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American Scene

- - Thursday, February 11, 2010

CALIFORNIA

L.A.P.D.: Ex-gangster slain by graffiti suspect

LOS ANGELES — Police say a well-known former gangster who has counseled against violence was killed when he confronted a graffiti-writer in Los Angeles.

Police say Ronald "Looney" Barron left a bar and noticed a tagger defacing a wall Sunday night. Police say when confronted, the tagger pulled out a gun and shot the 40-year-old Mr. Barron multiple times. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

No arrests have been made.

A former member of the Mansfield Crips, Mr. Barron worked the past decade for Amer-I-Can, which runs a gang intervention program in which former gangsters counsel youth to avoid crime and violence.

Mr. Barron's killing is the latest in which taggers have fatally shot passersby who confronted them about graffiti writing.

COLORADO

Reconstruction set for plane collision

BOULDER — Federal investigators plan to do a reconstruction of the midair collision that killed three people in two planes above Boulder, Colo., on Saturday.

Investigators say they will piece together the aircraft and do a 3-D reconstruction in Greeley, where they have taken the wreckage. The crash killed two brothers from Boulder and a man from Evergreen.

Witnesses told investigators that a Cirrus SR-20 aircraft collided with a Piper Pawnee, and that a glider being towed by the Piper Pawnee disconnected just before impact.

Three people in the glider survived.

INDIANA

Knight named graduation speaker

ANGOLA — Former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight will return to the state this spring to be the commencement speaker at Trine University.

University president Earl Brooks II says Mr. Knight's respect for learning and ability to instill character in his players will make him an inspiring speaker for the 1,400-student school on May 8.

The private school in Angola said Tuesday that Mr. Knight would also receive an honorary doctor of public service degree in recognition of his commitment to improving the lives of young people.

Mr. Knight's Indiana teams won three NCAA titles before he was fired in 2000 after a freshman accused the coach of grabbing him.

He set the Division I men's basketball record for victories while at Texas Tech.

NEBRASKA

Ex-employee arrested in standoff

KEARNEY — Police have arrested a man suspected of taking people hostage at a south-central Nebraska bank.

Television station NTV said in a statement that the suspect in Wednesday's standoff in Kearney was a former employee who was fired Feb. 3. The station had no further details.

The hostage situation at the Wells Fargo Bank branch was reported just before 11 a.m. Television station KHAS-TV reported the man came out of the bank and was taken into custody around 1:30 p.m.

No shots had been reported during the hostage situation, but other details remain unclear. Authorities have not released any information.

A spokeswoman for Nebraska's Wells Fargo branches said earlier Wednesday that there was a hostage situation at the Kearney branch.

NEVADA

Sinatra, Martin get Vegas stars

LAS VEGAS — Sin City is paying homage to iconic singers Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin by giving them each a place on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars.

Las Vegas Walk of Stars spokesman Pablo Castro Zavala said stars for the crooners would be unveiled Feb. 22 in a ceremony at the Flamingo Las Vegas casino-resort. The stars will then be placed in the sidewalk outside the Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip.

Sinatra and Martin are icons of Sin City entertainment because of their appearances on stage, in film and on television.

The Rat Pack performers appeared in the 1960 movie "Ocean's Eleven," about a plan to rob five Las Vegas casinos in one night.

Officials say Martin's daughter Deana Martin will accept his star on behalf of her father.

NEW YORK

9/11 aerial photos released to ABC

NEW YORK — Newly released aerial photos of the World Trade Center terror attack capture the towers' dramatic collapse, from just after the first fiery plane strike to the apocalyptic dust clouds that spread over Lower Manhattan and its harbor.

The images were taken from a police helicopter — the only photographers allowed in the air space near the towers on Sept. 11, 2001. They were obtained by ABC News after it filed a Freedom of Information Act request last year with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which investigated the collapse.

The chief curator of the planned Sept. 11 museum, which is compiling a digital archive of attack coverage, said the still images are "a phenomenal body of work" that show a new, wide-angle look at the towers' collapse and the gray dust clouds that shrouded the city afterward.

The photos are "absolutely core to understanding the visual phenomena of what was happening," said Jan Ramirez, chief curator at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

OHIO

2 killed in attack veterans' center

CLEVELAND — A homeless veteran who was told to move out of a shelter attacked and killed the center's director Wednesday morning before police fatally shot him, authorities said.

Officers said when they arrived at the homeless shelter, they saw the man standing over the director with a knife and ax in his hands.

The man, a 48-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran, obeyed police orders to drop the weapons but then charged at officers and was shot, said police spokesman Sammy Morris.

The man had been staying at the shelter at the Volunteers of America Veterans Resource Center but was recently told he had to move out because he had been there for a year, the maximum amount of time residents can stay there, said Dennis Kresak, president of the Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio.

Mr. Kresak would not release the names of the man or the director but did confirm that both had been killed.

PENNSYLVANIA

Arabic student sues over airport incident

PHILADELPHIA — A college student handcuffed at Philadelphia International Airport and questioned about his Arabic language flash cards is suing FBI agents, police officers and others.

Twenty-two-year-old Nick George of suburban Wyncote says he was held for about four hours in August and missed his flight back to school in California. He says it's even more alarming that his checked luggage made it onboard.

Mr. George is a senior physics major at Pomona College. He studies Arabic and has traveled to the Middle East and North Africa. He says he was detained even after it was clear he posed no safety threat.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday. Defendants also include three Transportation Security Administration officers.

WASHINGTON

Guards watched gang attack girl

SEATTLE — Three security guards watched a group of teens punch, kick and rob a 15-year-old girl in the downtown Seattle Metro bus tunnel without intervening.

Security video shows the guards call for help on their radios, but they don't go to the aid of the girl even as she is being kicked in the head.

A dispute involving a group of 10 teens apparently started inside a department store the evening of Jan. 28 and moved to the bus tunnel at Westlake Station, where the girl was attacked. The King County sheriff's office tells KING-TV four suspects, ages 15 to 20, have been arrested in the investigation.

Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond says the department is revising its policy that guards only "observe and report" problems.

From wire dispatches and staff reports