MARYLAND

2 Fatally Shot Men Identified

Prince George's County police released the identities yesterday of two men killed in separate shootings Saturday.

Police identified a 20-year-old man shot in Landover as Kenneth Shepard Ragland of the 7700 block of Bender Road. Ragland died early yesterday at a hospital, police said.

Police are investigating whether the shooting was related to events at the Mad Chef Cafe on Central Avenue in Capitol Heights, where Ragland and four friends had been earlier in the evening. As the five drove home, a vehicle pulled alongside and its occupants fired several rounds, hitting Ragland. A shooting was reported to police, who arrived at the 1600 block of FedEx Way at 3 a.m. and found Ragland in his car with a gunshot wound to the head.

In Oxon Hill, police called to a shooting at 7 p.m. found Tomar Enrique Cameron, 19, on the ground in the 5700 block of Everhart Place. Cameron was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. There are no suspects and no motive has been established, police said.

Pr. George's Man Falls Overboard, Drowns

A man from Prince George's County drowned in the Wicomico River in Chaptico after falling overboard while trying to remove fishing line tangled in a boat propeller, officials said yesterday.

Clarence Thomas Underwood, 57, of Accokeek was fishing on the river, in St. Mary's County, with two companions Saturday afternoon when the accident occurred, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources police said.

Underwood fell into about 10 feet of water as he attempted to untangle line from the propeller of his 21-foot powerboat. Officials said he was not wearing a life preserver. Underwood's body was recovered two hours later, shortly before 7:30 p.m., officials said.

Funeral to Affect Montgomery Roads

A portion of a major commuting route in the Wheaton area of Montgomery County will be closed for five hours today because of the funeral for Mattie Stepanek, a popular child poet who suffered from a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

Veirs Mill Road between Connecticut Avenue and University Boulevard will be closed in both directions from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., a county spokeswoman said. Also, Georgia Avenue at Aspen Hill Road will be closed from 12:30 until 1 p.m.

Mattie gained international acclaim as a poet and a peace advocate, using his neuromuscular disease to raise awareness of muscular dystrophy. He died Tuesday at age 13.

State Police Leader Leaving Guard

After nearly 39 years in the military, State Police Superintendent Thomas Hutchins will leave the National Guard soon to give his undivided attention to running Maryland State Police. As a command sergeant major with the Aviation Brigade of the 29th Infantry Division (Light), he has been working directly for the brigade commander, focusing on soldier training and making sure fighting and survival skills stay up to speed.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) named Hutchins acting superintendent of state police Dec. 10 after his predecessor, Edward Norris, was indicted for misuse of city funds when Norris was police commissioner of Baltimore. Soon after Norris pleaded guilty in March, Ehrlich made Hutchins superintendent.

Hospital for Mentally Ill Is Closing

Crownsville Hospital Center is shutting its doors after almost a century, leaving Maryland with just two primary residential facilities for the mentally ill. The state plans to move the handful of remaining patients this week from the historic, state-run psychiatric complex in Anne Arundel County.

State Health Secretary Nelson Sabatini said the closing will create a more efficient system for treating the mentally ill and save the state $12 million a year.

THE DISTRICT

Man Arrested in Stabbing at Shaw Station

A man was stabbed about 10:15 p.m. Saturday on the mezzanine of the Shaw-Howard University Metro station as crowds were entering the station after a Caribbean carnival on Georgia Avenue NW, Metro Transit Police said.

Transit Police officials arrested a suspect, who refused to give his name and did not have identification, and charged him with assault.

Cathy Asato, a spokeswoman for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said the victim was taken to Howard University Hospital with a non-life-threatening wound in his right armpit.

Underground Gas Fire Forces Evacuation

Dozens of Northwest residents were evacuated from their homes last night when a low-pressure gas line ruptured and caused an underground fire, authorities said.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze, which began about 10 p.m. in the 500 block of Taylor Street, in about 45 minutes, said Allan Etter, spokesman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. The fire did not reached street level.

Residents began to return to their homes shortly before midnight. A spokesman for Washington Gas said that service lines from the main gas line to homes in the block were being repaired last week and that a leak in a service line caused the fire.

VIRGINIA

Conviction in Child's Van Death Upheld

The Supreme Court of Virginia declined to hear an appeal from a Manassas man convicted of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment in the death of his 21-month-old daughter in a sweltering van. Virginia's Court of Appeals had earlier upheld Kevin C. Kelly's conviction in the death of Frances Kelly.

Frances Kelly was found dead after she was left in the van outside of the family's home for seven hours in May 2002.

In his appeal, Kelly said he could not be held criminally responsible because, in his written statement to police, he had instructed his older children to take their younger siblings out of the van. Kelly has 12 other children.

But in February, the three-judge panel ruled unanimously that there was enough evidence to show that Kelly should have done more to look after Frances instead of going about household chores and that his omissions rose to the level of criminal negligence. Though jurors recommended a year in jail, Kelly was sentenced to one day in jail each year for seven years.

"I don't know where everybody's coming from, or where everybody's going to work, or how it's going to work out. But it's going to be an interesting time here on the Shore."

-- Tracey Gordy of the Maryland Department of Planning on the increase

in retiring baby boomers moving to the Eastern Shore. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Eric Rich, Carol D. Leonnig and Nicole Fuller and the Associated Press.