County police, fugitive in standoff

Jamaican man sought by agents for missing a deportation hearing

January 13, 2000|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County police were in a standoff last night at a Randallstown house with a Jamaican man being sought by federal authorities for missing a deportation hearing.

Tactical unit officers surrounded the house in the 800 block of Falcon Ridge Drive where Hubert Downer, 38, of no fixed address was believed to be hiding. Police said Downer has served nine years for federal drug and weapons charges in four states, including Maryland. Police were uncertain of the date of Downer's hearing.

"The federal agents believe Downer is in there," said county police spokesman Bill Toohey. "They don't think he's armed, but no one's taking any chances."

The incident began at 9 a.m. and disrupted traffic in the neighborhood most of the day. School dismissals were delayed, and residents trying to get home found roads blocked.

Students at Randallstown High School, Old Court Middle and Winand Elementary were held after regular dismissal times. Parents of young children who normally walk home were asked to come to school to pick them up.

"This didn't become much an issue until it was time to let the children out of school," Toohey said of the disruptions. "We decided it wasn't safe to have children walking through the neighborhoods in the midst of all this."

Agents from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service said they saw Downer driving a green 1997 Honda Civic along Winands Road in Randallstown yesterday morning. They lost sight of him, but later received a tip that Downer was staying at the house on Falcon Ridge Drive, Toohey said.

The agents found the car in the driveway of the home and saw Downer opening and shutting the garage door, Toohey said. Agents then surrounded the house and called the county police for assistance.

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