Crime Watch

April 04, 2008

Fatal shooting result of robbery, police say

The shootings on Interstate 95 that left one Harford County man dead and another man wounded was the result of a robbery attempt, according to a statement of probable cause.

Maryland State Police charged a Prince George's County man, Demetrius D. Lovelace, 35, with first-degree murder and armed robbery.

Lovelace is charged in the death of Alan Zurita, 29, of Havre de Grace, who was found lying on the shoulder of southbound I-95 about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. Less than two hours later, Zurita died at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Troopers learned that a second victim, Damon M. Jackson, 33, also of Havre de Grace, had been dropped off at the Bel Air hospital that morning with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to his upper body. Witnesses told troopers that the victim was dropped off from a red sedan with chrome wheels.

Investigators said they found a red Mitsubishi Galant with chrome wheels, the interior stained with blood, parked outside the suspect's residence in Temple Hills in Prince George's County. Lovelace was arrested late Tuesday.

The suspect and Jackson told troopers that they knew each other from a previous incarceration, according to the statement of cause.

Jackson told police that Lovelace, who picked him and Zurita up in a red sedan, was driving on the interstate north of Route 24 when Lovelace drew a handgun and attempted to rob the two passengers. Jackson told police he did not know how he got to the hospital.

Lovelace denied shooting Jackson or Zurita, calling the incident "a robbery gone bad," according to the statement of cause. He told troopers that he and Jackson planned to rob Zurita of money, drugs or both.

Lovelace told investigators that Jackson was shot while robbing Zurita, then shot Zurita along the shoulder of the highway. Lovelace said he dropped Jackson off at the medical center, then got rid of the evidence, authorities said.

Greg Shipley, the state police spokesman, said yesterday that no other suspects have been charged.

According to court records, Lovelace has been found guilty of assault, use of a deadly weapon in a crime of violence, reckless endangerment and handgun possession in prior incidents. In 1995, he was acquitted of three counts of assault with intent to murder in Prince George's County.

Lovelace is being held at the Harford County Detention Center without bail. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing May 1.

Madison Park

Man sentenced to 45 years for firing gun from dirt bike

A 19-year-old Baltimore man was sentenced yesterday to 45 years in prison, with 10 years suspended, for firing two shots at city police officers who were trying to stop him for driving a dirt bike on city streets.

Circuit Judge Wanda K. Heard sentenced Ronnie Lester of the 1300 block of Glyndon Ave. for first-degree assault and a handgun charge. She also gave him three years' probation.

Assistant State's Attorney Brandis Marsh said that on May 24, police spotted people riding three dirt bikes in the 1300 block of Pennsylvania Ave. One of the bikes stalled. Lester returned to pick up that driver, who mounted the back of his bike, and Lester then fired two shots before speeding away, prosecutors said.

After a chase, police apprehended Lester when he had to stop for a crowd of people in the street who were watching a house fire at 1903 Cecil Ave. that killed eight people. Police recovered a .32-caliber pistol that Lester threw off of the Maryland Avenue bridge, prosecutors said.

Melissa Harris

Abduction faked, police say

A Baltimore County woman who police said faked her own kidnapping was found in the trunk of her car in a Forest Hill park Wednesday night, a spokesman for the Harford County sheriff's office said.

Deputies received a call about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday about a woman who had been abducted on Route 24 near Wheel Road, put inside the trunk of a car and taken to a park in Forest Hill.

The caller was a friend of the woman who did not know that the supposed carjacking and kidnapping were phony, said Sgt. David Betz, a sheriff's spokesman.

Deputies found the woman, who was not identified, in the trunk of the vehicle at Friends Park about 9:35 p.m., Betz said.

The woman was taken to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air with minor injuries. Deputies said they were not sure whether the wounds were self-inflicted.

Betz said deputies are not likely to press charges.

Madison Park

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