Digest

September 24, 2007

2 firefighters injured battling blaze at duplex in Woodlawn, Two Baltimore County firefighters were injured while fighting a blaze at a Woodlawn home early yesterday, authorities said.

The fire started shortly after 6 a.m. at a duplex in the 7100 block of Bexhill Road, said Lt. James Artis, a county fire official. When firefighters arrived about 6:30 a.m., they found the second floor and the rear of the home engulfed in flames and smoke.

The fire was brought under control by 7 a.m., but two firefighters were injured. One firefighter suffered burns and was taken to the burn unit at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center for treatment. The other firefighter suffered unspecified injuries and was taken to Northwest Hospital, Artis said. Their conditions were unavailable.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

Gus G. Sentementes

Baltimore : Courts

Jury acquits man in death

A Baltimore County man charged with fatally beating a man and then setting his Mid-Town Belvedere apartment on fire has been acquitted by a jury of all charges, city prosecutors said.

Zukael T. Stephens, 29, of Randallstown had faced charges that included first-degree murder and arson stemming from the Oct. 11 incident inside a seventh-floor apartment in the 1000 block of St. Paul St.

He had been accused of killing Marcus Rogers, a 26-year-old transgender activist, and then setting fire to the apartment to cover up the slaying.

But prosecutors said a jury, apparently not satisfied that there was enough evidence, returned not-guilty verdicts Thursday.

Firefighters had responded to the Regency Apartments the night of Oct. 11 and extinguished flames in the dining room and a rear bedroom. They then found a man lying unconscious near a balcony door.

Rogers died Oct. 17, and the state medical examiner's office ruled his death a homicide by blunt force trauma to the head. Police said Rogers had suffered a fractured skull, and had second-degree burns on his back.

Stephens was arrested in an apartment in Woodlawn. While being held, prosecutors accidentally dropped murder charges against him; he was set free until the mistake could be corrected, and he was rearrested.

Police said that video from a surveillance camera shows Rogers entering the apartment building and getting into the elevator with a man wearing a dark-colored coat, black shirt, blue jeans and beige boots. They were also seen getting off the elevator together on the seventh floor, police said.

Later, police said the man in the dark coat was seen on the tape "carrying a bag and in a hurry to leave the building," according to charging documents. "Moments later, a male was seen on the video pointing towards the stairwell, and everyone was in a panic."

Baltimore County

: Glen Burnie

Biker hits cruiser at accident scene

Maryland State Police troopers were investigating a motorcycle accident yesterday on the Baltimore Beltway in Glen Burnie in when another motorcycle slammed into a police cruiser at the scene.

The first accident happened about 1 p.m. yesterday, on the inner loop near the exit to Route 648, authorities said. State troopers and paramedics were at the scene and treating the motorcycle rider when another motorcyclist struck a police cruiser, police said.

The rider in the first accident was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, while the second rider was taken to an unspecified area hospital, police said. Their names and conditions were not immediately available.

Gus G. Sentementes

Region

: Rail accidents

Man, 45, teenager struck by trains

CSX Railroad and police are investigating two train-related deaths that occurred Saturday.

About 7:30 p.m. in Baltimore County, a CSX locomotive pulling at least a mile of cars was southbound on a straightaway along the 8800 block of Pulaski Highway when the engineer saw a man sitting on the tracks in a lawn chair, police at the county's Essex precinct said.

The engineer sounded his horn and tried to stop, but the train struck and killed the man, police said. It stopped nearly a mile down the tracks, police said.

Pronounced dead at the scene was Mark Williams, 45, whose last known address was in the 2000 block of E. 31st St. in Baltimore's Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello neighborhood. Williams might have been homeless at the time of his death, police said.

His body was sent to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore for an autopsy to determine whether alcohol or drugs contributed to his death.

Six hours earlier in Montgomery County, a 17-year-old Gaithersburg boy was struck about 1:15 p.m. and killed by a CSX train as he crossed tracks in the first block of Chestnut St. near the county's fairgrounds.

Police said William M. Stewart of the 100 block of Floral Drive was struck by a westbound CSX train traveling from Baltimore to Cumberland.

Police said Stewart was trailing two friends - a 15-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, also of Gaithersburg - who had yelled at him to get off the tracks because they saw the train approaching. The engineer sounded the horn several times and applied the brakes but could not avoid hitting the youth, police said.

Lynn Anderson and Richard Irwin

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