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American Scene

- - Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ALABAMA

Fred Shuttlesworth, civil rights leader, dies

BIRMINGHAM | The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, who was bombed, beaten and repeatedly arrested in the fight for civil rights and hailed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for his courage and energy, has died. He was 89.

Princeton Baptist Medical Center spokeswoman Jennifer Dodd confirmed he died at the Birmingham hospital Wednesday morning.

Mr. Shuttlesworth, a former truck driver who studied religion at night, became pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1953 and soon was an outspoken leader in the fight for racial equality.

In his 1963 book "Why We Can't Wait," King called Mr. Shuttlesworth "one of the nation's the most courageous freedom fighters ... a wiry, energetic and indomitable man."

He survived a 1956 bombing, an assault during a 1957 demonstration, chest injuries when Birmingham authorities turned fire hoses on demonstrators in 1963, and countless arrests.

CALIFORNIA

Gunman at large after deadly shooting

CUPERTINO | Authorities went door to door with guns drawn Wednesday in search of a disgruntled employee they say opened fire at a Northern California limestone quarry, killing three and wounding six, before possibly wounding another woman in an attempted carjacking.

Schools were on lockdown or closed in the Silicon Valley city of Cupertino and nearby Los Gatos as SWAT teams sought Shareef Allman, 47, of San Jose.

Mr. Allman was at a routine safety meeting at the quarry at about 4:30 a.m. when he became disgruntled and left, Santa Clara County Sheriff's Lt. Rick Sung said. He then returned with a handgun and rifle and started shooting people, Lt. Sung said.

Sheriff Laurie Smith said two people were pronounced dead at Permanente Quarry in Cupertino, and a third person died later at the hospital.

Six others at the quarry were wounded and taken to hospitals, Sheriff Smith said. Some of them remained in critical condition, she said.

Authorities located Mr. Allman's vehicle and have seized a shotgun, a handgun and two rifles believed to belong to the suspect, Sheriff Smith said.

COLORADO

Judge: Terrorist can sue over prison restrictions

DENVER | A man convicted of a 1998 terrorist strike on the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania has won the right to sue the federal government over tight restrictions on his visitors and letter-writing at the federal supermax prison in southern Colorado.

Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, serving a life sentence at the high-security prison, says the restrictions violate his civil rights.

Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Denver, did not return a phone call Wednesday seeking a response.

In a handwritten filing in 2008 in Denver District Court, Mohammed said the special administrative measures that allow restrictions on federal prisoners were "in violation of the First Amendment rights, equal protection rights, cruel and unusual punishment."

Representing himself, Mohamed also complained that he was barred from watching religious programming on Arabic television, even though Christian prisoners had access to their spiritual leaders.

In her ruling Thursday, U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger said the federal government failed to show that the people Mohamed wants to communicate with pose a threat to the security of the prison or the public.

MONTANA

Lawsuit filed over Yellowstone River oil spill

BILLINGS | Several landowners whose property was damaged when an ExxonMobil Corp. pipeline spilled oil into the Yellowstone River have filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages for long-term harm to their property and businesses.

Attorney Cliff Edwards filed the lawsuit in state District Court in Billings on Tuesday on behalf of eight landowners, the Billings Gazette reported.

An oil pipeline buried 5 to 7 feet below the Yellowstone River ruptured July 1, spilling about 42,000 gallons of crude oil into the flooded waterway.

Dale Getz, a community relations adviser for ExxonMobil in Billings, said to his knowledge, the lawsuit is the first related to the spill, but the company does not comment on pending litigation. He said the cleanup will continue.

The lawsuit names ExxonMobil Oil Corp., ExxonMobil Pipeline in Houston, Billings refinery manager Jon Wetmore and pipeline terminal superintendent Jason Montgomery.