Thursday, 11 June 2009

Charged four people including a former member of the Dead Man Inc. gang and two teens alleged to have other gang ties

Charged four people including a former member of the Dead Man Inc. gang and two teens alleged to have other gang ties – with firebombing a townhouse in Piney Orchard last week in what may be retaliation for the homicide of a 14-year-old boy.Officials, speaking at a news conference, said the arrests had roots in the May 30 death of Christopher Jones.Police Chief James Teare Sr. said the four suspects believed rumors - which turned out to be incorrect - that the people at the townhouse in the Piney Orchard community had something to do with Christopher's death. "The suspects acted on those rumors falsely," Teare said. They are charged with first-degree arson, first-degree malicious burning, conspiracy to commit arson and three counts of reckless endangerment. The suspected gang ties are a serious twist to violence that left Christopher dead – students said he was threatened by teens with local gang affiliations - said was a Molotov cocktail thrown at the townhouse June 3. No one was injured. Officials said no one in the house had gang ties.The crime and possible gang involvement trouble not only officials but also residents of the community. "It's scary," said Jennifer Wiech, president of the 8,500-household Piney Orchard Community Association, who attended the news briefing. The association pays $60,000 a year for off-duty officers to patrol five hours a day. The adult suspect in the case, Jonathan Richard Myers, 22, who lists addresses in Crofton and Gambrills, was ordered jailed without bond.Teare said Myers told police he had been a member of Dead Man Inc., a mostly white gang that got its start in Maryland's prisons. "That is disturbing," Teare said. Teare said the involvement of a person with ties to DMI was "very concerning to law enforcement." At the time of the firebombing, Myers was out on bond on charges of attempted murder. Prosecutors asked a judge to revoke his bail; a hearing will be Friday. His lawyer, Peter S. O'Neill, had no comment.Teare is to brief members of the county's legislative delegation on gang issues Thursday. Police said the three boys arrested were a 15-year-old and 16-year-old, both from Crofton, and a 16-year-old from Gambrills. They are in the Cheltenham Youth Facility, a juvenile detention center.Teare said two of the teens are affiliated with TNT, a youth gang in western Anne Arundel County that calls itself The New Threat, and the third is friends with them.Youths in TNT and the East Side Diamonds, a West County youth gang feuding with TNT, used to be friendly and play sports together, Teare said. But as they grew apart, fights erupted, he said. Though family and friends said Christopher was not involved in a gang, his family transferred him from Arundel High School to South River High School this spring because of threats at school. But weeks later, on his bicycle near home, he was approached by five to seven people. Police said Javel M. George, 16, and a 14-year-old boy, both of whom live near Christopher's family, admitted to beating him.As he pedaled away, Christopher fell and hit his head. George is charged as an adult with manslaughter, and the younger suspect is charged as a juvenile.Police said race does not appear to have been a factor, though Christopher was white and the youths charged are black.


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