Baltimore County Digest

Man, 60, fatally shot in random attack at movie

A 60-year-old man was fatally shot inside a movie theater at an Owings Mills shopping center last night in a bizarre incident that police described as a random attack.


The suspected gunman waited in the lobby to be arrested.

Baltimore County police also were investigating the fatal shooting of a teenage boy yesterday afternoon in Middle River.


About 8:20 p.m., officers from the Franklin precinct were dispatched to a shooting at Valley Center 9 cinema in the 9600 block of Reisterstown Road during the 8 p.m. showing of X-Men: The Last Stand and found the victim - a Pikesville resident - slumped over in a seat four rows from the back.

The man was dead from bullet wounds to the head and upper body. Six other people were in the theater, and some of them witnessed the shooting, said Sgt. Vickie Warehime, a police spokeswoman.

Immediately after the shooting, a man believed to have committed the slaying walked up to a counter in the lobby where the theater manager was seated, placed the gun on the counter and said, "I just shot someone," Warehime said.

The manager called police, and the man waited for officers to arrive and arrest him, Warehime added.

In the other incident, a 15-year-old boy whose name was not released was standing near the intersection of Kingston and Kingsway roads in Middle River about 2:40 p.m. when he was wounded by at least one shot fired from a passing vehicle.

The boy died a short time after being flown by helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Policed urged anyone with information about the shooting to call county detectives at 410-887-3943.

Richard Irwin



Panel suggests growth policy changes

After a yearlong review, a government task force has recommended changes in Baltimore County's growth and environmental policies.

The task force suggested fewer cul-de-sacs, smaller driveways, fewer parking spaces at shopping centers, and more courtyards and plazas. The changes would help minimize development's impact on the Chesapeake Bay while giving developers more flexibility, according to a report by the Builders for the Bay, a committee of builders, community leaders and environmental activists.

County Executive James T. Smith Jr. said he plans to work with county officials to implement many of the policy changes, some of which would have to be approved by the County Council.

Many of the changes focus on infill development, or growth in established communities, rather than growth in open, rural areas. The committee recommended separate design standards for infill projects to enhance storm-water management.


A central theme of the roundtable was reducing the amount of "impervious surface" - such as pavement - and increasing vegetation and other surfaces that can absorb rainwater and minimize runoff.

Josh Mitchell


New judge named to resentence killer

A man whose death sentence in the killing of his girlfriend's young daughter was overturned this year will receive his new sentencing hearing before a different Baltimore County judge.

Lawyers for Jamaal K. Abeokuto had asked Baltimore County Circuit Judge Thomas J. Bollinger Sr., who initially sentenced their client, to recuse himself from the new sentencing hearing. Bollinger agreed yesterday, saying that although he could remain impartial in the case, resentencing Abeokuto could create another appeal issue.


Baltimore County's administrative judge, John G. Turnbull II, assigned Judge Patrick Cavanaugh to preside over Abeokuto's second sentencing.

Abeokuto, 26, of Baltimore, had been sentenced to death for the 2002 killing of 8-year-old Marciana Ringo, whose body was found in woods near Joppatowne in Harford County. The case was moved from Harford County to Baltimore County after Abeokuto requested a change in venue.

Abeokuto elected to be tried by a judge rather than a jury. Bollinger found the man guilty of first-degree murder and, in November 2004, sentenced him to death.

In February, the state's highest court ordered a new sentencing for Abeokuto, saying that he had not knowingly or voluntarily waived his right to be sentenced by a jury because Bollinger failed to ascertain whether Abeokuto was still taking his anti-psychotic medication.

Laura Barnhardt



Man charged in police encounter

A man who police said tried to run over two county police officers with his vehicle, prompting an officer to open fire, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, police said yesterday.

Authorities served a restraining order on the man Wednesday evening at a home in the Rosedale area, police said. The man left, but returned, and as he drove toward an officer, another officer came to help, and one of them fired three shots, police said.

All three shots apparently hit the man's vehicle, but it was unclear whether a bullet grazed the man, who was arrested, said Sgt. Vickie Warehime, a county police spokeswoman.

The two officers, who police did not identify, were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Darius Tyrone Jones, 35, of the 5400 block of Princess Drive, was charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and a violation of an ex-parte order, police said.


Nick Shields