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Police react to multiple school threats within the past week

  • Published in Local

policecar1 300x200 1Montgomery County Police are investigating a series of alleged threats received at local high schools in the last week – ranging from bomb threats to potential shootings.

The threats to public schools come at a time of heightened focus on school security in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. where 17 people were killed.

Last week a school resource officer assigned to Clarksburg High School received a tip alleging that a student was in possession of a loaded firearm at school. Officers quickly located the student and confiscated the weapon. A subsequent search of that student’s home this week revealed an arsenal of weaponry including an AR-15-style rifle.

“The School Resource Officer (SRO) program is key in handling initial complaints of a possible threat to school safety,” Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger said in an email statement. “There is a significant level of trust between school staff and the SROs. This trust helps bring about good cooperation and communication between the students and the SROs.”

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Two bomb threats phoned into Montgomery County high schools Wednesday morning

  • Published in Local

MCPS logoMontgomery County Public Schools officials evacuated two county high schools Wednesday morning after unknown persons called the schools with bomb threats.

The first of the two threats was phoned in to Winston Churchill High School in Potomac at approximately 7:20 a.m., after which school officials ordered the building evacuated. Following a short delay, students and teachers returned to the building by 8:30 a.m. after Montgomery County Police responded to the situation and cleared the school for re-entry, Montgomery County Public Schools Spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala said.

 “Based on a very limited general call, we checked out the building and found nothing there,” said Montgomery County Police Spokesman Capt. Paul Starks. “They’re back to normal functioning.”

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UPDATED: Man and woman found dead in parked car in Burtonsville

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MCPD car MCFRS rescue vehicleMontgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel responded Thursday evening to a 911 report of a man and a woman found dead in Burtonsville; they will be transported to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore and will undergo a scheduled autopsy Friday, a Montgomery County Police spokesman said.

A resident called 911 at approximately 9:56 p.m. Thursday after discovering the bodies in a parked car – with the engine still running – in a townhouse parking lot on Aldora Circle. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel responded to the scene and confirmed the two occupants of the vehicle were deceased.

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Clarksburg HS student arrested for bringing loaded handgun to school

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Police arrested Clarksburg High School student Alwin Chen for bringing a loaded handgun onto school property.  COURTESY PHOTOPolice arrested Clarksburg HS student Alwin Chen, 18, for bringing a loaded handgun to school. COURTESY PHOTO  One day after a former student shot and killed 17 people at his Florida high school, Montgomery County Police arrested an 18-year-old Clarksburg High School student for bringing a loaded handgun and knife to school.

A Montgomery County Police school resource officer arrested Alwin Chen at approximately 2:20 p.m. Thursday after police and school security confiscated two weapons Chen had in his possession, according to a Montgomery County Police press release.

Chen became the focus of police and school security interest after the police officer based at Clarksburg received a tip that Chen may have brought a gun with him to school.

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UPDATED: Police charge and release teen suspect in Northwest HS social media threat

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Northwest High SchoolNorthwest High School. COURTESY PHOTO  

Montgomery County Police charged a 15-year-old male student with “offenses relating to disrupting school operations” Friday after they worked with the high school’s staff to identify the suspect.

“Montgomery County Police (MCP) investigators, in coordination with administrative staff from Northwest High School, identified the suspect responsible for this social media post as a 15-year-old male student who attends Northwest High School,” police said.

Police charged the boy as a juvenile, and then returned him to the custody of his parents. Police referred the case to the Department of Juvenile Services for adjudication.

Police also advised parents to tell their children to tell an adult about a suspicious social media post, rather than share it on social media.

“MCP encourages parents to have a conversation with their children about responsible social media posts,” police said. “Parents are reminded to monitor their child’s social media accounts and encourage them to not to re-post or share rumors or threats.”

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QO student dies after collapsing during organized fight

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Tyler Terry died Sunday at Children’s National Medical Center almost two weeks after collapsing during a planned physical fight at a Gaithersburg basketball court. COURTESY PHOTOTyler Terry died Sunday at Children’s National Medical Center almost two weeks after collapsing during a planned physical fight at a Gaithersburg basketball court. COURTESY PHOTO  Montgomery County Police are working with the State’s Attorney’s Office to determine if criminal charges are warranted in the death of a 17-year-old Quince Orchard High School student who collapsed after a planned physical fight at a Gaithersburg basketball court last month.

Tyler Steven Terry of Gaithersburg died Sunday, Feb. 11 after a nearly two-week hospitalization stemming from a “cardiac event” he experienced after participating in a fight the morning of Monday, Jan. 29.

Police say two groups of individuals – including Terry – met at a basketball court near Hillstone Road and Timber Rock Road in Gaithersburg with the intention of fighting.

Witnesses called 911 when Terry collapsed several minutes after his participation in the first fight with a male from the opposing group that lasted approximately two to three minutes, according to a Feb. 12 Montgomery County Police press release.

“While the third fight was occurring, Terry collapsed on the ground and became unconscious,” the MCP report stated.

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Silver Spring child care giver arrested for child abuse

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Dhanaraj Christina 002 226x300Dhanaraj Christina Courtesy of Montgomery County Police DepartmentMontgomery County Police have charged a Silver Spring child care provider with second-degree child abuse after viewing a video of the woman repeatedly slapping a two-year-old child in the face.

On Jan. 12, detectives from the Special Victims Investigations Division viewed a videotape documenting an adult female, identified as 65-year-old Christina Dhanaraj, abusing the child in her home on the 1600 block of Winding Waye Lane where she provides care.

According to police, the video shows the child sitting quietly in a chair in a room inside Dhanaraj's home. Dhanaraj approaches the child, begins scolding her and then slaps her in the face with an open hand eight times before pushing the child to the ground.

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Police find man murdered in his home in Germantown

  • Published in Crime

Montgomery County Police, responding to a report of a suspicious situation, found Maurice Cortez Mercer, 30, dead from a gunshot wound in his home in the 12500 block of Cross Ridge Way in Germantown on Jan. 3. Police did not reveal who contacted authorities.

Maryland judiciary case records indicate Mercer had an extensive criminal history. He has pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled dangerous substance/conspiracy, possession of marijuana, malicious destruction of property and illegal gaming.

According to online records, Mercer also had a post office box registered in Olney.

Police are thus far unable to confirm whether a possible motive for Mercer's killing was related to his criminal history.

“At this point in Mercer’s [case], we’re unable to confirm motive,” Starks said. “Investigators are looking at it.”

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Missing local woman found dead

  • Published in Local

Kristin Danielle BessixKristin Bessix.   COURTESY PHOTO  A woman who was reported missing in late November by family members has been found dead.

On Friday, Montgomery County Police confirmed that Kristin Danielle Bessix, 36, has been identified as the deceased adult female discovered in a Burtonsville pond on Jan. 3. Family members reported Bessix missing to Montgomery County Police on Nov. 22, according to a Dec. 8 police press release.

Capt. Paul Starks of Montgomery County Police said a cause of death has not yet been determined. The case is currently being investigated as a death, as opposed to a homicide.

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Police investigate Christmas Eve murder

  • Published in Crime

Montgomery County Police are still investigating the homicide of 18-year-old Jose Herrera, who was murdered in Silver Spring on Christmas Eve.

On Dec. 24, police responded to calls about an assault and sounds of gunshots at the 1000 block of Quebec Terrace in Silver Spring. When they arrived, police found Herrera dead from multiple gunshot wounds.

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