BALTIMORE — City baby girl shot in the foot accidentally
BALTIMORE -- A 10-month-old West Baltimore infant was shot in the foot Friday, apparently accidentally, by a friend of her mother's, police said.
Michael Durrand Gasque, address unknown, went to visit the infant's mother, Loita Jackson, 28, shortly after 9 p.m. at her house in the 800 block of Stamford Road. Mr. Gasque and Ms. Jackson sat in the dining room, with the infant, Neisha Jones, sitting in her mother's lap, police said.
Ms. Jackson left the room to get a bottle from the kitchen, and she heard a pop.
She came back into the room and saw Mr. Gasque holding the baby in his arms, her foot covered with blood, she told the police.
Mr. Gasque told her, "My gun went off. I didn't mean it; it just went off. She was on my lap when it went off," Ms. Jackson told police.
Mr. Gasque fled from the house. The baby was taken to St. Agnes Hospital, where she was treated and released.
The bullet entered the bottom of Neisha's right foot and exited between the fourth and fifth toes, police said.
Even though police are treating the shooting as an accident, Mr. Gasque is still being sought for questioning.
City agency cutting part-time building jobs
BALTIMORE -- Forty-three part-time city construction workers are slated to lose their jobs in July under a budget proposal from Baltimore's Department of Housing and Community Development.
They work for City Builders, a program that began in 1982 to train unskilled workers to repair houses.
The program will be abolished and the work contracted out, City Housing Commissioner Robert W. Hearn told members of the Board of Estimates yesterday during a budget hearing.
Many of those losing their jobs currently work on the Vacant House Stabilization Program, repairing vacant houses, doing brickwork and installing new roofs.
"City Builders should have been done years ago. It's an expensive love affair," said Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, explaining why his administration is abolishing the once-popular program.
"It was a way for people to get a job and experience," said a disappointed City Council President Mary Pat Clarke, also a member of the Board of Estimates.
The city will save money by eliminating the program and hiring outside contractors to do the work, city officials said.
Seven area businesses are fined by the INS
BALTIMORE -- Seven business in the Baltimore-Washington area have been hit with fines for employing undocumented workers, the Baltimore District Office of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service reported yesterday.
The largest fine -- $55,900 -- was levied against Pizza Boli Restaurants, a Baltimore-area pizza franchise.
The fine resulted from an investigation at four Pizza Boli locations in Arbutus, Security, Glen Burnie and Pikesville.
The restaurants were charged with knowingly hiring four illegal aliens and a total of 180 instances where they failed to properly verify the employment eligibility of their workers, the INS said.
Six other businesses -- including four in the Baltimore metropolitan area -- were fined, the INS said.
The Turf Valley Hotel and Country Club in Ellicott City was fined for failing to determine the employment eligibility of employees, the INS said.
The INS reported that the following firms also were fined: Maria's Restaurant of Reisterstown, Frank's Pizza of Aberdeen, Cantina Mama Lucia's of Owings Mills, Sam's Car Wash of Temple Hills and the Choptank Seafood Restaurant in Riverdale.
Sporting shot SILVER SPRING -- A 30-year-old Nigerian national living in Montgomery County has been charged with fraud in a multimillion-dollar international ring dealing in stolen identification documents, credit cards and bank checks, state police said.
Mutiu Olatunji Lawal was arrested early Thursday morning and charged with 10 counts of fraud after state troopers served a warrant at his apartment in the 1100 block of Fidler Lane in Silver Spring and seized dozens of credit cards and checks that were either stolen or fraudulently obtained from the Washington metropolitan area, police said.
In addition, more than 80 Nigerian birth certificates and a laminating machine allegedly used to produce or reproduce other identification documents were also seized.
Two other people allegedly involved in the ring were arrested in England by Scotland Yard on similar charges.
Maryland State Police investigators have also traced the ring's activities to several states, including West Virginia, Virginia and New York. Police in Martinsburg, W.Va., have arrested two more people on fraud charges and additional arrests are expected in Maryland, state police said.
Mr. Lawal was being held at the Montgomery County Detention Center on $500,000 bond, police said.