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American Scene: Father, son charged in shooting of ICE agent

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TEXAS

McALLEN — A father and son were charged Thursday with shooting a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent in South Texas, prosecutors said Thursday.

Pedro Alvarado, 41, and his son Arnoldo Alvarado, 18, are charged with assault of a federal officer and knowingly using and carrying a firearm during a violent crime. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the assault charge and a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison on the weapons count.

Both men briefly appeared before a federal judge Thursday and were ordered to stay in jail at least until a detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday. The father and son also asked to be assigned court-appointed attorneys.

The agent, Kelton Harrison, was shot early Tuesday morning while conducting surveillance on an anticipated drug deal at a property near Hargill, 25 miles northeast of the border town of McAllen. Mr. Harrison required surgery but is expected to fully recover.

Arnoldo Alvarado told authorities that his father spotted what he considered a suspicious vehicle and told him and another person "to get the guns," according to a criminal complaint. The third person was a minor who was not named in the complaint and has been turned over to state authorities.

The three got into a car and approached the other vehicle with their lights off. The minor fired six times at the vehicle using a .22-caliber rifle and Arnoldo Alvarado fired twice with a 9-mm handgun, the complaint says.

CONNECTICUT

Navy dismisses exam-cheating claims

HARTFORD — U.S. Navy investigators have dismissed allegations that pervasive cheating has tainted training exams administered to enlisted sailors and officers in the submarine force, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.

The inspector general for the Atlantic submarine force opened an investigation following a complaint that originated in Groton, Conn., the home port of an attack submarine that was hit by a cheating scandal in 2010.

In a letter sent to U.S. Fleet Forces Command in December, the commander for the Atlantic submarine force said the claims were unsubstantiated. It said previous episodes mentioned in the complaint were investigated and dealt with individually.

The letter, which the AP obtained Thursday through a Freedom of Information Act request, recommended the case be "closed as unsubstantiated with no further action."

The investigation began with a complaint from a crew member aboard the USS Memphis, a submarine that lost about 10 percent of its crew to disciplinary measures after a cheating ring was discovered in November 2010. The crew member also complained that the punishments were unduly harsh and influenced by abuse of authority - claims that were also investigated and dismissed by the Navy.

In the case of the Memphis, sailors were emailed the answers before qualification exams, took tests outside the presence of proctors and openly asked officers for answer keys.

NEW YORK

Safety experts: Doomed yacht was overcrowded

OYSTER BAY — A yacht that capsized with 27 friends and family aboard on an outing to watch Fourth of July fireworks was severely overcrowded and doomed to tip over, safety experts said Thursday as the skipper blamed the tragedy on a wave that came out of the dark.

Three children died after becoming trapped Wednesday night in the cabin of the 34-foot vessel off Oyster Bay, on the north shore of Long Island.

Sal Aurelino, who was at the helm of the Candi I, told TV's News12 Long Island that he saw two lightning bolts, and then a wave suddenly hit.

"It turned the boat around," he said, his voice cracking. "It just turned the boat. I didn't see it. It was dark. I didn't see it."

Mr. Aurelino's nephew David Aurelino, 12, and two girls, Harley Treanor, 11, and Victoria Gaines, 8, died. The 24 other passengers - a combination of adults and children - were rescued from the water, mostly by fellow boaters, and were not seriously hurt.

"The next thing I know, we're turning, and we just kept turning, and everybody was in the water. It was chaos," said Mr. Aurelino, who didn't answer the door to the Associated Press.

The cause of the accident was under investigation, but it could have been the weather, overcrowding, the wake from another vessel or a combination of factors, said Nassau County Detective Lt. John Azzata. The area was crowded with boaters watching the fireworks, he said.

PENNSYLVANIA

House arrest denied for convicted monsignor

PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic official convicted of child endangerment will remain behind bars until his sentencing later this month, a judge ruled Thursday, denying a defense request for house arrest.

Monsignor William Lynn has been in custody since a jury convicted him June 22 of the charge, which stemmed from his handling of sex abuse claims at the Philadelphia archdiocese.

Lynn, 61, is the first U.S. Catholic church official convicted in the cover-up of child sex-abuse complaints. He faces 3 1/2 to seven years in prison.

"After due consideration, the motion is denied," Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, who presided over Lynn's three-month jury trial, said at the brief hearing that was packed with the monsignor's friends and family. She did approve a defense request to move up Lynn's sentencing date from Aug. 13 to July 24.

Lynn's lawyers said a relative offered to have the cleric stay at her Philadelphia home until his sentencing.

The judge sided with prosecutor Patrick Blessington, who expressed concerns that Lynn was a flight risk and argued that the monsignor should be treated like anyone else convicted of a crime.

WISCONSIN

1 dead, 1 injured in crane collapse

OSHKOSH — Officials said one worker was killed and another seriously injured after a crane doing bridge work collapsed in Wisconsin.

Department of Transportation spokesman Kris Schuller says the crane was working on the Butte Des Morts bridge in Winnebago County when it collapsed at about 9 a.m. Thursday.

Coroner Barry Busby said one worker died at the scene and the other was taken to a hospital with serious injuries.

The collapse is the second fatal accident this year involving a crane working on the U.S. 41 expansion and redesign project.

A 58-year-old worker was killed in April while unloading a crane in a work area in Brown County. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's investigation into the cause of that accident is ongoing.

FLORIDA

Fired lifeguard will be offered job back

HALLANDALE BEACH — The Florida lifeguard who was fired after leaving his post to help rescue a swimmer outside his zone will be offered his job back, but he is saying no thanks.

Jeff Ellis, head of a company that provides lifeguards at Hallandale Beach, told the (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel that Tomas Lopez was fired too quickly.

Mr. Ellis said no area of the beach his company patrols was left unattended while Mr. Lopez went to assist a swimmer in distress. The victim survived and was hospitalized.

Mr. Lopez was fired shortly after on grounds he'd broken a company rule by leaving his section of the beach that the company was being paid to patrol.

Mr. Ellis said Thursday Mr. Lopez should never have been fired. But Mr. Lopez says he's not interested in taking the job back.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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