- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 1, 2011


Shuttle launch off until end of week

CAPE CANAVERAL | Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final launch is off until at least the end of the week because technicians need to replace a switch box in the engine compartment, NASA said Sunday.

The six astronauts — led by commander Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — wasted no time heading back to Houston. Ms. Giffords also separately returned there to continue rehabilitation from her near-fatal shooting in January.

As late as Saturday, the astronauts and their families were still hoping for a launch attempt Monday. But NASA gave up on that once it became clear extensive repair work would be needed to fix a faulty heater system aboard Endeavour. The trouble prevented the shuttle from blasting off Friday; President Obama and his family were among those missing out.

“We all had our fingers crossed looking forward to a quick rescheduling of the launch,” said C.J. Karamargin, a Giffords spokesman.


Four killed in home by man police later shot

WEST UNION | An 8-year-old girl who authorities say apparently slept through the fatal shootings of four family members at a rural home awoke and alerted a neighbor that something horrible had happened overnight.

A short time later, nearly 100 miles away, one of the girl’s relatives was killed in a shootout with police, who didn’t know then that he was suspected in the quadruple homicide.

Randle Lee Roberts II died in the shootout in Columbus on Saturday about an hour after the girl went out the back door of her pale blue, one-floor modular house and ran to a neighbor’s home.

In the girl’s home, her 34-year-old mother, Kendra Stephens, and 11-year-old sister, Harley, were found in one bedroom. The door to a second bedroom was locked, so authorities broke through a window to find 46-year-old Sonja Stephens dead in bed. In the living room, upright in a chair, they found 68-year-old George Stephens, grandfather of Roberts’ wife. Authorities are trying to clarify how the others are related.


Three hurt in crash of reality-TV chopper

INDIANA | A helicopter carrying a reality-television crew crashed near a university, injuring three of the four people aboard.

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