- - Sunday, August 12, 2012

AUSTIN — A widening sex scandal at Lackland Air Force Base had led to the dismissal of the top commander who oversees basic training for every new American airman, officials said Friday.

Col. Glenn Palmer was commander of basic training at the 737th training group at the Texas base, where more than a dozen military instructors in the past year have been investigated or charged with sexually assaulting recruits. Officials familiar with the decision said Col. Palmer has been relieved from those duties, speaking on condition of anonymity because the announcement was not yet public.

The officials said there was no indication Col. Palmer was facing any criminal charges.

Investigators say more than three dozen female trainees have been victimized by male instructors at Lackland, where approximately 35,000 airmen graduate each year. About 1 in 5 recruits is female, while most instructors are male.

NORTH CAROLINA

Graham stable, in hospital with lung infection

ASHEVILLE — A spokesman for Billy Graham says the 93-year-old evangelist has been admitted to a North Carolina hospital for an infection in his lungs.

A joint statement Sunday from Graham’s spokesman and Mission Hospital says Mr. Graham was admitted overnight for evaluation and treatment of an infection thought to be bronchitis. The hospital is in Asheville, near his home in Montreat.

Pulmonologist David Pucci says Mr. Graham is resting comfortably and his condition is stable. He is receiving antibiotics.

Graham spokesman Larry Ross says the evangelist was able to watch a television feed of his grandson, Will Graham, preaching Sunday morning.

Mr. Graham was hospitalized for pneumonia in November. His staff says the evangelist’s health has been good since his release, though he remains at home because of age-related conditions. He is working on a manuscript for an upcoming book.

NEW YORK

Fatal Times Square clash draws crowd

NEW YORK — Lincoln Rocha had just taken some photographs of his wife while they visited crowded Times Square on a hot summer day when he saw a man nearby start to back away from police officers who were talking to him.

When they reached out to try to grab the man, Mr. Rocha said, “He just went for his knife.” The officers went for their guns, and Mr. Rocha went for his camera.

“When I saw the officers draw their guns, I was sure they would kill him,” the Brazilian tourist said Sunday, the day after the man, 51-year-old Darrius Kennedy, was fatally shot by police, who said he had lunged at officers with the 11-inch kitchen knife.

Mr. Kennedy had been smoking marijuana near the military recruiting station in Times Square about 3 p.m. Saturday when officers first approached, police said. It was the beginning of an encounter that would stretch for seven of the most crowded blocks in New York in the middle of the afternoon and end a few minutes later with 12 gunshots and many witnesses.

Mr. Kennedy ignored repeated orders to drop the knife and began backing away from the officers, continuing for blocks as he waved the knife and drew police into a slow-speed pursuit that lured onlookers.

NEVADA

Chimp makes second escape from Las Vegas backyard

LAS VEGAS — The caretaker of a chimpanzee that got out of its enclosure and ran off into a Las Vegas neighborhood for the second time in about four weeks says the she thinks someone let the animal out of its cage this weekend.

Timmi De Rosa says the 13-year-old chimp, C.J., didn’t get loose by bending steel bars without help.

Ms. De Rosa says the 180-pound animal got out Saturday but was captured quickly and was never a threat to neighbors.

The chimp has been turned over to an animal entertainer for safekeeping before going to a sanctuary in Oregon.

On July 12, C.J. and her mate Buddy broke free and roamed the neighborhood, pounding on vehicles and climbing in an unoccupied car. An officer shot and killed Buddy when the animal frightened bystanders.

WISCONSIN

Victimized Sikh temple packed for first Sunday since attack

OAK CREEK — Hundreds of people gathered at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee spoke of redemption, unity and strength during the first Sunday service there since a gunman killed six people before fatally shooting himself.

The service capped a weekend of events meant to honor the victims and restore the temple as a place of worship. While there were still tears and red eyes, many participants said healing was under way.

Visitors removed their shoes outside and filed past portraits of the victims, shuffling down a flower-lined aisle into the main prayer room. They dropped dollar bills in front of a shrine where their holy book sits and bowed for two to three seconds. Then they sat on the floor — women on the left, men on the right — their heads covered with scarves, and listened as a priest recited religious hymns in Punjabi.

Those at Sunday’s service included Sikhs from as far away as California and about 50 from Cleveland who chartered a bus to make the eight-hour drive to support their community.

“It’s an emotional day but it’s getting better,” said Justice Khalsa, 41, of Milwaukee, who visits the temple three or four days a week. “I’m smiling and laughing now, but once this group goes away and we’re back to our regular schedule, it will be haunting, I’m sure.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports