CRIME

Claude Alexander Allen arrested for homicide in Gaithersburg

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The 20-year-old son of a former aide to President George W. Bush was charged in Gaithersburg on Friday, accused by police of killing a man with a hatchet.

Claude Alex Allen is accused of killing a man in Gaithersburg.

Claude Alexander Allen III, of Gaithersburg, was arrested by Montgomery County police and online court records show he's been charged with first-degree murder.

The killing occurred at the Gaithersburg home that property records show is owned by Allen's mother and father, Claude A. Allen.

Police say they were called to the home around midnight by a man who said he had killed someone who had tried to break into his home. Officers who arrived determined that it wasn't a break-in, and police say the younger Allen, and the victim, 25-year-old Michael Phillip Harvey, knew each other. Harvey's body was found in woods outside the home.

“We have no signs of forced entry,” Says Capt. Jim Daly of the Montgomery County Police. “At this point our information is that this occurred shortly before we were called. Because we did not have a forced entry here we believe that the two parties did know each other.”

Police didn't immediately reveal a motive.

The suspect lived with his parents and three siblings. He was a student at the University of Richmond, initially starting there on an Army ROTC scholarship, until he dropped out in the Spring of 2012.

The elder Allen was a former domestic policy adviser in the Bush White House. He resigned in 2006 after being arrested for shoplifting at a Target store in Gaithersburg. He pleaded guilty to theft that same year, effectively ending a once-promising political career, and was fined and placed on probation.

He told the judge at his sentencing hearing that he had lost perspective while working long hours and getting little sleep in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He's been a member at Covenant Life Church, an evangelical church in Gaithersburg.

"The very sad story being reported in the news today is the only information we have at this time. We are grieving and praying for the family of the victim, the Allen family and all involved," church spokesman Don Nalle said in a statement.

Those who knew the family are shocked by what happened overnight.

“I'm surprised because this family seems to be a very nice family,” says neighbor Mavra Diavadis.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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