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November 15, 2007

Ministry Takes In Shooter

CUMBERLAND — It doesn’t matter who you are, or were, when you reach Restoration of the Heart. All that matters is you want to change and become part of a community.

For Arthur Bremer, the nonprofit agency with housing at Footer Place off Frederick Street may just be the place he needs.

Bremer, 57, served 35 years for the attempted murder of Alabama Gov. George Wallace on May 15, 1972. Wallace was at a presidential campaign stop at a Laurel shopping center when he and three others were shot. Bremer was 21 at the time.

Released Friday from the Maryland Correctional Institution near Hagerstown, Bremer’s condition of release includes electronic monitoring and staying away from elected officials and candidates. He must undergo a mental health evaluation and receive treatment if the state deems necessary. Bremer may not leave the state without written permission from the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, the agency that will supervise him until his probation ends in 2025.

Bremer has reportedly declined media interviews, including some that included offers of monetary payment.

While Restoration’s director, Frances Jones, wouldn’t mention Bremer by name or give much information about him, when asked specific questions Wednesday she said she’d been in contact with him prior to his release.

Her goal is to get “him back out there in the world, the same as everyone else,” she said. A bicycle and a toaster were two items requested.

“It’s just a joy to see the person’s face in being able to be free, to be normal and to be alone,” Jones said. “My heart is overwhelmed, it’s overjoyed at how this child is coming out to a new world. He’s nothing like what he’s been made out to be.”

Wade Clark, an advocate with The Leadership Group International, has been right alongside Jones since August. His role, he said, is to help Jones build “capacity,” which is to set up such things as a Web site and accounting system and to help define the mission.

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