Week In Review

December 31, 2006

Pasadena

Man dies after police confrontation

In the second time in seven months that a mentally disturbed man has died during a confrontation with Anne Arundel County police, a 24-year-old Pasadena man stopped breathing after being subdued by six officers.

Steven Ray Ellison allegedly assaulted four people Wednesday night, then struggled with a half-dozen officers who got him onto the ground and into handcuffs before he lost consciousness, county police said.

The autopsy showed no sign of trauma, Anne Arundel County police said Friday, but the cause of death has not been released. Homicide detectives and the state's attorney's office are investigating.

The first officer who arrived to arrest Ellison has been placed on administrative leave. The other five officers who helped handcuff the struggling Ellison remain on duty.

Friends and neighbors said police should have called in one of their "mobile crisis units" of trained mental health professionals to defuse the situation with Ellison, who his girlfriend said was on a half-dozen medications for mental illness.

But Lt. David Waltemeyer, a police spokesman, said the two-member units are not designed to intervene in situations that have already turned violent. He added that officers' priority was to ensure everyone's safety.

Maryland section, Friday

Annapolis

Visitors bureau moves temporarily

Annapolis' hub for wayfarers is moving its operations down the road for the next eight to 10 months while it undergoes a $1.3 million expansion and renovation. On Friday, the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau took up temporary residence in the Arundel Center at 44 Calvert St., said Connie Del Signore, president and chief executive officer. Work on the bureau, which welcomed about 190,000 visitors last year, is expected to begin Jan. 8. The overhaul, paid for by the state, county and city, and the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, will add a second floor, a conference room, new bathrooms and a sleeker look to the building at 26 Main St. In the meantime, the administrative staff will occupy the second and third floor above Cooks Revenge at 197 Main St. Space limitations forced the center to split its operations.

Anne Arundel section, Friday

Anne Arundel

City sees its highest homicide total

The death of a 23-year-old Laurel man who was shot this month in Annapolis has brought the city's number of homicides this year to seven, two more than the previous highest total.

Sheku Magba Koroma Jr. died Sunday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center after he was shot multiple times in the chest during a drive-by shooting in the 900 block of Royal St. about 9:30 p.m. Dec. 14.

Several hours later, Gary Ellis Brown, 36, was charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder after witnesses placed his wife's Pontiac Grand Am at the scene of the crime, according to police.

The charges against Brown, of Oak Manor Drive in Glen Burnie, will be upgraded in the wake of Koroma's death, said Officer Kevin Freeman, an Annapolis police spokesman.

Maryland section, Thursday

Anne Arundel

15 days as a delegate

Standing in the splendor of the historic Maryland State House, William "Jay" Breitenbach put his hand on a Bible on Tuesday and swore to use the best of his "skill and judgment" to represent his new constituents in northeastern Anne Arundel County.

Breitenbach - a 40-year-old real estate appraiser and former county public works employee who lives in Severna Park - looked earnestly at House Speaker Michael E. Busch. With his wife and 11-year-old son looking on, he seemed to really mean it. Only one thing stood in his way: He will serve as a member of the House of Delegates for just 15 days, counting weekends.

He won't have an office or a coveted license plate or a committee assignment. But Breitenbach - who after taking the oath was quickly ushered to a side room to fill out some human resources paperwork - will earn $1,812.50 for the two-week period.

Breitenbach is filling a vacancy created by former Republican Del. John R. Leopold's successful run for Anne Arundel County executive.

Leopold's assumption of his new office Dec. 4 left District 31 with two sitting delegates, one short of its full allotment. The problem could have righted itself in short order. All 141 members of the House of Delegates were up for election in November, and three Republican politicians - incumbent Don Dwyer Jr. and two newcomers - are ready to take office Jan. 10.

Maryland section, Wednesday

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