Allen Tours Flooded Area of Richmond

Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) yesterday toured Shockoe Bottom, a thriving Richmond retail, office, restaurant, entertainment and residential district that was devastated by flooding a week ago after Tropical Storm Gaston delivered more than a foot of rain to the area.

The flooding left 35 businesses, 25 restaurants and 150 residences at least temporarily uninhabitable, said Erika Gay, executive director of the River District Alliance. Preliminary damage estimates total about $60 million, she said. Only one business had flood insurance, she said.

Accompanied by federal disaster-relief officials, Allen walked through the muddied floors of businesses and encouraged their owners to take advantage of low-interest government-backed loans. Some business owners and residents told Allen that they were wary of trying again, fearing the next freak rainstorm could bring more of the same misery.

Methods to Defuse School Violence Taught

At the Texas prison for teenagers convicted of murders and aggravated sex crimes, a brawl between two inmates once launched a round of betting on who would win.

Now, after training from the "Peers Making Peace" program of Pax United, the spectators discuss why the fight started and how to stop such incidents from recurring.

High school and college students and teachers from 35 states gathered yesterday at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center to learn ways to defuse violence in schools.

The students and educators at the four-day symposium, sponsored by the Reston-based Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, said they would take the various approaches to conflict resolution back to their schools and communities to help cool simmering tensions before they erupt into larger episodes.

In Texas, Pax United has launched mediation programs in 5,000 schools, from elementary to high school, with students and teachers trained to resolve arguments or fights. "This is not like starting a club," said executive director Susan Armoni. "This program changes the climate of the campus," she said, noting that disputes and assaults have dropped dramatically in schools with the program.

Men Posing as Police Take Victims' Cash

Two men were robbed, and one was abducted briefly, in separate incidents last week in Prince William County, in which the robbers claimed to be police officers, Prince William police said yesterday.

The first victim, a 49-year-old man, told police he was waiting for a bus in the 14500 block of Jefferson Davis Highway about 4:30 p.m. Friday. He said a car pulled up with a woman and two men who told him they were investigating a theft. One of the men brandished a handgun and ordered the man inside. Police said the robbers took cash from the man's wallet and dropped him off a short time later on York Drive.

The second incident occurred Saturday about 12:15 p.m. The 33-year-old victim said he was at an Exxon station in the 13500 block of Quate Lane when he was approached by two men in a pickup truck who said they were conducting an investigation. The men took the man's cash and fled. Police are investigating whether the incidents are related.


D.C. Man Dies of Gunshot Wound to Face

A 30-year-old District man was found fatally wounded early yesterday in front of his home just north of the Howard University campus, and police had no suspects or motive in the killing.

Police said they were called to the steps of a house in the 700 block of Irving Street NW, just west of Georgia Avenue, at 3:43 a.m., where they found Thomas Cooper lying unconscious. Sgt. Joe Gentile said Cooper had suffered an apparent gunshot wound to the face. Cooper was taken to Howard University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:16 p.m., Gentile said.

Investigators did not know if Cooper had been robbed or otherwise victimized, Gentile said. Police asked for any witnesses or persons with knowledge of the case to call 202-727-9099. A reward of up to $25,000 is available, Gentile said.


Bladensburg Man Is Shot to Death

A man was fatally shot Sunday night in Bladensburg, Prince George's County police said.

They said Brudelso Ramos Osorio, 37, of the 3900 block of 53rd Place, was found there about 11:30 p.m. with a gunshot wound to the upper body.

Men Rape Rockville Woman in Her Home

A 19-year-old Rockville woman was raped early yesterday by four apparently unknown men who invaded her home and demanded drugs, Montgomery County police said.

The attack occurred in the 9300 block of Falls Chapel Way, and police said the woman's family was home at the time. The intruders entered through an unlocked sliding-glass door, Capt. John Fitzgerald said, and asked for cash and marijuana. Told that she had no drugs, the men sexually assaulted the woman, then stole a wallet and computers.

The victim was treated at a hospital for her injuries, Fitzgerald said. Investigators had no suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call Montgomery police at 240-773-5070.

Pr. George's Police Arrest Man in Stabbing

Prince George's County police have made an arrest in the stabbing death of a Forestville man last month.

Omar Brasher, 28, was found fatally stabbed Aug. 28 about 6:30 a.m. in an apartment house where he lived in the 3700 block of Donnell Drive.

Kenyatte Alimayu Derr was arrested Friday on a charge of first-degree murder, Prince George's police said. Derr, also of the 3700 block of Donnell Drive, was being held without bond, officials said.

16 Displaced in 2 Montgomery Fires

Two families, consisting of 16 people, were displaced yesterday after two house fires in Montgomery County, the fire department said.

The first fire started about 7 a.m. in the 9700 block of Highview Avenue in Damascus, displacing two adults and 10 children. A two-alarm blaze broke out about 4:45 p.m. on Gold Kettle Drive in Gaithersburg and displaced four people, officials said.

"I have had moments when I've been here by myself that have just been horrible, and you just cry out to God."

-- Donna Gilmore, 43, describing the 10 months that have passed since her husband was killed in a helicopter crash in Tikrit, Iraq. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Ruben Castaneda, Martin Weil and Tom Jackman and the Associated Press.