VIRGINIA

Winchester Police Officer Slain

A Winchester police officer died early yesterday after being shot as he chased someone on foot.

Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook, 32, was shot in the head shortly before midnight during a pursuit on East Piccadilly Street and East Lane, the city said in a news release. The officer died later at a hospital.

Police evacuated nearby residents, and Winchester and state police SWAT teams conducted a house-to-house search for five hours. A second search began around 7 a.m.

Timbrook joined the city police department in 1991. His wife is expecting their first child in December.

Wetland Protection Urged

An advisory panel appointed by Gov. James S. Gilmore III recommended that Virginia spend as much as $134 million over the next decade to protect wetlands from development and expand regulations to safeguard them.

The proposals would plug a legal hole that since last year has resulted in the disruption of some 2,500 acres of nontidal wetlands, mostly in southeastern Virginia.

In its final report, the Citizens Wetlands Advisory Committee said nearly half of the state's 1.8 million acres of bogs, swamps and forested fields have been ruined in the past 200 years by development, farming and natural forces.

Virginia must set new regulations and provide incentives to preserve 20,500 acres by 2010, the panel said in the report.

Lila Young, a Gilmore spokeswoman, said the governor has not reviewed the recommendations or decided whether to support them.

Water Main Breaks in Rosslyn

A water main broke beneath Gateway Park in Rosslyn yesterday, shutting down part of I-66 in that area temporarily, causing traffic backups and cutting off water for a time to two nearby buildings, authorities said.

Water was detected dripping through tiles in the ceiling of the I-66 underpass about 4 p.m. and police closed I-66 in the area as a precaution, said Randy Bartlett, a division chief at Arlington County Department of Public Works.

While determining which of the lines passing through the area was broken, crews shut down individual lines for brief periods, but the supply was restored by 10 p.m., he said. He said workers will return this week to repair the main.

At the Holiday Inn Rosslyn Westpark, employees distributed bottled water to the 150 or more guests in the building and filled pitchers so the hotel's two restaurants could serve dinner, said manager Denise Stanley. "We just improvised with bottled water," Stanley said. "Everyone was really sympathetic. They knew it wasn't our fault."

MARYLAND

Grenade Scare Closes BWI Terminal

A terminal at Baltimore-Washington International Airport was closed for three hours yesterday after security officials found a suspicious object in a piece of luggage that turned out to be a hollow, souvenir hand grenade.

Security officials shut down Pier C after an X-ray machine at a security checkpoint found what appeared to be a real grenade in the carry-on luggage of Sho Matsunaya, 49, a Japanese man visiting Maryland on business, airport and police officials said.

Passengers were held back 300 feet as a robot brought in by police and fire personnel took the bag to a remote location, said Betsey Sanpere, an airport spokeswoman.

Matsunaya, who speaks little English and works for a research and development center, was traveling with a group of colleagues back to Japan. Police decided not to file charges after questioning him for more than an hour, said Cpl. Gregory Prioleau, spokesman for the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

The pier reopened about 8:30 a.m. The three-hour closure caused delays throughout the day. The airlines affected were American, America West, Continental, Northwest and Southwest, Sanpere said.

Montgomery Gas Line Ruptured

About 100 town houses in upper Montgomery County were evacuated for about two hours yesterday morning after a construction crew ruptured a four-inch gas line and gas seeped into nearby residences.

The accident occurred about 8 a.m. on Sojourn Court in the Milestone development. Montgomery County fire spokesman Dan Gilman said residents were allowed to return home after about two hours.

Driver Killed on Route 50 Ramp

A 19-year-old man who was driving the wrong way on a Route 50 exit ramp in the Annapolis area was killed yesterday morning when his car collided with an oncoming tractor-trailer, Maryland state police said.

They said Enrique Ortega, of Blossom Tree Drive in the Annapolis area, was killed in the 4:24 a.m. accident on the ramp from the eastbound lanes of Route 50 to the northbound lanes of the Ritchie Highway. Police said an autopsy would be conducted.

The driver of the truck was taken to a hospital, police said. His condition could not be immediately determined.

THE DISTRICT

Ice Skating Rink to Open

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Skating Rink will open for the season Nov. 15, weather permitting.

During the season, which will conclude March 15, the rink's hours will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Weekday admission will be $5 for adults, $4.50 for students and $4 for seniors. On weekends, admission will be $5.50 for adults and $4.50 for both students and seniors. Skates can be rented for $2.50. Refreshments will be available.

2 Firefighters Injured in NE

Two D.C. firefighters were injured yesterday morning during a Northeast house fire, according to Fire Department Deputy Chief Joseph Herr.

None of the residents of the two-story, frame house in the 900 block of 45th Place NE was injured, but the building was heavily damaged, he said. One firefighter was struck in the jaw with a fire hose nozzle, and the other strained his back, Herr said. Both were sent to the hospital. Herr did not know when they would be released.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The geniuses they paid 25 years ago couldn't figure out that if you stick these things out in the rain, you'll have problems. If we know exposure to weather is a big part of the problem, I don't know why we're not out there, covering these things."

-- Chris Zimmerman, a Metro board member, on the system's maintenance problems with escalators.