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Local Digest: April 28, 2017

THE DISTRICT14-year sentence for robbery of couple

A D.C. Superior Court judge sentenced a District man to 14 years in prison Friday in the May 2016 robbery of an elderly couple in Northwest. Milton Hood, 52, was found guilty in January of robbery and assault. Prosecutors said Hood attacked a man, 81, and his wife, 75, as they walked on 23rd Street NW between P and Q streets. Hood knocked the man to the ground and took his wallet, according to prosecutors. The woman, fearing for her husband s life, hit the assailant on the head and neck with her cane. Hood knocked her to the ground and tried to take her purse, but she held it, prosecutors said. When drivers came to the couple s aid, the assailant ran. After Hood was found, a DNA swab from the victim s cane matched his DNA.

In addition to his prison term, Judge Kimberley S. Knowles ordered that Hood undergo three years of supervised release, officials said.

Dana Hegdpeth

Shooting on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown

A shooting was reported Friday night on Wisconsin Avenue NW in Georgetown, D.C. police said. They said a male suffered a wound that did not appear life-threatening. He was shot about 8:30 p.m. in the 1400 block of the avenue and walked to a hospital, said Officer Hugh Carew, a police spokesman.

Clarence Williams

Navy member dies in car crash

A member of the Navy died Friday when his car crashed in Upper Marlboro, officials said. Jonathan Javoria Griffin, 34, was driving on Route 301 near Village Drive when he crashed, state police said. They said he was assigned to the National Security Agency at Fort Meade.

Dana Hedgpeth

Five days later, College Park fire extinguished

Officials on Friday officially declared the massive fire that consumed a College Park apartment building extinguished.

The five-alarm fire broke out Monday at the building under construction in the 4700 block of Berwyn House Road.

[200 firefighters battle five-alarm blaze at College Park construction site[1]]

Firefighters had been monitoring the rubble for flare-ups daily since the initial blaze, said Prince George s County Fire Department spokesman Mark Brady. The fire caused nearly $40 million in damage. Investigators ruled it accidental but are still trying to find the cause and origin, Brady said.

Lynh Bui

Manhunt for inmate who fled psychiatric hospital

A man whom guards were removing Friday from a prison van in the parking lot of Maryland s maximum-security psychiatric hospital fled into woods after having earlier maneuvered his way out of handcuffs and a waist chain, police said.

Authorities used police dogs, helicopters and teams of law enforcement officers in the hunt for David M. Watson, 28.

Watson is charged with attempted murder involving police officers in Wicomico County and was on his way to Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center near Jessup for an evaluation in his case, said Sherry Llewellyn, a spokeswoman for Howard County Police, which is leading the search. Online court records in Maryland show Watson was found incompetent to stand trial in 2014.

After the van arrived in the lot about 9:40 a.m., a guard opened the vehicle door and Watson pushed the guard to the ground, Llewellyn said. Watson then ran into woods, where investigators found some items of clothing he may have discarded, Llewellyn said.

Watson was serving a 100-year sentence for attempted murder in Delaware, where Wicomico County deputies had picked him up for transport to Perkins, Llewellyn said.

Lynh Bui


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Intoxicated Souhegan High School official arrested after ruckus at Salisbury strip club

SALISBURY, Mass. A Souhegan High School official was arrested after refusing to leave a northern Massachusetts strip club and being combative with police officers called for assistance by club security, according to court documents.

Peter Gagnon, 37, of Pelham, is the dean of students at Souhegan High School in Amherst. He was arrested early Wednesday on charges of disorderly conduct, trespassing and resisting arrest in Salisbury, Mass. Salisbury police were called to Ten s Show Club around 12:15 a.m. Wednesday for a report of an unwanted guest that refused to leave. Club security said the man, later identified as Gagnon, was standing close to other patrons private dances and was seen going in and out of the women s restroom, police said. Officers stated in sworn affidavits filed in Newburyport (Mass.) District Court that Gagnon appeared to be extremely intoxicated, with severely red and glassy eyes and was unsteady on his feet.

At first, we were trying to get him a ride home, Chief Thomas Fowler said Friday. Then we put him into protective custody. He resisted to that.

Gagnon became combative when officers attempted to handcuff him in the lobby area of the club, police said, and continued resisting despite being restrained and escorted from the club, Sgt. James Leavitt said in his signed report. Once outside, Gagnon refused to get in a police cruiser for several minutes and was warned a Taser would be used if he continued resisting, police said. One officer reported Gagnon said go ahead and Tase me. Leavitt applied the Taser with a five-second shock to Gagnon s chest, pushing him back into the rear of the car, where officers were able to tuck his legs into the cruiser and drive him to the police station, according to Leavitt s report.

Gagnon continued acting irrationally while he was being booked, police said, refusing to get out of the cruiser until officers physically removed him and brought him inside.

Each time a question was asked of him, he would become verbally insulting, Leavitt wrote. He would, however, change his attitude and show signs of being polite and apologetic. Police said Gagnon remained difficult as officers attempted to take his picture, holding up his middle finger, and later told officers his phone number was 1-800-(expletive)-you. Gagnon also resisted when officers attempted to place him in a cell, grabbing at the door until police forced him inside, according to the police reports. Leavitt and two officers who assisted him at the scene all documented the arrest in reports obtained Friday at District Court in Newburyport, Mass.

In a statement, SAU 39 Superintendent Peter Warburton said Gagnon has been placed on administrative leave but refrained from commenting any further on the matter as it involves a personnel issue.

The allegations involving Mr. Gagnon did not involve any students of the district, and did not occur during work hours. There are no known allegations related to student safety, Warburton said. The reports of Gagnon s behavior stood in stark contrast to images Gagnon posted recently on social media, showing him playing happily with two small children and celebrating Christmas and family birthdays. Attempts to reach Gagnon on Friday were unsuccessful. A woman who answered a call from a Union Leader reporter said no thank you and hung up.

Gagnon was charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He was arraigned Thursday and a pretrial hearing date was set for June 27.

Gagnon s car was impounded after police located it a short distance from the club. An officer that took inventory of the vehicle s contents said it contained several empty beer containers, a ring and a cell phone.

Union Leader correspondent Kimberly Haas contributed to this report.

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner took their kids to a five-star Canadian ski resort during Passover in April. According to newly available data from the federal government, the Secret Service costs for hotel accommodations and ski passes during the family s trip to the Four Seasons Resort and Residences in Whistler, British Columbia were at least $66,538.42. Of that amount, government purchase order records show, $59,654 covered hotel costs for Secret Service agents at the resort near Vancouver, while $6,884 paid for “multi-day ski passes.”

A larger group of Trumps, 14 adults and children in all, took a ski trip to the pricey resort town of Aspen[1], Colorado in March. Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric were accompanied by their families and Secret Service agents. Purchase order records show a contracted expenditure for more than $12,000 for the rental of “recreational goods” from a local business, Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club, Inc. But the Secret Service denied the costs were for ski rentals and the store did not respond to an NBC News request for comment. The records do not appear to show a purchase order for hotel rooms for agents during the Aspen trip.

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill Ivanka Trump, with her husband Jared Kushner and their children, depart after President Donald Trump,formally signed his cabinet nominations into law, in the President’s Room of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 20, 2017. J. Scott Applewhite / AP file [2]

Brian Bulatao, a private equity investor from Dallas, is slated to become the No. 3 official at the CIA, according to current and former intelligence officials. The job has traditionally, but not always, been filled by career intelligence officers. It is not subject to Senate confirmation. The position has long been known as “executive director,” but CIA Director Mike Pompeo is changing the title to “chief operating officer.” The executive director has been called the CIA s “mayor,” responsible for the internal workings of the agency that employs an estimated 20,000 personnel worldwide.

Bulatao is no stranger to Pompeo, the former Kansas congressman who was named director by President Trump. The two were West Point classmates, graduating in 1986, and later business partners, according to officials. Pompeo, first in his class at the academy, graduated from Harvard Law School. Bulatao was an Army Ranger who served as a paratrooper, and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. Pompeo and Bulatao were among several West Point alumni who in 1998 founded Thayer Aerospace, a Wichita machining company. The firm received financing from a venture capital company funded by the Koch brothers, according to a 2011 story in the Washington Post. The company was sold in 2006 and Bulatao moved on to executive roles at a packaging company before entering private equity in 2010. He is currently a senior adviser at Highlander Partners, L.P., a Dallas-based investment firm that claims more than $1 billion in assets under management. For the second time in 2017, Houthi rebels have used a remote-controlled boat bomb to attack a Saudi Arabian ship, raising the possibility that the two-year-old conflict between the Yemeni rebels and the Saudi military could also threaten global oil shipments.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said Wednesday its security forces had stopped an attack on an Aramco oil distribution terminal in the Red Sea on the Saudi coast just north of Yemen. Had the attack succeeded, say analysts, it could have shaken the world crude oil market. The explosive-packed skiff was a mile from the terminal’s off-loading buoys when stopped by gunfire. Pictures released by the ministry show the boat heading toward the facility, and then a large explosion in the water after strikes on the target by the Saudi Coast Guard. The ministry stopped short of blaming the Houthis for the incident, but called it a terrorist attack, and issued a veiled warning to the Houthis’ sponsor, Iran.

The statement said Saudi forces will remain vigilant against those standing behind Houthi militias working to threaten the security of waterways and sea facilities. On January 30, a Saudi Navy frigate was attacked by the Houthis, killing two Saudi sailors. Although initial reports suggested a missile or suicide attack, the U.S. Navy later assessed that for the first time the Houthis had deployed an unmanned drone attack boat, and used Iranian technology. A senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News a U.S. Navy ship was nearby when the January attack took place.

A prosecutor’s office in New Orleans is sending notices that are stamped “subpoena” but that are not issued by a judge or court to witnesses in criminal cases, according to a new report. Legal experts told The Lens NOLA[3], an investigative news website, that the formal-looking paperwork is unethical and possibly illegal. A spokesman for Orleans Parish Leon Cannizzaro defended the practice, saying, “It’s no different than if we just put a letter out on our letterhead.”

But the “subpeona” letters also come with a threat of arrest. “A fine and imprisonment may be imposed for failure to obey this notice,” they said.

The Lens said it had confirmed three instances in which the notices were used, including the case of slain former NFL player Will Smith.

“There’s no question this is improper,” Pace University law professor Bennett Gershman told the site. The DA’s spokesman, Chris Bowman, said his boss “does not see any legal issues with respect to this policy.”

A Palestinian woman convicted of two bombings in Israel in 1970 pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Chicago courtroom to hiding those offenses when she applied for U.S. citizenship years later. Rasmea Odeh, now 69, was sentenced to life in prison in Israel for two bombings, one of which killed two men at a Jerusalem supermarket. She was released in 1979 during a prisoner swap between Israel and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. When she applied for a U.S. visa in 1994, she didn’t disclose her criminal record, and again failed to disclose the conviction when she applied for citizenship in 2004 while living in Michigan. A guilty verdict in her first trail was overturned on appeal, and she then accepted a plea deal rather than be retried.

Odeh will be deported to Jordan or another country at some point after a court appearance in August. As part of her agreement with federal prosecutors, she will spend no time in prison.

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill Rasmea Odeh outside the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit on April 25, 2017, is expected to agree to be deported for failing to disclose her conviction for bombings in Israel in the late 1960s. Max Ortiz / AP [4]

Two New York City men have been charged with selling a killer dose of heroin to a 41-year-old woman trying to kick her addiction in a hospital rehab clinic. Anthony Dodaj and Duane Martinez face up to life in prison if convicted of federal charges for the New Year’s Day delivery to Ivy Katz, who was later found unconscious in her room with a needle in her arm, prosecutors said. Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said the two men “will now be held to account for their role in fueling the tragic overdose death crisis in New York City.” The defendants’ attorneys could not be reached for immediate comment.

According to a criminal complaint in the case, Katz was a heroin addict who sought treatment at a Manhattan hospital in mid-December. Less than three weeks later, she used the hospital payphone to call her drug connection, investigators said. On Jan. 1, Dodaj showed up at the facility and signed in as a visitor, the complaint says. Video showed him meeting with Katz, who was found comatose a half-hour after he left. Her family removed her from life support two weeks later. Ret. Adm. James Stavridis made an evocative comparison to an American comedy classic on MSNBC Monday to explain the danger of North Korea’s weapons program.

“I think the real danger is probably 18 months, two years from now, two streams coming together[5],” said Stavridis, the former head of NATO and an NBC News analyst. “One is miniaturizing nuclear weapons, the other is long-range ballistic missiles. It’s like in Ghostbusters, you don’t want those streams to cross[6].”

In the movie, “crossing the streams” may create a “total protonic reversal” that ends life on earth. The streams are going to cross, said Stavridis, “not in the next week, but probably in the next 18 to 24 months. That will be when we’ll be forced to take some level of action. What’s happening now, I think we can manage with, more or less, traditional diplomatic tools without getting into a shooting war.”

The Taliban has claimed credit for a Monday suicide attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan that was once the site of one of the deadliest attacks on CIA personnel in the agency’s history. The bomber blew up an explosive-packed vehicle at Camp Chapman in Khost Province. There are no reports of U.S. casualties, but there were casualties amond the Afghan troops guarding the base. The attack came as U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis was visiting the Afghan capital of Kabul.

In 2009, when the facility was known as Forward Operating Base Chapman, a Jordanian doctor was brought to the camp to deliver valuable information about al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawhari. He was not searched on arrival, and detonated a suicide vest in the middle of the CIA personnel gathered to greet him. He killed seven CIA officers and contractors, a Jordanian intelligence agent and an Afghan CIA employee. Six other CIA officers and contractors were injured. The camp is in territory dominated by a Taliban faction known as the Haqqani Network. It has been attacked by suicide bombers several times since 2009, including in 2012 and 2015. The 2015 attack, at a checkpoint near the main gate, killed 33 people.


Former acting attorney general Sally Yates, who is said to have told the White House that then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail, has been invited to testify publicly before Congress. The Republican and Democrat leading the House Intelligence Committee probe of Russian election interference[8] announced Friday they are seeking to schedule public testimony sometime after May 2 by Yates, as well as former CIA Director John Brennan and James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence.

All three former officials have insights into what the U.S. intelligence community knows about alleged contacts between Trump associates and Russians. Whether they can discuss any of that in public is another matter. Shortly after Trump took office in January, Yates informed the White House[9] she believed Flynn had misled senior administration officials about his communications with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., and warned that Flynn was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail, current and former U.S. officials told the Washington Post. Yates was later fired by Trump after she refused to enforce his travel ban directed at Muslim majority countries.

Flynn was ousted after it became clear he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about whether he discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador. One of the ISIS leaders who helped plot the New Year’s attack on an Istanbul nightlcub was killed earlier this month in a U.S. ground raid in Syria, the Pentagon announced Friday. Abdul Rahman Uzbeki was a “close associate” of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to CENTCOM spokesperson Colonel John Thomas. Uzbeki was killed in a U.S. military “ground operation” in Syria on April 6. Thomas would not elaborate on the raid or not, saying only that the operation was intended to “eliminate him.”

ISIS took credit for the mass shooting at the Reina nightclub on Jan. 1, 2017, which killed at least 39 people. The alleged gunman, an Uzbek national, was captured in Istanbul a week later.

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill

Ivanka Trump Ski Trip To Canadian Resort Brings Big Secret Service Bill Ambulances transport wounded people after a gun attack on Reina, a popular night club in Istanbul near by the Bosphorus, early morning in Istanbul, Turkey on Jan. 1, 2017. STR / EPA [10]


  1. ^ took a ski trip to the pricey resort town of Aspen (
  2. ^ Ivanka Trump, with her husband Jared Kushner and their children, depart after President Donald Trump,formally signed his cabinet nominations into law, in the President’s Room of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 20, 2017. J. Scott Applewhite / AP file (
  3. ^ The Lens NOLA (
  4. ^ Rasmea Odeh outside the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit on April 25, 2017, is expected to agree to be deported for failing to disclose her conviction for bombings in Israel in the late 1960s. Max Ortiz / AP (
  5. ^ two streams coming together (
  6. ^ you don’t want those streams to cross (
  7. ^ (
  8. ^ probe of Russian election interference (
  9. ^ Yates informed the White House (
  10. ^ Ambulances transport wounded people after a gun attack on Reina, a popular night club in Istanbul near by the Bosphorus, early morning in Istanbul, Turkey on Jan. 1, 2017. STR / EPA (