THE REGION

Pennsylvania Avenue Plaza to Open

Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House is scheduled to reopen to the public around noon today, officials said yesterday.

First lady Laura Bush and Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters will mark the completion of landscaping and other improvements at a ceremony beginning at 10:15 a.m.

The avenue in front of the White House has been closed to pedestrians since January, when the renovations began. The paved street has been replaced by a pedestrian plaza that has retractable bollards and a more rustic, grayish-brown pavement.

Hunter Dies, Two Wounded in Accidents

A Virginia man was fatally shot by a hunting companion, and two other hunters survived shootings in separate accidents over the weekend, the Maryland Natural Resources Police said yesterday.

Stamos Courpas, 35, of Fairfax County died after Charles Lepovetski of Ranson, W.Va., mistook his movements for those of a bird and shot him at 10 a.m. Saturday in Allegany County's Green Ridge State Forest, Cpl. Ken Turner said.

He said Courpas was not wearing fluorescent orange clothing.

Also on Saturday, Eddie C. Graham, 52, of the District was shot while rabbit hunting near Brice Mill Road in Charles County, Turner said. Robert Glaco, 69, of Prince George's County accidentally shot Graham, he said. Joseph R. Medell, 63, of Pasadena was shot Sunday while quail hunting near Cambridge in Dorchester County, Turner said. He said Medell was shot by Charles D. Russell Jr., 60, of Chester, who was charged with negligent hunting.

Zoo Euthanizes Ailing Sumatran Tiger

The National Zoo yesterday euthanized an elderly female Sumatran tiger that was having increased difficulty walking in recent weeks, according to a zoo spokeswoman.

The tiger, Kerinci, had been receiving steroids for a spinal cord injury after a 1997 fall. "Zoo staff decided to euthanize her based on her declining quality of life," spokeswoman Peper Long said.

Kerinci, found in the wild as a cub and believed to be at least 20, was a gift from the Jakarta zoo in Indonesia. Kerinci had seven cubs at the National Zoo, including Soyono, the mother of three male tiger cubs born in May.

Toys, Computers Stolen From Charity

About $2,000 in toys intended for poor children and two computers were stolen from a Salvation Army warehouse in Northwest Washington over the weekend, authorities said.

Salvation Army officials said they discovered the break-in about 8 a.m. yesterday when they came to work and noticed that the items were missing. The burglars also took about $300 in food stored in a pantry. The computers contained lists of needy families, and officials will have to reenter the information, said Maj. Todd Smith of the Salvation Army.

THE DISTRICT

Bomb Scare Shuts Down Connecticut Ave.

D.C. police shut down a portion of Connecticut Avenue NW during the evening rush hour yesterday to investigate a suspicious package, authorities said.

A bystander called police just before 5 p.m. to report a briefcase lying next to a tree in the 2600 block, police said. Police shut down the block to traffic as bomb technicians examined the package and determined it contained clothes. They reopened the road about 6:55 p.m.

MARYLAND

Ex-Delegate Named to Elections Board

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) has appointed former Democratic delegate Frank D. Boston Jr. to a seat on the state Board of Elections. Boston's appointment to the four-year term is effective immediately but will require confirmation of the state Senate. The process could be contentious because of Boston's history of bitter contests against incumbent senators.

Boston unsuccessfully sued to have his opponent removed from the ballot in a state Senate race six years ago. Two years ago, he unsuccessfully challenged another senator and finished third. Under election board rules, the open seat is reserved for a Democrat.

Light Fixture Caused Courthouse Fire

A fire that gutted the historic section of the Prince George's County Criminal Court Complex last week was caused by a light fixture in the attic, fire officials said yesterday.

Mark Brady, a county fire department spokesman, said investigators determined that the lighting system sparked the four-alarm blaze. He said the fire was ruled an accident.

The 123-year-old section of the court complex was largely vacant and undergoing renovations when the blaze broke out.

Pr. George's Deputy Injured in Crash

A Prince George's County sheriff's deputy sustained bruises yesterday afternoon after she and her partner were involved in a crash after they began to pursue a man accused of attempted murder.

The two had been watching a house in the 6700 block of Newport Street in the Landover Hills area when the suspect emerged and got into a vehicle with another man and fled.

Cpl. Mario Ellis, a sheriff's spokesman, said the deputies, whose names had not been released yesterday evening, chased the men for a few blocks and then crashed into their car near Buchanan Street and Glen Oak Road. He said the suspects, Jarrel Featherson, 22, and Vincent Cook, 20, bailed from their car. Shots were fired, but Ellis said it wasn't known who fired the shots. No one was hit by the gunfire.

Featherson and Cook were arrested at the scene by the deputies, Ellis said. Cook, of the 6700 block of Ellison Street in Landover Hills, was charged with first-degree assault on a deputy. Featherson, of the 6700 block of Newport Street, was charged in a warrant with attempted first-degree murder. Ellis said Featherson was wanted in an Oct. 12 near-fatal beating in Greenbelt.

VIRGINIA

Veteran Fairfax Officer to Be Deputy Chief

A 22-year police veteran who most recently headed the criminal investigations bureau of the Fairfax County police has been named one of the department's three deputy chiefs.

Lt. Col. Steve Sellers, 43, will head the administrative branch of the department, and Lt. Col. Suzanne Devlin will move from administration to the operations branch, filling the vacancy created when Lt. Col. David M. Rohrer became police chief in July. Lt. Col. Charles Peters remains head of the patrol branch.

"The sign might as well say, 'Welcome to the Ghetto.' . . . It doesn't send the right signal."

-- Yavocka D. Young, advisory neighborhood commissioner, referring to a memorial to homicide victims in Anacostia. -- Page B1

Staff writers Karlyn Barker, Manny Fernandez, Tom Jackman, Matthew Mosk, Jamie Stockwell and Del Quentin Wilber and the Associated Press contributed to this report.