Men Assault 90-Year-Old, Hold 6 Hostage

A 90-year-old man was assaulted by two armed men and was among six people held hostage inside his Accokeek home yesterday.

The intruders hit the man several times and held him at gunpoint, along with his daughter and son-in-law, both 51; a granddaughter, 16; a grandson, 13; and a neighbor, said Cpl. Diane Richardson, a Prince George's County police spokeswoman. The incident lasted about an hour.

Authorities said the two armed men also threatened to sexually assault one of the female hostages.

The incident began about 12:15 p.m., when two men stopped their dark blue Suzuki motorcycle in front of the elderly man's home in the 15800 block of Sharperville Road, where he was sitting on his front porch. The assailants each produced a handgun, ordered the man into his home and demanded money.

When the man's daughter, son-in-law and the two teenagers arrived, they also were taken hostage.

Unaware of what was happening, a female neighbor in her sixties stopped at the house to check on the elderly man. She was also taken hostage.

The victims were bound with neckties from the elderly man's closet and forced to lie on the kitchen floor, Richardson said.

After searching the house for valuables, the two men fled on the motorcycle and in the family's rental car, which was described as a newer model tan Ford Crown Victoria with Maryland license MCA917. Early this morning, police said the car had been found. Richardson declined to say what items the men took from the house.

After the men left, the elderly man's daughter was able to untie herself and free the other hostages, and one of them called 911. The elderly man was transported to a hospital with injuries that weren't believed to be life threatening.

The victims said the men were in their late teens or twenties, Richardson said. There is no known connection between the parties. Prince George's police are asking anyone with information to call 301-735-1111. A $1,000 award is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.

Man, 20, Shot to Death in Greenbelt

A man was shot and killed in Greenbelt early yesterday during an altercation with several people, police said.

Carlton Anthony Sharpe, 20, of Greenbelt was chatting with a friend around Edmonston Court and Edmonston Terrace about 12:50 a.m. when several males approached and started arguing with them, Greenbelt police said.

Sharpe, of the 6200 block of Breezewood Drive, was shot, and his friend managed to flee and call police, authorities said.

Police said he suspects fled in a black SUV.

No Chimps on Boardwalk, Ocean City Says

Officials in Ocean City don't want any monkey business on the boardwalk.

Chimpanzees Mike and Louie were denied a piece of prime boardwalk real estate last week because of fears they might bite tourists.

A Maryland animal caretaker had asked the town for permission to house two chimpanzees in a boardwalk photo-set storefront.

In 20-minute shows, the chimps would put on costumes to make them resemble a clown, Elvis, a Hawaiian hula girl and a jazz pianist, according to the business plan. But the bid was sunk by Ocean City officials Tuesday, citing health and public safety concerns.

"These are wild animals. They may have been captive bred and raised, but they are still wild," Pam Bunting, a police animal control officer, wrote to the Town Council. "With all the confusion that goes on [on] the boardwalk -- this is not a place to display [chimpanzees] for human and animal safety and welfare."

The Town Council briefly considered and then unanimously rejected the request by Judie Harrison, owner and operator of Monkey Business, an Elkton, Md., company that makes the animals available to television producers for a fee.


Evacuees From Bahrain Arrive at Norfolk

Family members of U.S. military and defense personnel living in Bahrain arrived in Norfolk yesterday after being evacuated from the Persian Gulf nation because of the risk of terrorist attacks.

The 275 evacuees were among 1,100 expected to fly into Norfolk Naval Station over several days. The first group of about 75 family members arrived Saturday at the world's largest Navy base.

This is the first such mandatory evacuation from the longtime U.S. ally, where the Navy's 5th Fleet is based.

On July 2, the Pentagon said it was withdrawing service members' families from Bahrain for at least 30 days. Earlier, the State Department cautioned Americans against traveling to Bahrain and advised U.S. citizens who lived there to leave because of information that extremists were planning attacks.

Accident Closes Route 15 in Loudoun

An accident early yesterday afternoon shut down a stretch of Route 15 just south of Lucketts in Loudoun County for hours.

A commercial pickup truck, swerving to miss a tractor-trailer pulling onto the road, crashed into a utility pole about 12:30 p.m.

There were no injuries, but crews from Dominion Virginia Power spent several hours fixing the lines and securing the damaged pole. The road was completely shut for about two hours, then limited traffic was allowed to pass until the utility crew finished its work.

"It's going to take some time to make a real difference. Oversight is good, but a hammer is better."

-- Michael J. Schewel, Virginia's secretary of commerce and trade, speaking about efforts to increase the number of state contracts awarded to minority- and woman-owned businesses. -- Page B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Michele Clock, Allan Lengel and Martin Weil and the Associated Press.