MARYLAND

School Secured During Gunman Search

An Upper Marlboro elementary school secured about 440 students in a windowless gymnasium for three hours yesterday while police searched for a person with a mask and a long gun who had tried to enter the campus, police said.

An officer spotted the suspicious person about 11:13 a.m. near Arrowhead Elementary School in the 2300 block of Sansbury Road, Lt. Terence Sheppard of Prince George's County police said. The person tried to open a rear door of the school but found it locked, then fled to a wooded area, police said.

School system spokeswoman Kelly Alexander said the school was locked down until about 2:30 p.m. Students were dismissed without incident at 3:25 p.m.

No one matching the person's description had been found as of last night.

Article May Have Lifted Professor's Words

The employers of leading British psychiatrist Raj Persaud said yesterday that they are reviewing claims that he plagiarized portions of an article written by a University of Maryland professor.

The British journal Progress in Neurology and Psychiatry, which published Persaud's article in February, issued a retraction in its September issue, saying "a very substantial percentage of the wording of the commentary consists of material reproduced without permission or acknowledgment" from work by Thomas Blass, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Persaud's article, "Why the Media Refuses to Obey," discussed a 1963 experiment by social psychologist Stanley Milgram in which subjects were told to press a button that they believed would shock their peers.

Several paragraphs were virtually identical to "The Man Who Shocked the World," an article Blass published in March 2002 in the U.S. journal Psychology Today.

Blass said the incident had been resolved. "All I wanted was to correct the situation and redress the wrong, and that's been done," he said.

Persaud was not available for comment yesterday. In a written statement, he apologized for "the error which occurred, whereby when I cut and pasted the original copy, the references at the end were inadvertently omitted."

Attempt to Fly Over Poles Is Postponed

Adventure pilot Gus McLeod put off another attempt to fly around the world over both poles as he cleans out a contaminant that has grounded his plane -- and his bid to set an aviation record.

McLeod, who lives in Gaithersburg, discovered about a quart of yellow liquid in his fuel tanks during an aborted test flight last week to Virginia. The substance, which clogged his single-engine plane's fuel line, will be tested by chemists this week.

McLeod, 50, wants to be the first pilot to circumnavigate the globe passing over the North and South poles in a single-engine plane. An attempt last month failed after the plane was grounded in Frederick.

THE DISTRICT

Police Recognize Tip Line's Success

D.C. police yesterday credited a tip line with helping them make hundreds of arrests in the District.

The program, Crime Solvers, was honored at a breakfast attended by top police officials, prosecutors and community leaders. "Crime Solvers works," said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Wainstein, one of the speakers.

Sgt. Joe Gentile, a police spokesman, said the program distributes rewards for information that leads to arrests. Callers telephone a police tip line -- 800-673-2777 -- and can remain anonymous; they are assigned identification numbers so they can keep track of their eligibility for rewards.

The program, which relies on donations from the public, has distributed more than $60,000 in rewards since it started in 1981, police said. Anyone interested in contributing to the program should call 202-727-4383.

Meeting on Convention Center Proposals

A community workshop tonight will explore how to redevelop the site of the old Washington Convention Center, bounded by Ninth, H and 11th streets and New York Avenue NW.

Officials from the D.C. government and the development team leading the project will discuss plans for apartments, offices, shops and amenities, which could include a headquarters library and public gathering spaces. The meeting is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G Street NW.

VIRGINIA

Suspect Sought in String of Bank Holdups

Investigators in Northern Virginia said yesterday that they are looking for a woman believed to be responsible for several bank robberies that occurred over the past month in Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William counties.

Police said the woman, believed to be in her mid- to late twenties, was captured on security cameras Friday as she robbed the Wachovia bank in Ashburn.

Police said she is believed to be involved in three other bank robberies -- in Vienna on Oct. 12, in Prince William on Oct. 21 and in Fairfax County on Oct. 22.

Authorities urged anyone with information to contact the Loudoun County sheriff's office Criminal Investigations Division at 703-777-0475.

University Plans Cancer Treatment Center

Hampton University will build a treatment center that will use proton radiation to treat cancers -- particularly those disproportionately affecting minorities, school officials said yesterday.

The Proton Beam Therapy Center is expected to open in late 2008; construction could begin in the spring. Currently, there are three proton beam centers in the United States.

The $189 million center will treat about 2,000 patients a year using beams of positively charged, microscopic particles to precisely target tumors, school officials said. Although the center will treat patients with breast, lung, eye and pediatric cancers, it will focus on prostate cancer.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 232,000 U.S. men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. Blacks have about double the rate of the disease as whites. Experts blame such factors as diet and poor health care.

"What would I feel like when I have to physically go? I don't know. I can't answer that. My whole being has been here on this property."

-- David C. Hamilton, who has decided to sell the Charles County farmland where his family farmed tobacco for generations. -- B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Nick Anderson, Leef Smith, Del Quentin Wilber and Debbi Wilgoren and the Associated Press.