MARYLAND
Bill to alter lyrics of state song advances

The Maryland Senate gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to a bill that makes changes to the state song, “Maryland, My Maryland.”

The anthem, from the Civil War era, urges Maryland to join the Confederacy and calls Northerners “scum.” It has survived as the state song despite six attempts to eliminate it.

The bill to change the song — which would remove the controversial language and replace one of the stanzas — is expected to receive final approval by the Senate this week.

It will then be sent to the House.

Ovetta Wiggins

Man’s shooting death is ruled a homicide

The death of a 20-year-old man in the Briggs Chaney area is being investigated as a homicide, Montgomery County police said Tuesday.

Police said Sheldon Williams, of Southeast Washington, was fatally shot. His body was found Friday along a paved trail in the 13800 block of Castle Boulevard.

Officers first received a 911 call about shots fired in the area at 10:12 p.m., a police department news release said. The release said another call reporting a deceased person in the area came in at 11:56 p.m.

Detectives urge anyone who may have any information about this killing to contact the Montgomery County Police Department’s Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.

Victoria St. Martin

VIRGINIA
Fire at townhouse displaces 9 people

One person was unaccounted for after a two-alarm fire broke out early Wednesday at a Woodbridge townhouse, authorities in Prince William County said.

Brian Ferguson, a captain with the Prince William County fire department, said that the incident is under investigation and that firefighters are “working on a plan to stabilize the home.”

Officials said three adjacent townhouses have been deemed unsafe. The fire broke out just before 3 a.m. in the 14000 block of Ponderosa Court in Woodbridge.

By 5 p.m. Wednesday, Ferguson said that the blaze was extinguished but that there were occasional hot spots.

Six adults and three children were displaced as a result of the fire.

Dana Hedgpeth,
Victoria St. Martin

Man strikes two officers with vehicle

U.S. Park Police were searching Wednesday for a man who struck two officers with a vehicle during a traffic stop in Virginia, then crashed and stole an unmarked cruiser, a spokeswoman said.

The man wrecked the cruiser on the ramp to the 11th Street Bridge and ran off, said Sgt. Anna Rose, a department spokeswoman. As of late Wednesday, authorities had not found him.

The car chase began about 1 a.m., when a Park Police lieutenant pulled over the man’s vehicle. It was traveling south on George Washington Memorial Parkway, south of Route 123 in McLean, just before the stop.

Rose said it was unclear why the traffic stop was made, but the sergeant called for backup after smelling marijuana in the vehicle. Another officer arrived, and as the pair approached the vehicle, the man hit both officers with his vehicle and fled, Rose said.

Officers later found the man’s vehicle three to four miles away, crashed at a ramp on the 14th Street Bridge.

Upon returning to their cruisers, they realized that an unmarked cruiser was missing. Authorities later found that unmarked cruiser two miles away, at the 11th Street Bridge, she said.

Rose said the sergeant suffered minor injuries.

Victoria St. Martin