Woman Dies in Upper Marlboro Blaze

A woman who reportedly worked for the District's emergency operations office was killed yesterday morning in a fire in an Upper Marlboro home, according to accounts from District and Prince George's County officials.

Firefighters responded to the 14300 block of Colonel Claggett Court about 8 a.m. and found smoke and flames shooting from the windows, Battalion Chief Chauncey Bowers said.

The woman was in critical condition when firefighters found her in a second-floor bedroom, county fire officials said. They said she died a short time later.

Bowers identified the woman as Gloria Jean Geddie, 48. Charles Davis, a supervisor in the D.C. emergency management agency identified her as Gloria Jean Kirby, 48, and said she was an emergency operations specialist who had worked for the agency since the 1970s. The discrepancy in names could not be immediately accounted for.

The blaze was blamed on a malfunctioning kitchen appliance, Bowers said.

Pr. George's Officer Shoots Armed Man

A Prince George's County police officer shot a man Saturday night in Capitol Heights after he allegedly refused to drop the shotgun he was holding, officials said.

The man was in stable condition at a hospital yesterday. Police declined to release his name or that of the officer who shot him.

Authorities said they received a report about 10:20 p.m. that a man in the 4900 block of Fable Street was armed with a shotgun. The responding officer shot the suspect in the arm when he did not drop the weapon, police said.

The officer, a two-year member of the department, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Paraplegic Man Found Dead in Creek

A paraplegic man was found dead in a Baltimore creek Saturday morning.

The 41-year-old man, whose name was not released by authorities, was found in three to four feet of water.

He was the second wheelchair user in two days in the area to be found apparently drowned.

Family members, who last saw the man Friday evening, reported him missing about 9 a.m. Saturday.

Police found his electric wheelchair on a wooded path leading from the 900 block of Quantrill Way in Armistead Gardens. His body was found 250 to 300 feet away.

On Friday, Linda Simmont, 51, a quadriplegic, was found dead in Bodkin Creek in Anne Arundel County.


Mothers Form Group to Reduce Violence

Amid the clink of fine china, a small sorority of women gathered yesterday for tea at the Willard Hotel to share a tragedy they have in common.

The afternoon tea was a meeting of a new group, Forgiving Mothers Straight From the Heart, whose members have lost children, partners or friends to violence and who want to stop future violence.

The group was founded by four women whose sons died or were convicted of killings at Ballou Senior High School and Anacostia High School.

It intends to support anti-violence measures and is planning a Sept. 6 rally on the steps of the John A. Wilson Building, the District's city hall, to outline efforts to better coordinate city youth services, educate the community about gun violence among young people and encourage more involved parenting.

Man Fatally Shot in Strip Club Parking Lot

A man believed to be on his way to a strip club Saturday night was shot to death just before he could reach the front door.

A manager of the Skylark Lounge said the sound of gunshots outside the club in the 1900 block of New York Avenue NE halted the performers' dancing almost in mid-shimmy.

The man was found in the club parking lot and was pronounced dead shortly after being brought to a hospital, said Sgt. Joe Gentile, a D.C. police spokesman.

The club manager said he was sure that the man was on his way to the club, but neither police nor patrons could identify him.

Club patrons said they were certain that the shooting did not stem from anything that happened at the lounge.


Bridge, Tunnel Security Gates Delayed

Delays in designing new security gates for southeastern Virginia's bridges and tunnels have forced the Virginia Department of Transportation to postpone installation until funding becomes available.

The agency said in February that it plans to install high-strength gates at all its major bridges and tunnels to improve traffic control during such emergencies as terrorist attacks.

At the time, officials said each gate would cost about $150,000.

But designing them has taken longer than expected, and the delay has moved the project into a new fiscal year, which began July 1. This changed how they can be paid for, VDOT spokeswoman Lauren Hansen said. The gates are still a priority but will have to compete with other maintenance projects.

Security gates, which are designed to stop a tractor-trailer, were being designed for the entrances to facilities including the James River Bridge, between Newport News and Suffolk; the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel in Hampton Roads.

Man Hurt in Woodbridge Apartment Fire

A 37-year-old man was injured yesterday in a fire in Woodbridge, Prince William County fire officials said.

They said rescuers found the man unconscious in an apartment in the 2000 block of Horizon Court. The fire was caused by food on the stove and confined to the kitchen, the officials said.

Boater's Body Found in Chesapeake Bay

The body of a missing boater was found last night near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

Benjamin Phillips, 41, of Smithfield, Va., was found near the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. He was last seen about 8:30 p.m. Saturday when he left for a fishing trip, the Coast Guard said.

Someone called the Coast Guard at 7:30 a.m. yesterday after finding Phillips's boat drifting three miles north of Little Creek with the keys in the ignition and the running lights on.

"They assume we're all criminals. It's like, every single person that I meet, they're like, 'Don't tell me you're from El Salvador.' "

-- Flor Alas, an El Salvador native and a senior at Magruder High School in Gaithersburg, on how the presence of Latino gangs in the region has perpetuated stereotypes about Salvadoran immigrants. -- A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Tim Craig, Petula Dvorak, Lila de Tantillo and Martin Weil and the Associated Press.