The guy who took a bullet outside a City Place gym Monday evening may have been shot during a drug deal, detectives with the third police district announced Tuesday in a press statement.

It’s unclear how detectives arrived at this theory, but they believe the 25-year-old victim, a District resident, was walking outside — not exiting from — the Gold’s Gym at 8661 Colesville Rd just before 6:00 p.m. when his two assailants showed up and capped him.

Previously, police thought the unnamed victim was a gym patron caught in a random mugging. Detectives now think the victim and suspects may have known each other, the press statement added.

Either way, the victim was shot above his left knee. The bullet exited through the other side of his left leg, then hit the middle part of his right leg. He was brought to an unnamed local hospital with what police described as non-life-threatening injuries.

The two perps are still on the loose. The first suspect was a six-foot-tall black guy weighing about 130 pounds, bald but rocking a beard and side burns. He wore a puffy coat, white tee shirt and packed a handgun. The second was a clean-shaven black guy wearing a hat and a gray hooded sweatshirt, and sporting a tear-drop tattoo on his face.

The third district’s investigative section is keeping the crime-tip line open at (301) 565-5835, so holler if you know something. Callers may remain anonymous.

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Man shot in attempted robbery outside downtown gym

A 25-year-old man was shot in the leg Monday evening as two guys tried to rob him outside a City Place gym, MoCo police said.

According to a PD press statement, the unnamed victim was exiting the Gold’s Gym at 8661 Colesville Rd before 6:00 p.m. when two men approached him on the sidewalk. They tried to rob the guy, but the victim managed to fight them off.

That’s when the suspects shot him. The bullet entered above the victim’s left knee, exited through the other side, then hit the middle part of his right leg. The guy was brought to an unnamed local hospital with what police described as non-life-threatening injuries.

The perps fled with none of the victim’s property, Fox-5 News reported.

Meanwhile, officers with the third police district are prowling for the two suspects. One was a six-foot-tall black guy weighing about 130 pounds, bald but rocking a beard and side burns. He wore a puffy coat, white tee shirt and packed a handgun.

The second suspect was a clean-shaven black guy wearing a hat and a gray hooded sweatshirt, and sporting a tear-drop tattoo on his face.

Sound like someone you know? Holler at the third district’s investigative section at (301) 565-5835. Callers may remain anonymous.

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Photo: Rainy days and toxic mud pits always get me down. Credit: J. Deseo/SSP.

Photo: Rainy days and toxic mud pits always get me down. Credit: J. Deseo/SSP.

Here’s the good news: Some of the construction work at Silver Spring’s transit-center site is cooking with oil. The bad news: It had also been cooking with nasty chemicals in the soil.

Crews at the Colesville Road site removed soil tainted with unspecified petrochemicals as part of their excavation work, David Dise, director of the county’s general services department, told The Penguin at Saturday’s library book fest. Peg that petrol on a fuel storage facility that Dise said was on that site back in the day.

“There are guys in Tyvek suits and respirators digging up what looks to be an underground conduit of some type,” Penguin reader Michael observed two weeks ago. “They are keeping the dust down with a water spray, bagging the material in plastic, and putting it into dumpsters lined with plastic. It must be some type of hazmat.”

“Amusing thing is watching the supervisor with no protective gear on at all standing right next to the workers. At one point he was even hosing down the debris himself,” Michael added. (more…)

Details drip in Downtown Silver Spring brawl

The county PD and Downtown Silver Spring mall managers painted a picture of massive crowds amped on music and puberty, leading to Saturday night’s fisticuffs on Ellsworth Drive.

“We had 7,000 people there, a very large crowd,” Jennifer Nettles, property manager for the outdoor shopping center, told Silver Spring’s citizens advisory board Monday night. The horde, most of them in their late teens and early twenties, were on Ellsworth Drive to attend a free outdoor concert promoting non-violence.

The concert’s last act got the crowd revved around 9:00 p.m., and that’s when the shit hit the fan. A small group of concert goers started something near the foot of the stage, but it’s unclear what triggered the fight, MoCo PD spokesperson Paul Starks told The Penguin.

An unconfirmed account appearing on the blog “Maryland Gangs” reported one young man being “visciously [sic] beaten by five to six attackers beside New York & Company.” The blogger also wrote that one man had his head “kicked into the ground repeatedly.”

However, PD spokesperson Starks told The Penguin that beyond the five people treated on the scene for exposure to pepper spray, there were no serious injuries that evening. Darian Unger, chair of the citizens advisory board and a volunteer firefighter with the county’s fire and rescue services, confirmed that emergency crews saw nothing heavy that evening.

“It was a pushing kind of fight,” Nettles told the advisory board.

Officers parked on the public parts of Ellsworth Drive — at its intersection with Fenton Street, and near its corner with Georgia Avenue — closed in. But when one concert goer resisted arrest, the cops called for backup. In the end, 35 on-duty cops from the third police district responded to the mayhem, plus another 40 called in from other districts, the county sheriff’s office, the Metro transit PD, and the Maryland-National Capital park police, according to Starks and a police press statement.

Deborah Linn, an advisory board member, described how every cop in creation showed up for the gig. Squad cars sat on Colesville Road, Georgia Avenue, Fenton Street and even East-West Highway, she said, essentially placing the central business district in lockdown.

In the end, 16 people were arrested for assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest; half of them were adults. Mall manager Nettles also said the paddy wagon was filled with “local and non-local people” that night.

So now what?

“We learn from this experience, and the next time we’ll do better,” Roylene Roberts, interim director of Silver Spring’s regional center, told the advisory board.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Alan Bowser. Republished with previous permission.

Updated Mar 10, 2009, to clarify an attribution.

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County considers naming downtown civic building

Tired of referring to downtown Silver Spring’s civic building as “downtown Silver Spring’s civic building”? Then slap someone’s name on it, peeps with MoCo exec Ike Leggett’s office suggested.

At Monday night’s citizens advisory board meeting, Chuck Short, a special assistant to Leggett, tossed around the idea of naming the place after James Gleason, Montgomery County’s first exec.

“We need to name an important and substantive building after this first county executive,” Short told the board inside ye olde library‘s basement. Gleason, he added, “is a worthy individual to have his name associated with this building.”

So who was James Gleason?

Besides being the first county exec (before him, the county had only a legislative branch), Gleason was a World War II vet and Woodmoor resident. As county exec, he set up a system of regional centers to serve as his boots on the ground outside Rockville (Silver Spring’s was the first). And he could be tough to work with, Short said.

Gleason was also the guy who got the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to stretch the Red Line past downtown Silver Spring and into Forest Glen, Wheaton and Glenmont, The Washington Post wrote. He managed that in 1977 by withholding $32 million in essential funding until the feds agreed to fund the project.

And Gleason was a Republican, the only one so far to serve as MoCo exec, The Post wrote.

While Gleason’s name has been tossed around Leggett’s office, it hasn’t been officially proposed, nor is it a done deal. “In the end, this is your building,” Short told the board.

A few more names have been floating around. State delegate Jane Lawton, who represented Chevy Chase, Kensington and parts of Silver Spring, is one of them. The Praisners — county council members Marilyn and Donald, who represented the northeastern end of Silver Spring — are also out there, Short said.

And then there’s the idea of naming the place after former county exec Doug Duncan. Some in the hood credit Duncan for the area’s economic revitalization, citizens advisory board member Alan Bowser said. Duncan was also the guy who couldn’t bring The Birchmere music hall to downtown Silver Spring, but managed to take it with him to College Park when he joined the University of Maryland‘s administration.

Residents can pitch their own ideas formally to the county, though Short wasn’t sure if naming rights were reserved for publicly elected officials only. Any proposed name then goes through the naming committee wringer.

Short told advisory board members that there was no rush to name the building.

Rendering courtesy of the county’s department of general services.

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Construction on downtown Silver Spring’s civic center is running behind schedule, putting off its grand opening by at least three months, one county rep announced.

Blame crappy soil quality at the construction site on Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive, Gary Stith, director of Silver Spring’s regional center, told members of the citizens advisory board Monday night. Crews had to dig up that dirt before starting on the hardcore construction, he explained.

The poor-quality soil, plus undisclosed issues with the county’s department of permitting services, translated to the building’s grand opening in March 2010, Stith said. The previous goal was to cut the red ribbon with oversized scissors in late fall or early winter 2009.

Stith still banked on a November 2009 dedication of a veterans memorial, which will sit towards Ellsworth Drive in a plaza adjacent to the civic center. However, most of the plaza — including the planned ice-skating rink — will remain closed to the public until construction on the site has progressed, he said.

It’s been a bumpy road for the project, made bumpier by a swath of grass carpet dropped on the site in 2005. The Turf (as it came to be known) was supposed to be a temporary thing. But when residents took to the open space, some in the hood began to question whether a paved plaza was the right idea.

After slugging it out in public forums and in front of the county planning board, the decision was made to move forward with the plaza, its veterans memorial and the ice rink. Workers tore up the Turf in September, two weeks before a groundbreaking ceremony on the site.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Katmere.

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