Crime Watch

CRIME WATCH

June 12, 2007

Teenage girl's body found at city school

City police are investigating an apparent homicide of a teenage girl whose body was found yesterday morning in a courtyard at Bentalou Elementary School in West Baltimore. Police were still on the scene as parents escorted their children into the school building.

A man walking his dog discovered the body about 6:10 a.m. and called police, authorities said. A preliminary investigation showed that the girl - whose identity was not known - might have died from multiple gunshot wounds, police said.

Police commanders, homicide detectives, patrol officers, city school police and city school officials refused to release any information at the scene. The teenager was the second reported homicide victim yesterday in the city.

Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman, said that detectives could not be sure whether the girl was shot on school property or if her body had been moved there.

Except for yellow police crime scene tape that temporarily blocked traffic, it appeared that the beginning of the school day was not disrupted for students. Classroom windows overlook the courtyard of the school at North Bentalou and West Saratoga streets.

A reporter who tried to interview school officials was told to leave the building by a supervisor. Farther down North Bentalou Street, young children were being dropped off at a day-care center at the Greater Church of the Risen Savior Ministries.

The Rev. Denise L. Folks, the pastor, who is involved in the day-care program at the church, said the immediate area has a lot of children, many of whom are not surprised by crime scenes.

"The children unfortunately have probably seen a lot of activity like this," she said. "I'm hoping it causes the parents to draw closer to the children and to be more active in their children's lives."

Officials with the state medical examiner's office picked up the body and left the scene about 8:30 a.m.

A second homicide victim was found about 2:20 a.m., in West Baltimore. Police officers found a man shot in the head in a car in the 1500 block of N. Hilton St. Details on that homicide investigation were not immediately available.

Gus G. Sentementes

Guilty plea in bank robberies

A 44-year-old man pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to robbing the same Baltimore bank branch twice in two months, federal prosecutors said. He was arrested during his second attempt after he was wounded during a shootout with a city police sergeant, authorities said.

Troy Gross Sr. faces a maximum sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 7.

Prosecutors said Gross robbed Wachovia Bank in the 1700 block of E. Northern Parkway on Jan. 30 and pointed a Walther P38 semiautomatic handgun at customers and employees. The prosecutors said he took money totaling $11,520 from all of the tellers and escaped.

On Feb. 20, prosecutors said, Gross returned to the branch, grabbed a 67-year-old woman and put a gun to her head. The customer fainted, and a police officer heard Gross say, "Robbery," prosecutors said. City police said the robber fired an errant shot and that Sgt. Robert Brian Eiseman shot Gross in the upper body.

Man pleads guilty in porn case

An Eastern Shore man pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to a child-pornography charge after an Australian Internet site showed him abusing an 11-year-old-boy, federal prosecutors said.

Roderick Gene Parks, 42, of Berlin faces 15 to 30 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised released when he is sentenced Sept. 12, prosecutors said. He has been in custody since Dec. 1, charged with sexually exploiting a minor to produce child pornography.

The U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore said in a statement that Parks was arrested after the Internet site, ANYwebcam.com, filed a complaint with the Australian Federal Police in November and turned over a photo from a computer screen showing Parks molesting the boy.

Prosecutors said Parks posted a video of himself and the boy on the Internet site. The prosecutors said Parks was baby-sitting the boy while the child's mother worked.

Carroll man charged in arson

A New Windsor man has been charged with second-degree arson in connection with a fire May 24 in downtown Westminster, the state fire marshal's office announced yesterday.

Nicholas J. Moore, 19, of the 3200 block of Atlee Ridge Road is being held at the Carroll County Detention Center on $30,000 bond after being arrested at his home Friday night, authorities said. He also was charged with first-degree malicious burning. The fire caused about $100,000 in damage to three structures.

Laura McCandlish

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