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Two teens arrested in November shooting, charged as adults with murder

CAMBRIDGE — Maryland State Police, with assistance from the Cambridge Police Department, arrested two people Tuesday, Jan. 4, on charges connected to a November shooting in which one person was killed and another was injured in Dorchester County.

The first suspect, Daeveon Lat’ee Johnson, 16, of Cambridge, is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and illegal possession of a firearm by a minor. The second suspect, Key’marion Da’Qion Ennals, 16, of Cambridge, is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree assault and multiple other related crimes. Both teens have been charged as adults.

Johnson and Ennals were taken before the District Court Commissioner and are awaiting a bond hearing.

Shortly before 8:15 p.m. on Nov. 18, 2021, officers from the Cambridge Police Department responded to the 900 block of Camelia Street for a shooting involving multiple victims. Officers located two male victims shot at the scene.

One of those victims, Ja’Len Woolford, 16, of Cambridge, was declared dead at the scene. The other victim, a 15-year-old male, who police did not identify, was taken by ambulance to University of Maryland Medical Center at Cambridge before being flown by Maryland State Police helicopter to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for treatment of his injuries.

The Cambridge Police Department asked the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit to take over the investigation. According to investigators, the victims were targeted.

The recent outbreak of violence prompted local faith leaders to hold a Peace Walk on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 21, starting at the Dorchester County Recreation and Parks building, proceeding down Cosby Avenue, up the 500 block of Greenwood Avenue, down Park Lane and then down Leonards Lane.

The participants prayed and sang, passing the spot on Greenwood Avenue where an 18-year-old victim was fatally shot two weeks before almost to the minute.

Near that spot, two educators on the march greeted young onlookers they knew from school.

After the march, one educator related a recent conversation with a 5-year-old student in one of the city’s elementary schools. “There’s a lot of shootings at my house,” the youngster said. “It’s not safe outside.”

Council President and Ward 2 Commissioner Lajan Cephas and Ward 1 Commissioner Brian Roche joined the Peace Walk.

“This is not hopeless,” Cephas said. In addition to physical changes like increased law enforcement presence and better lighting among other possibilities, she emphasized another dimension.

“Prayer changes things, people’s hearts, outcomes,” Cephas said.

“The vast majority of people in the city are good,” Roche said. “We can’t let that small percentage of people win.”

A concerned group of about 30 citizens came together to collaborate on the problem Dec. 2 at 8 Washington St., Cambridge. The police sat up front, but there was a restless energy that veered the conversation beyond their control at times. They opened the meeting with everyone in attendance getting a chance to introduce themselves.

Part of the problem is groups of young men wielding weapons in the Greenwood Avenue area, citizens said. Lots of ideas were mentioned in the circle like men needing to step up in child rearing, women showing up with more discipline and the age old “just connecting” with these young people so they can trust adults with their troubles.

“Groups of young men are targeting each other. There is a loose organization of men where small things escalate. The number of guns on the street is unbelievable. We need to remove the real trouble makers, restore some form of order, so people can have their freedom back. We need to let the people in the streets know that this is not the Wild West,” said Dorchester State’s Attorney Bill Jones.

The police offered a PowerPoint to the group detailing crime statistics. In 2021, law enforcement noted four homicides (three of which were on Greenwood Avenue), 27 shootings, 34 stabbings and 26 other shootings that caused property damage — all in Cambridge.

The police said they are spread too thin and can’t be the complete solution to the problem. One idea they offered is to light the dark areas of the streets.

“We can not as a community let this become Baltimore. I have been here 33 years and I have never seen it so bad,” said Cambridge Police Chief Mark Lewis. “We are trying to put a coalition together to stop this violence. We have to do something to reach these kids.”

“Everybody has got a gun, if not two guns. The number of guns on the street is unbelievable right now. People deserve to have a safe place to live no matter who they are. People live here. Children live here,” Jones said.

Anyone with information in this case or other shootings is asked to call Maryland State Police at 410-749-3101, ext. 140. Callers may remain anonymous.

(Mike Detmer, Tom McCall and Angela Price all contributed to this report.)


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New Year's Day house fire in Toddville claims two victims
mdetmer / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO 

Flames fully engulf a house on Toddville Road.

TODDVILLE — The investigation into a New Year’s Day house fire that claimed two lives continues as officials work on identifying the victims and determining their cause of death.

Investigators returned to the scene of the blaze on Wednesday, Jan. 5, said Deputy Chief Matt Stevens.

The initial statement from the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office said investigators have concluded work at the scene of a one-story, wood frame, single family house fire that claimed the lives of two unidentified victims. Investigators have not released the cause of the fire or the point of origin.

On Saturday, Jan. 1, at 7:48 p.m., the Lakes and Straits Volunteer Fire Department was alerted to a structure fire at in the 2600 block of Toddville Road in Toddville.

mdetmer / CONTIBUTED PHOTO 

Flames completely engulf a Toddville residence.

The blaze was reported by a neighbor and brought 35 firefighters to the scene to battle the flames. Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control in just under an hour.

During fire suppression activities, the bodies of two victims were recovered from the ruble. The bodies were taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for identification and exact cause of death. Investigators were not able to locate smoke alarms within the remains of the home.

Property records show the house was purchased in 2014 by a Douglas F. Mayhorn, but fire officials said the owner of the house does not reside there.

Officials believe the victims are the residents of the home, which will be determined after autopsy results are received.

Anyone who was at this fire prior to the arrival of the fire department or has any other information is asked to call Deputy State Fire Marshals in the Lower Eastern Regional Office at 410-713-3780.


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Harris calls for additional H-2B visas for crab pickers

WASHINGTON — The Eastern Shore’s congressman on Wednesday called for additional H-2B visas for the area’s crab houses after the preliminary number of available worker visas seems to fall dramatically short of the expected demand.

H-2B visas are for non-agricultural seasonal workers and are heavily used by oyster, crab and other seafood-related businesses on the Eastern Shore, including several Dorchester County crab meat processors.

U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st, issued a statement in response to the limited number of visa that appear to have been allocated via the lottery system used every year for the allocation.

According to Harris, for the period beginning April 1 and ending Sept. 30, the number of guest worker visas applied for stands at over 136,000, with only 33,000 available.

“In order to support the iconic crab houses of Maryland’s Eastern Shore and other seasonal businesses across the country, Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas and the Biden Administration must immediately release the additional H-2B visas for the second half of Fiscal Year 2022 authorized under the Harris/Pingree amendment,” Harris said.

“Additionally, Congress must continue to work to pass a long-term, bipartisan solution to this chronic shortage of these desperately needed guest worker visas as I did with Senator Mikulski years ago. Without access to these visas, many American-owned seasonal businesses facing severe labor shortages will be forced to scale back or shutter their operations entirely, further driving up prices for goods and services, killing good paying permanent American jobs, and harming local economies. I will continue to work in a bipartisan fashion with my colleagues to solve this problem,” he continued.

The H-2B guest worker program provides access to seasonal temporary labor to businesses that can prove they were unable to hire willing and qualified American workers in certain non-agricultural seasonal roles. The program is subject to an annual cap of 66,000 visas evenly divided between the first and second half of each fiscal year: October through March and April through September.

Under the Harris/Pingree amendment to the annual Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Department of Labor, is authorized to release additional visas to meet the needs of seasonal businesses if he finds there are not sufficient American workers willing, qualified, and able to fill these positions.

For the first half of Fiscal Year 2022 (ending March 31, 2022), DHS has announced they will release an additional 20,000 visas above the cap, which will not help many of the seasonal industries on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, according to Harris’ statement.

“This issue keeps happening time and time again,” said Lindy’s Seafood vice president Aubrey Vincent. “Without some significant cap relief, we’re looking at 80 or 90% shortfall for the Maryland crab meat processing.”

Vincent, whose Woolford company, like most crab meat processors in Dorchester County and elsewhere in the Chesapeake Bay region, relies heavily on seasonal foreign workers to meet demand.

“We’re tired of dealing with it, we’re hoping that Congress will fix it,” Vincent said.


Dauntless mail carrier Joella Allen makes her rounds in Cambridge during the Jan. 3 snow storm. (More snow photos on page 9)

First snowstorm of 2022 blasts Shore


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