Today in Maryland

Police: 50,000 vehicle records help capture murder suspect

FAIRMOUNT HEIGHTS (AP) — Detectives in Maryland say thousands of vehicle records helped track down the suspect in a transgender woman's murder.

News outlets report 33-year-old Gerardo Thomas was arrested Wednesday. He's accused in the June 13 shooting death of 23-year-old Zoe Spears in Fairmount Heights.

Prince George's County Homicide Cmdr. Brian Reilly says the only evidence detectives had was a grainy, black-and-white photo of a Dodge Caravan caught on surveillance video near the crime scene. Reilly says detectives narrowed 50,000 vehicle records down to one van spotted in the area two hours before the shooting.

Reilly says Spears witnessed the shooting death of another transgender woman, Ashanti Carmon , in the same area in March. Police don't believe the crimes are linked.

Court records don't show an attorney who could comment on Thomas's behalf.

UMD receives $750,000 to train rural doctors amid shortage

BALTIMORE (AP) — The University of Maryland's medical school will receive a $750,000 federal grant to train doctors to serve in rural areas, as the country experiences a shortage in those posts.

The Baltimore Sun reports the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration announced the funding Thursday as part of a $20 million initiative for developing rural residency programs nationwide.

Health department officials point to rising debt and lower wages as factors that can keep doctors away from rural areas. At the same time, health administration official George Sigounas says rural patients have a greater risk of poor health outcomes than those in urban areas.

University officials say they hope the program tackles these issues by creating a pipeline for students to move to and remain in rural communities such as those in Maryland.

Riders stuck for 2 hours on Six Flags coaster in Maryland

BOWIE (AP) — Roller coaster riders were stuck atop a hill for nearly two hours at a Six Flags amusement park in Maryland when the ride malfunctioned.

News outlets quote Six Flags America spokeswoman Denise Stokes as saying the ride came to a stop at the top of the lift hill on the Firebird ride Thursday night.

All guests were escorted safely off the ride, but officials said passengers had to wait for nearly two hours on the floorless coaster as the park followed safety procedures.

Six Flags officials told news outlets the ride will remain closed while it undergoes an inspection.

WJZ reports this is the third time in the past three years that people have been removed from one ride or another at the Six Flags park in Bowie, Maryland.

Police: Delaware official drove drunk at double legal limit

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Test results show a Delaware fire marshal had a blood-alcohol level double the legal limit when he was arrested for driving under the influence.

Maryland State Police Sgt. Ivan Barkley says officers stopped 53-year-old James Jobes, Wilmington's fire marshal and deputy chief of fire prevention, July 3 for speeding on a Maryland highway. Court documents say Jobes was driving 28 mph (45 kph) over the 55 mph (89 kph) speed limit. Barkley says Jobes failed his sobriety test and admitted to "drinking a few beers."

Jobes was also cited for driving a vehicle while so far impaired by alcohol he couldn't drive safely, and negligent driving of a vehicle endangering property, life and person.

The Delaware News Journal reports Wilmington officials haven't commented, calling it a personnel matter.

Ex-NSA contractor to be sentenced in stolen documents case

BALTIMORE (AP) — A former National Security Agency contractor awaits sentencing in Baltimore's federal court for storing two decades' worth of classified documents at his Maryland home.

Harold Martin's plea agreement calls for a nine-year prison sentence, but U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett isn't bound by the deal's terms when he sentences Martin on Friday.

Martin's sentencing will resolve a mysterious case that broke into the open in 2016, when FBI agents conducting a raid found stolen government documents inside his home, car and storage shed.

The case has attracted attention since hacking tools stolen from the NSA were also published by a cryptic Internet group that called itself the Shadow Brokers. Prosecutors never linked Martin to the group.

Martin's defense lawyers described him as a compulsive hoarder who never betrayed his country.

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