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Drought drives badger to occupy store for hour

SPARKS — A badger that wandered into a retail store in northern Nevada dodged a tranquilizer dart and held authorities at bay for about an hour before the teeth-baring critter was lured into a cage with cat food.

No one was hurt in the standoff at the bottled water/convenience store in a residential neighborhood in Sparks, and the badger was returned to the wild north of Reno, Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy said Wednesday.

“Apparently the door was open a bit and this badger just walked in,” Mr. Healy told the Associated Press. “Obviously it was pretty hungry because when they put the cat food in the trap, it went right in.”

Lingering drought often sends bears and coyotes into urban areas and that could have played a role in the badger’s adventure, he said.

“They are a lot more common than people realize up here but they are nocturnal — they operate at night, and usually not in areas like this,” Mr. Healy said. “It’s the first one I’ve ever deal with and I’ve been here 27 years.”


Psychologist: Giffords gunman still in bad mental shape

PHOENIX — A psychological report released Thursday warned that while Jared Lee Loughner was competent to plead guilty in the Tucson mass shooting, he remained severely mentally ill and his mental condition could deteriorate under the stress of a trial.

The report was prepared in late April by a federal Bureau of Prisons psychologist who testified in court Tuesday before a judge allowed Loughner to plead guilty in the January 2011 mass shooting.

Psychologist Christina Pietz’s report said Loughner’s improved condition was due to medication.

But because his condition could “wax and wane, I recommend the court expeditiously address issues related to his situation,” Ms. Pietz wrote. “Mr. Loughner is currently competent to proceed. However, because of his fragile mental state, there is no guarantee he will remain competent for an extended time.”

Loughner pleaded guilty to 19 counts under a plea agreement that guarantees he will spend the rest of his life in prison. He is to be sentenced in November for the mass shooting that left six people dead and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others wounded.


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