News from around the Baltimore region

June 29, 2005


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


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


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


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.

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