American Scene: 2 sheriff’s deputies dead, 2 hurt in shootout

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LOUISIANA

LAPLACE — Two sheriff’s deputies in Louisiana were fatally shot and two others were injured in an early morning shootout west of New Orleans, authorities said Thursday.

The sheriff in St. John the Baptist Parish said five people are in custody.

A tearful Sheriff Mike Tregre said the incident started when a gunman opened fire for unknown reasons on a deputy working an off-duty traffic detail along a highway that connects U.S. Highway 61 with the busy industrial corridor along the Mississippi River. That deputy was wounded.

Sheriff Tregre said someone called deputies with a description of a car fleeing the scene, and officers tracked it to a nearby trailer park.

When officers found the car, they handcuffed a suspect outside a trailer, then knocked on its door. Sheriff Tregre said someone with a dog answered.

“Another person exited that trailer with an assault weapon and ambushed my two officers,” Sheriff Tregre said. Two deputies were killed and a third was wounded.

Two suspects were wounded in the shootout before officers subdued them, Sheriff Tregre said.

The dead deputies were identified as Brandon Nielsen, 34, and Jeremy Triche, 27. The wounded officers were Jason Triche, 30, and Michael Boyington, 33. They were being treated at hospitals, but the extent of their injuries was not known. The Triches are not believed to be related.

CALIFORNIA

1 man dead from rodent disease

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — Yosemite National Park officials say a man is dead and a woman is recovering after contracting a rare rodent-borne disease in a popular lodging area.

Park officials said Thursday that tests confirmed the man died in late July from hantavirus. Both victims had been staying in tent cabins in the park in June.

Park officials say the hantavirus has been detected in deer mice around Curry Village campground.

The virus takes one to six weeks to incubate. It’s fatal for about 30 percent of people who contract it, most likely by inhaling the virus from mouse urine or droppings.

The park concessionaire has been working to disinfect cabins since the discovery, and officials have been trapping and testing mice.

NEW YORK

Man suspected of faking drowning is re-arrested

MINEOLA — An unemployed man suspected of faking his own drowning at a New York beach to collect on life insurance has been re-arrested and will be freed on bail again.

Raymond Roth pleaded not guilty to the latest charges Thursday.

Nassau County prosecutors say Mr. Roth called his estranged wife Wednesday night.

His lawyer says Mr. Roth didn’t understand an order of protection and had recently tried to commit suicide.

He was arrested earlier Wednesday on charges including conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. He pleaded not guilty and was released on $100,000 bail.

His son Jonathan, who told police his father drowned, faces the same charges.

PENNSYLVANIA

Rare WWII naval dispatch brings $20K at auction

MILLVILLE — A rare military cable heralding the end of World War II has fetched more than $20,000 at auction.

The naval dispatch announced the end of hostilities with Japan.

It was received aboard the USS Holland on Aug. 15, 1945, days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and was kept in a crewman’s shoebox for more than 60 years.

Northeastern Pennsylvania auctioneer Kirk Williams sold the historic 8-inch-by-6.5-inch dispatch to a buyer from Nevada on Wednesday — the 67th anniversary of V-J Day.

The lot included other World War II-era documents and photographs taken by Navy veteran Bob York, who died in February at age 91.

Mr. Williams said the unidentified buyer purchased the dispatch as an investment and gift for his 31-year-old daughter. The new owner might also lend it to museums, as he has other pieces in his collection, Mr. Williams said.

The 112-word dispatch from President Harry S. Truman’s navy secretary said, in part: “All hands of the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard may take satisfaction in the conclusion of the war against Japan.”

Mr. Williams said he had no idea how much the document might bring, though he hoped it would clear $7,000.

The winning bid was $20,500, plus a 10 percent buyer’s fee.

MISSOURI

Investigators: Cause of mosque fire unknown

ST. LOUIS — Investigators announced Thursday that they have been unable to determine the cause of a suspicious fire that destroyed a southwest Missouri mosque that was a previous arson target.

About three dozen investigators with the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Missouri Division of Fire Safety, and Jasper County Sheriff’s Department had been in Joplin since the fire at the Islamic Society on Aug. 6. No one was hurt, but the building that served as a mosque for about 50 families was destroyed.

Investigators said in a joint news release that for now, the official cause is “undetermined,” though the investigation remains open.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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