News from around the Baltimore region

September 10, 2005


School board discusses replacements for Smith

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education discussed possible interim and permanent replacements yesterday for departing Superintendent Eric J. Smith but announced no decisions.

The board talked behind closed doors for more than 90 minutes at the Dr. Carol Sheffey Parham Building. It was not known which candidates they are considering or whether they will focus their search on internal or national candidates.

Smith, who just entered his fourth year as the county's chief educator, announced this week that he will step down Nov. 23 to accept a position at Harvard's Graduate School of Education.

He had been recently criticized by board members after an internal audit revealed missing records such as criminal background checks for employees, and inconsistent compensation policies within the school system. The teachers union had also complained about lagging pay and Smith's management style.


Proposed law to ensure pay for county workers in Guard

Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. said yesterday that he and the County Council will introduce legislation to ensure that county employees who are activated to National Guard service will receive the amount of their county salary and health benefits while aiding in Hurricane Katrina relief.

That proposal was among a series of Katrina-related initiatives announced by the county executive yesterday at a fire station in Cockeysville, as he honored county firefighters who have returned from a search-and-rescue mission in Mississippi. The Department of Community Conservation is coordinating faith-based organizations' relief efforts and has received commitments from 50 groups to help evacuees, while the county Department of Social Services is providing vouchers for gas and food for families.

Nine members of the county's Advanced Tactical Rescue Team were recognized for their work in Mississippi. The Fire Department has also sent eight two-person teams to Atlanta for training for operations in the states hit by the hurricane, and the county Police Department has 50 officers and command staff awaiting word on a date to leave for the area.


Man recently freed from prison is charged in bank robbery

A man convicted of trying to kill a federal police officer nearly 20 years ago, who was recently released from prison, is now wanted by the FBI as a suspect in a Baltimore bank robbery this week, officials said.

Authorities have charged Kendall Charles Alexander Sr., 41, and his son with robbing the Wachovia Bank in the 1700 block of E. Northern Parkway. The son, Kendall Jr., and a third man have been arrested and charged in the robbery.

While a 23-year-old prison escapee in 1987, Alexander shot U.S. Park Police Officer Patrick Gavin in the head. Gavin had stopped a car occupied by Alexander and two other men on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Prince George's County. The car was later determined to have been stolen.

Gavin survived the shooting.

Alexander pleaded guilty to the shooting on Aug. 21, 1987. U.S. District Judge Alexander Harvey II imposed the maximum sentence of 28 years on Alexander, a convicted robber and escapee from the Maryland prison system.

Anyone with information about Alexander is asked to call the FBI at 410-265-8080.


Police hope missing SUV leads to clues in killing

Police said yesterday they were searching for a sport utility vehicle owned by a West Baltimore man who was fatally stabbed in his home, which was then set on fire Wednesday morning.

Reynard Sheppard, 50, was found by city firefighters on the second floor of his rowhouse as they battled the fire in the 2100 block of Hollins St. His vehicle, a gold 2001 Nissan Pathfinder, remained missing yesterday, and police consider any driver of the truck to be a person of interest in the killing, said Officer Troy Harris, a police spokesman. The vehicle has Maryland tag 81470 CB.

Police did not know of a motive or suspects in Sheppard's death, which was ruled a homicide.


Fair to raise funds for field in memory of boy killed by ball

A fair is scheduled for today in northern Baltimore County to raise money to build a youth baseball field in memory of Benjamin Huxtable, the 4-year-old boy who died after being struck by a baseball before the start of an adult amateur game on Father's Day.

Ben's Big-League Bash is to include baseball-related games, food, entertainment and a silent auction. The carnival is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Chestnut Grove Presbyterian Church, 3701 Sweet Air Road in Phoenix.

Benjamin Huxtable died after being struck by a ball while players were warming up for a Baltimore County Over-30 Baseball League game June 19 in Lutherville. The state medical examiner's office found that the boy died of cardiac arrhythmia caused by blunt force trauma to the chest.

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