Local news digest for D.C. area

August 1, 2013
THE REGION
Friday hearing set on Park Police guns

Federal officials are scheduled to testify about missing U.S. Park Police weapons at a congressional hearing Friday morning.

A report released by the Interior Department’s inspector general last month said Park Police had lost track of thousands of handguns, rifles and machine guns. Similar problems were reported in 2008 and 2009, and investigators said they were never rectified.

The 2013 review began, in part, because an anonymous tipster said Park Police officers were improperly taking weapons home. Two such instances were discovered, along with many other instances of firearms mismanagement, according to the report.

“Commanders up to and including the chief of police have a lackadaisical attitude toward firearms management,” wrote Mary L. Kendall, the deputy inspector general. “Historical evidence indicates that the indifference is a product of years of inattention to administrative detail.”

About 600 officers serve in the Park Police, patrolling National Park Service property across the nation, including the Mall and Washington’s national monuments.

— Stefanie Dazio

THE DISTRICT
Arrest made in 2011 death of firefighter

D.C. police on Thursday arrested a man wanted in the fatal beating of an off-duty city firefighter in 2011, authorities said.

Melvin L. Linkins, 39, of Northeast Washington was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Marc E. Dancy, 37, who lived in Clinton, police said. Dancy’s body was found Jan. 23, 2011, in the 3000 block of Seventh Street NE, in the Edgewood community near Catholic University. Dancy had been injured in a fight, according to authorities.

Police said Linkins was arrested about 8:15 a.m. Thursday by the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Dancy had worked for the fire department for five years and was assigned to Engine 10 in the Trinidad neighborhood, one of the District’s busiest fire companies. He grew up in the District and had a wife and three children, who were 8, 10 and 16 when he died.

— Peter Hermann

Hundreds lose
Internet service

A broken water pipe damaged Verizon equipment in Georgetown on Wednesday, knocking out service to about 400 Internet subscribers.

A spokeswoman said service had been returned to more than half of those affected as of Wednesday evening. Service to the rest was expected to be restored shortly, she said.

Verizon is among the city’s leading Internet and cable TV providers, along with Comcast and RCN.

— Steven Overly

Arrest in slaying
last week in NW

A D.C. man was arrested Thursday in the death last week of a man who was found shot in a burning apartment in Northwest Washington, authorities said.

The Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Jermaine Brown, 34, of Northwest about 4 p.m. Thursday, and he was charged with first-degree murder while armed, police officials said in a statement.

Authorities allege that Brown killed Randolph Scott Harris Jr. , 31, who was found early July 26 in the 1000 block of Euclid Street NW.

— Clarence Williams

Davis starts term as teacher union chief

It’s official: Elizabeth Davis is the new president of the Washington Teachers’ Union and will lead contract negotiations on behalf of 4,000 D.C. educators.

Davis took office Thursday after unseating incumbent Nathan Saunders in a runoff election last month. Saunders had appealed the result in an effort to remain in office, but he withdrew the challenge, according to a letter he wrote to union members Wednesday.

“You have made a choice which I shall respect despite some technical nuances,” Saunders wrote. He added that given the challenges the union faces — including an existential threat posed by the closing of traditional public schools and the rapid growth of charter schools — “leadership is primary and who provides it is secondary.”

Saunders also chided fellow teachers, calling them apathetic about union issues, a problem he said was evidenced by the low turnout in the union election. Of 4,000 teachers, only 65 percent, or about 2,600, are full dues-paying members and, therefore, eligible to vote, he wrote. Fewer than 900 teachers cast ballots, about 35 percent of those eligible.

— Emma Brown

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