MARYLAND
Bowie man arrested
in ‘bottle bomb’ blast

Prince George’s fire investigators said Sunday that they had arrested a Bowie man in connection with a “bottle bomb” explosion last week at a Largo movie theater.

Officials said the man also is considered a suspect in a string of similar incidents around the region, including one at the AMC Tysons Corner 16 complex during a showing of “Godzilla” that forced the evacuation of the theater.

Manuel Joyner, 20, was charged with the felony manufacture, possession and detonation of a destructive device in connection with a May 24 explosion during a showing of “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” at the Magic Johnson Theater in Largo. Two people reportedly sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years. Other charges are forthcoming in Prince George’s and other jurisdictions, officials said.

AMC Theatres had offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. A fire department spokesman said it was unclear whether the reward could be claimed in connection with Joyner’s arrest.

Fire officials described the devices as bottle bombs, which use chemical reactions inside soda or water bottles to create massive pressure and loud explosions.

County fire marshals and police officers made the arrest Saturday. Soon after, Joyner’s house in the 600 block of Stillwater Place was searched by investigators from the county, the ATF, FBI and fire department officials from four jurisdictions.

Officials said they would detail the investigation at a news conference Monday.

— Steve Hendrix

Petition falls short
for transgender vote

A group of conservative activists in Maryland failed to collect enough signatures to force a referendum on a new Maryland law that gives legal protections to transgender individuals.

The activists said Sunday they collected more than 17,500 valid signatures from Marylanders who wanted voters to weigh in on the new law on the November ballot. That’s about 1,000 signatures short of what they needed to hit their first deadline, said Del. Neil C. Parrott (R-Washington), who organized the effort.

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 into law last month. The new law bans discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing and public places. It includes an exemption for religious organizations, private clubs and educational institutions.

— Jenna Johnson