Hardest hit were the city and Baltimore County.

Lightning hit a building at the Maryland National Guard's Camp Fretterd in Reisterstown about 4:30 p.m. and knocked out its communication system. Lightning also damaged the chimney of the Masonic Lodge on Reisterstown's Main Street.

The Gwynns Falls incident was reported in a 911 call about 4:20 p.m. - four youngsters were swimming near the West Baltimore Street bridge and appeared to be in trouble, said Chief Kevin Cartwright, a city Fire Department spokesman.

"We immediately sent firefighters and our swift-water rescue team to the falls and began a search over a lengthy area of the water," Cartwright said.

As rescuers entered the water and television news and police helicopters hovered overhead, Cox helped the girl and a 10-year-old boy get to branches over the falls. The two made it safely to shore, Cartwright said.

However, the swift water apparently had swept Cox downstream. "The water was moving nearly 15 mph," Cartwright said. The second 10-year-old made it to a boulder, then was rescued by an unidentified youth who jumped across, lifted him up and jumped back with him in his arms.

Cartwright said the search would resume this morning.

-Richard Irwin

BALTIMORE

Man, 26, shot Friday night on West Lexington St. dies

A 26-year-old man who was shot late Friday in West Baltimore has died from his injuries, police announced yesterday.

Floyd Harp was involved in an argument in the 1900 block of W. Lexington St., retreated inside a house and was shot several times through the kitchen window, police said.

Harp - who lived in the 800 block of W. Lexington St. - died Monday night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, police said. Anyone with information about his killing was urged to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100.

- Ryan Davis

BEL AIR

Girl, 5, who died in fire believed to be from Dundalk

Authorities identified yesterday the 5-year-old girl believed to have died in a Bel Air townhouse fire early Monday as Nalei Ann Sakowski of Dundalk.

While the state medical examiner's office has yet to positively identify the remains of the child found in the debris, investigators believe it is the girl, according to Deputy State Fire Marshal Howard Ewing.

Nalei Ann was spending the night with her aunt, Sherry Marshall, when the fire burned the two-story townhouse in the 1800 block of Queen Anne Square, Ewing said. The cause remains under investigation, he said.

Marshall, 33, remains in serious condition at Johns Hopkins Bayview Center, Ewing said. Authorities initially gave an incorrect age for her.

Also injured in the fire were Marshall's two daughters - Alicia, 7, and Megan, 3 - who are being treated for injuries that are not life-threatening at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of Johns Hopkins Hospital, Ewing said.

The fire destroyed three townhouses and caused an estimated $1 million damage.

- Jonathan D. Rockoff

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

Authorities to coordinate responses to hate crimes

Members of Anne Arundel County's law enforcement community will assemble teams to coordinate responses to hate crimes, officials said yesterday.

Officials also said they plan to prosecute those who distribute offensive material by charging them with littering.

The announcement came after a meeting in the county state's attorney's office of 18 people, including representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice's community relations service, county government, county police, the sheriff's office and victims of suspected hate crimes.

Officials said they are developing details about how the teams would be assembled and the types of incidents to which they would respond.

Three recent incidents - circulation of racially charged fliers in Davidsonville, a cross burning in Ferndale and a marring of a vehicle with racial epithets in Hanover - prompted the meeting, officials said.

Last month, a jury acquitted a man of manslaughter in the death of Noah Jamahl Jones, a black teenager who died after a brawl outside a Pasadena party. Prosecutors later dropped charges against four others accused in Jones' death. All of the defendants were white. Local civil rights leaders have been critical of the handling of the case.

Carl O. Snowden, an aide to County Executive Janet S. Owens and a community activist, said some might believe that distributing papers would be protected by the First Amendment, but "people who literally dump trash on other people's property ... police will arrest them."

Such arrests would show victims that public officials support and have empathy for them, Snowden said. He added that officials were considering holding town meetings to discuss hate crimes.

Although police and the state's attorney's office investigate potentially racially motivated incidents, it can be difficult to identify suspects, particularly for graffiti and other forms of vandalism, making these actions tough to prosecute, said State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee.

- Liz F. Kay

BALTIMORE COUNTY

Woman, 24, found fatally shot in her Woodlawn apartment

Police are investigating the death of a woman who was found fatally shot inside her apartment.

Nikkeyi Nicole Davis, 24, of the 2200 block of Woodlawn Drive was found about 10 p.m. Monday, police said yesterday. Officers responding to a report of gunfire found Davis lying on the floor with gunshot wounds to her upper body. She was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Homicide detectives do not know of a motive and have no suspects in the shooting, police said. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the county police at 410-307-2020 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-756-2587.

Davis' death is the 16th homicide in Baltimore County this year, according to police.

- Anica Butler

BALTIMORE COUNTY

City police officer convicted of fraud over insurance claim

A Baltimore police officer has been convicted of insurance fraud in connection with a false auto accident claim, the Maryland attorney general's office announced yesterday.

Tamira Thompson, 27, of the 5300 block of Deale Churchton Road in Anne Arundel County, pleaded guilty Monday to charges related to presenting false information to Progressive Insurance Co. related to a claim seeking $3,014 for an accident involving a 1991 Acura Legend.

The company also alleged that during a 2003 interview, Thompson lied about her employment with the city police, where she had been a sworn officer since 2001, according to prosecutors.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Kathleen G. Cox scheduled sentencing for July 11. The maximum sentence Thompson could receive is 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, according to prosecutors.

BALTIMORE

15-year sentence imposed in January bank robbery

A 49-year-old Baltimore man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison yesterday after pleading guilty to a bank robbery in January, the U.S. attorney's office announced.

Wilton P. Britton admitted he robbed the Provident Bank at 6632 Reisterstown Road in Northwest Baltimore on Jan. 3, getting a teller to turn over $2,287. A surveillance camera captured his image, prosecutors said, and he was stopped by a city police officer three days later at Reisterstown Road Plaza.

At the time of the robbery, Britton had been on supervised release for robbing the same bank four years earlier. He had been released from prison two weeks before the robbery.

In addition to the 15 years of prison time, U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Britton to three years of supervised release.

TOWSON

Former insurance agent charged with fraud, theft

A former insurance agent has been charged with felony insurance fraud and felony theft, the state attorney general's office said yesterday.

A 19-count criminal indictment was filed Monday and accuses Danette Michelle Carter, 31, a former employee of the HBW Insurance agency in Towson, of stealing $6,000 in premiums from 10 clients of the agency. The thefts occurred between August 2003 and October 2004.

Carter, whose last known address is in the 4800 block of Clifton Ave. in Woodlawn, could face up to 15 years in prison on each felony count if convicted. No trial date has been set.

- Anica Butler

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