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Police Investigate Hate Crime

A cross found on the lawn of an African American family in Rockville yesterday is being investigated as a hate crime, Montgomery County police said.

The family found the wooden cross in the yard in the 14900 block of Bauer Drive, police said.

Montgomery has experienced a recent spike in hate crimes, police have said. Racist graffiti were painted on schools and churches in the county six times during a one-week period this month.

Shooting by Officer Investigated

Prince George's County police are investigating a shooting by an off-duty officer about 9:30 p.m. Friday near Bowie Town Center.

Police said yesterday that a 12-year member of the department fired one shot from her county-issued gun after two burglary suspects allegedly tried to run over an off-duty officer with a truck. The bullet hit a front tire of the truck, police said.

The two off-duty officers were shopping in the 15500 block of Emerald Way when they saw a man running out of a store with a bundle of coats, police said. The man jumped into a truck. Police said the officers identified themselves, and one tried to arrest the driver and the man. The driver tried to move the truck with the officer clinging to it, police said. The driver escaped, but passenger Leonard T. Gilliam, 37, of District Heights, was charged with attempted first-degree murder and felony theft.

Man Found Dead in Lewisdale

A 21-year-old man was found dead in the 7000 block of West Park Drive in Lewisdale yesterday morning, Prince George's police said.

Wilmer N. Corrales Melgares of the 8300 block of 14th Avenue had been stabbed. Police would not provide further details about the slaying and said they do not have suspects or a motive in the attack.

Cabdriver Shot in Annapolis

A cabdriver was shot and critically wounded last night in Annapolis, police said. No motive was known.

The shooting occurred about 7 p.m. near Bay Ridge and Cypress roads, about two miles south of the State House. The driver told a woman walking there that he had been shot, and he then collapsed on the sidewalk.


"Maybe I would also have accepted the Lord if I had stayed in El Salvador. But it was like He had a plan for me to discover Him here."

-- Maura Marquez, a Salvadoran immigrant and one of a growing number of Central Americans who have become active in church life after moving to the area. -- C1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Alec MacGillis, Carol Morello, Lila de Tantillo, Martin Weil and Ovetta Wiggins and the Associated Press.

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