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The Montgomery Advertiser from Montgomery, Alabama • 1

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1 ryf mf The latest news in your community 5A All-Pro Lott signs with Raiders 1B Details, 2A The Montgomery Advertiser Metro Edition Weatherline: 262-6800 164th YEAR-NO. 85 Montgomery, Alabama Tuesday, March 26, 1 991 Copyright 1991 The Advertiser Co. 35c Only 25 with home delivery Life 'Wolves' dances off with Oscars 1C 0(iS 1) Brendle's joEie ora Bofoo bacErfires Board member Sandie Barnett received a death threat against Mr. Bobo and thought the call was real By MATT SMITH Advertiser Staff Writer Montgomery County School Board member H.W. "Buddy" Brendle says a death threat he made against Superintendent Thomas Bobo was never meant seriously.

"It was just a joke that went astray," he Somebody had been shot, but she didn't know who. When she looked at the person on the ground, it was Tabitha. "I realized it was my sister and I touched her," Traci said slowly and nearly in tears. "She was breathing." At first she was told by a security guard at the skating rink her sister was "alright, OK," Traci said. But Tabitha, the likeable sixth-grader at Southlawn Elementary School, had suffered a head wound and was pronounced dead at the scene by firemedics, police said.

Early Monday morning her father, Edward Ross, watched as investigators strapped her body onto a gurney. He and Traci held each other and cried. "I want it (Skatehaven) closed down," was all the father said. The next morning, a broken red barrette lay on a clump of grass where Tabitha fell, some 65 paces from the front door of the skating rink. Just before the shooting, some of Traci's friends had seen a handgun on the ground outside the skating rink and had tried to alert a security guard, Traci said.

Before the weapon could be confiscated by authorities, it was gone, she said. A 17-year-old Columbia Street youth with gang connections has admitted to Tabitha's shooting, said Capt. Wyatt Gantt, a spokesman for the Montgomery Police Department. The boy told detectives he was shooting back at someone who fired on him when the girl was killed, the officer said. The youth's name was not released because he is a juvenile, but the captain said he was associated with a local gang.

He would not discuss any gang connections of the other parties in the shootout. Please see DEATH, 8A DA juvenile has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of 12-year-old Tabitha Ross, an innocent bystander By ISHMAEL AHMAD Advertiser Staff Writer The day after tragedy struck, Teresa Ross was cordial but did not smile except when she thought about her little Tabitha. "She was active. Everybody liked her," Mrs. Ross said of her 12-year-old daughter.

"She was just a fun person. She wanted to be a schoolteacher." Tabitha's dream will never come true. She died Sunday night, an innocent bystander in a shootout at the Skatehaven roller skating rink, 5205 Atlanta Highway. A juvenile who police say has admitted to the shooting was arrested Monday afternoon. It was only Tabitha's second trip to the rink, and she went with her big sister, Traci Ross, 17.

"She wanted to go and I took her," Traci said Monday. The family lives in the 5400 block of Rolind Drive, in southwest Montgomery's Southlawn neighborhood. The sisters were part of a group of about five who went skating that night. Tabitha, who has another sister, Tonya Ross, 15, and a brother, Edward Ross Jr 14, was the youngest of the group. Traci said it was "Soul Night" at the roller skating rink and she took Tabitha because it was spring break and there was no school on Monday.

The rink was to close at midnight and they decided to leave about 10 minutes early to beat the crowd, the sister said. "We were all together," Traci Associated Press Mike Petrus shuts off a spewing valve on a damaged oil and gas well in Al-Ahmadi, Kuwait on Monday Raging oil fires give Texas crew a battle in Kuwait Rink- is a frequent-stop ffoir Montgomery police said. But, fellow board member Sandie Barnett did not think it was funny when she found it on her answering machine. She called police and Mr. Bobo after she heard Brendle the message, Police Department spokesman Capt.

Wyatt Gantt said. The two men have had their differences on the board, most recently about the superintendent's suspension of school system dealings with Mr. Brendle's company, Brendle Inc. However, Mr. Brendle said Monday he never thought the phone call would be taken seriously.

"I was just kidding Sandie," he said. Ms. Barnett said she did not recognize Mr. Brendle's voice on the tape. "If I'd known it was a joke, I wouldn't have called police," she said.

"What a mess this is." Mr. Bobo decided not to press charges against Mr. Brendle Monday, he said, but declined to discuss the threat. "After our successful day with the county Commision, I just want to work with the all the members of this board," Mr. Bobo said.

"I want to move forward." The Commission approved a $1 million grant, over two years, that will enable the board to begin improvements to predominantly black schools. The program meets part of the terms of a consent decree in a 1964 desegregation lawsuit. Ms. Barnett found Mr. Brendle's message "I'm gonna kill Bobo.

You can count on that. He's deaaaad. You can count on that." on her answering machine Sunday. She had been cooking, she said, and had not heard the phone ring. Only after she warned police and Mr.

Bobo did she realize who had made the call. "I had no idea it was Buddy," she said. "The voice was real low." She said after she notified Mr. Bobo of the prank threat, he told her to call other board members, Ms. Barnett said.

"When I told him (Mr. Brendle about the threat), he said 'Oh no, that was I couldn't believe it." Priestly presence A Polish soccer club hopes to combat hooliganism among spectators by packing the stands with young priests. The Wisla Krakow club, ranked second nationally, has signed a deal with church authorities in the city of Krakow to give free tickets for the club's matches to seminary students, the PAP news agency said. Team officials believe the presence of the priests in the stadiums will discourge rowdy behavior by other fans, PAP said. The priests could pick up some game strategy as well.

They have 14 informal soccer teams in the Krakow area alone. AP The action, demanding lots of technique but only a few turns of a wrench, was one of the first moves in the biggest job these men have ever had. Firefighters expect it will be at least two years before plumes of smoke cease to blacken Kuwait's skies, turning day into night and filling the air with poisonous hydrocarbons. In some places the oil lies almost a foot thick. In others, tufts of desert brush poke their blackened heads above the goo.

Barbed wire hid under the crude in several places a grim reminder of war. Heading the crew was Boots Hansen, a stocky, white-haired 65-year-old known as the "little general" to his men. The tough-talking Texan doesn't suffer fools gladly and supervises operations closely, even down to putting a "Boots and Coots" decal on the door of a Chevy van. "Wanna go for a ride, fellas, and watch us get dirty?" Mr. Hansen said, cracking a rare, Pleas see FIRES, 8A Report: Saddam skimmed $10 billion, 1D Plumes of smoke will blacken Kuwait's skies for at least two years, experts say By JOHN POMFRET Associated Press Writer GREATER BURGAN OIL FIELD, Kuwait The wind ripples over a deathly lake of crude.

Like stationary tornadoes from hell, scores of oil fires roar red, black and searing. An American oil firefighter places another pinch of tobacco between his cheek and gum, and spits. "We kill oil wells," drawls Mike Petrus, a 33-year-old Texan. "I guess that makes us special." Mr. Petrus and his colleagues have got a lot of killing to do fleeing Iraqi troops ignited about 600 oil wells in Kuwait which burn about 6 million barrels of oil daily, crude worth more than $100 million.

On Monday, Mr. Petrus and four other specialists with Boots and Coots Co. of Houston, Texas, turned off a well that had spewed crude over an area the size of a baseball diamond. Tabitha Ross was sixth-grader at Southlawn Elementary School said. "I was saying I wanted to go before they got rowdy." But things were already rowdy outside.

There was fighting and at one point someone yelled: "Somebody's got a gun!" she said. The sisters and their friends ran for the grass and dirt parking lot next to the skating rink and became separated, she said. Traci heard one shot. Then, as Traci climbed a hill toward the cars, she heard two more shots. Apparently at least one bullet smashed a windshield of a light-colored Skylark T-Type car nearby.

Then she heard someone say, "Ya'll get some help!" Tabitha, a Southlawn Elementary student, died about midnight in a vacant lot littered with beer cans. She was an innocent bystander, the captain said, in a gang-related gun battle. The rink's neighbors said they have complained about noise, and others have complained about the unruliness of some patrons. After the shooting, Skate-haven's owner, Nick Stratas, said he will make changes in his Sunday night schedule, but no details had been worked out. Mr.

Stratas said his rink has adults supervising the children who visit, and he defended his business vigorously in a telephone interview. Parents who know him, he said, consider him "legitimate and strict" and will entrust their children's safety to him. Sunday night's killing was a symptom of a greater problem of teen-age violence, he said. Existing Home Sales Seasonally adjusted annual rate, millions of units 4.0 it ii MAMJJASOND 1990 1991 Feb. '90 Jan.

'91 Feb. '91 3.42 2.90 I 3.13 I Source: National Association ol Realtors AP -ran 2.0 i ili) 1' "Is there anything the general public can do about this? This is out there. It's a whole society's problem. "This is nothing we brought on ourselves," he said. "You can ask parents as a whole to be more careful about their children's actions." The rink was open for an all-night skating program Monday night.

Skatehaven is bordered by a retirement home to the rear, the Village East shopping center on the west and Faulkner University on the east. "We've had complaints that I'm familiar with overcrowding and parking in the street and neighborhood," said City Councilman Herchell Christian, whose district includes the roller rink. "I don't know why it seems to get out of hand Sunday nights." Police cannot close down the rink, however; the only way that Please tee RINK, 8A Housing jump called a good sign By MARTIN CRUTSINGER Associated Press Writer i WASHINGTON Sales of existing homes shot up 7.9 percent in February, the first increase since November and the biggest in nearly five years, giving private economists hope that a housing rebound may be heralding the end of the recession. The National Association of Realtors said Monday that the February increase put sales of existing, single-family homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.13 million units. The February bounce, which essentially erased a 7.3 percent plunge in January, was attrib- Please ie JUMP, 8A Police have answered 88 calls at Skatehaven since January 1990 By MATT SMITH Advertiser Staff Writer Skatehaven, the Atlanta Highway roller skating rink where 12-year-old Tabitha Ross was killed Monday, has been a frequent stop on police patrols, a Montgomery Police spokesman said.

Officers have answered 88 calls at the skating rink since January 1990, Police Department spokesman Capt. Wyatt Gantt said. More than half 53 of them involved violence: disturbances, robberies and three other reports of gunfire, he said. The rest are largely calls on auto accidents or people locked out of their cars, he said. "That's an unusually high number of calls in 15 months," Capt.

Gantt said. expelled for unrelated incidents. One of those students was expelled for attempting to mail a firearm, while two others were expelled for possession of a firearm and disorderly conduct. The university did not release the names of the students and campus security would not say whether any of the expelled students had been arrested. Tuskegee Police Chief J.B.

Walker could not be reached for comment. The three students expelled in connection with the Gilmore case were responsible for removing the weapon from the scene, according to university spokesman J.J. Johnson. He added that none of the students will be permitted to reapply for admission. Pleat tea STUDENTS, 8 A 70 says took gun from scene Inside Dear Business Comics 5C Editorial Horoscope 5C Local News Life 1C Obituaries IB TV Log 2C Weather 2A a Emergency room JACKSON 7 a.m.

Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday Emergency Maternity Service Baptist Hospital Authorities did not recover the gun until several days after Kevin Gilmore was shot to death By BLAIR ROBERTSON Advertiser Staff Writer TUSKEGEE Tuskegee Uni-versity has expelled three students accused of removing the gun from the scene where sophomore Kevin Gilmore was fatally shot, a university spokesman said Monday. The action came after a state medical examiner announced last week that the shooting death of Mr. Gilmore, 19, from Detroit, would be ruled a homicide. Police initially called the shooting an accident.

Three other students also were Subscribers save up to 854 a week oft newsstand prices. For guaranteed home-delivery, call 249-001 0 or 1 -800-488-3579 I.

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