Vandal defaces sign at Muslim center

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2005

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Dan Gross⁄The Gazette
Someone spray-painted a line through the word ‘‘Muslim” and painted a Star of David on a wall last week at the Muslim CommunityCenter on New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring. The Katrina Relief Fund sign was moved to cover the graffiti.

A vandal spray-painted the sign at the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, and police are investigating a lead on a suspect.

At about 10 p.m. Thursday, a motorist saw a man spray-paint a line through the word ‘‘Muslim” on the outdoor sign at the mosque, located at 15200 New Hampshire Ave. The man drew a Star of David to the right of the word. The motorist made a U-turn and saw the man leaving the area in a car, police said.

The suspect is an adult white male with short, graying frizzy hair and a large stomach, according to Officer Derek Baliles, a spokesman for Montgomery County Police. The witness provided the police with a license plate number, which has not immediately led to a credible suspect.

The incident is being treated as vandalism, but may be changed to a hate crime if conditions warrant, Baliles said. He stressed that such an occurrence is very rare.

‘‘New Hampshire Avenue is a unique stretch of road,” Baliles said. ‘‘There are many different religious houses of worship. It’s very rare for somebody to vandalize church properties ... our community accepts all different faiths and beliefs.”

Girl, 7, diesafter being found in pool

A 7-year-old Upper Marlboro girl who was on life support for three days died Sept. 20 after being pulled from the bottom of a Silver Spring resident’s swimming pool Sept. 17.

Mia Symone Lockley of the 16800 block of Garden Court was found at the bottom of the deep end of the pool in the 300 block of Springbrook Drive in White Oak just before 2:40 p.m. The cause of death has yet to be determined, but county police said there is no evidence of foul play and the death is being investigated as accidental.

The girl’s mother, who was scheduled to work Sept. 17 with a woman who lives at the Springbrook Drive address, brought the young girl with her. While the girl’s mother and other adults were inside, the girl went outside, accompanied by an adult, to swim in the family’s pool.

The accompanying adult, who was outside next to the pool, lost sight of the girl for an undetermined amount of time, according to police. She was then seen at the bottom of the pool. The adult jumped into the pool, pulled the girl out and attempted to resuscitate her.

When police and fire and rescue personnel arrived, the girl had no pulse, wasn’t breathing, and her pupils were fixed and dilated, said Lucille Baur, a spokeswoman for county police. The girl was taken to Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., where personnel were able to get a pulse. She was placed on life support that evening, but died shortly before 2 a.m. Sept. 20, according to the release.