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American Scene: Witness claims naked attacker was chewing man’s face

- - Monday, May 28, 2012

MIAMI — A witness says a naked man chewing on the face of another naked man on a downtown highway ramp kept eating and growled at a police officer who tried to make him stop.

Larry Vega told WSVN-TV in Miami that he was riding his bicycle Saturday afternoon off the MacArthur Causeway into downtown Miami when he saw the savage attack on the bridge's off-ramp. The causeway connects downtown Miami with Miami Beach.

"The guy was, like, tearing him to pieces with his mouth, so I told him, 'Get off!' " Mr. Vega said. "The guy just kept eating the other guy away, like, ripping his skin."

Mr. Vega flagged down a Miami police officer, who he said repeatedly ordered the attacker to get off the victim. The attacker just picked his head up and growled at the officer, Mr. Vega said.

The officer shot and killed the attacker.

Neither man's identity has been determined and a spokeswoman said Monday that Jackson Memorial Hospital would not be releasing any information about the victim.


Police charge suspect in deaths of 4 in W.Va.

SOUTH CHARLESTON — A man was charged Monday with murder in the deaths of four people - including two young children - whose bodies were found in a wooded part of central West Virginia.

James Belknap was arrested Monday afternoon at a roadblock near where four bodies were found Saturday: a man, his girlfriend and two children, ages 6 and 4, who were missing since May 19.

Police said Mr. Belknap and the victims were "acquaintances."


Dallas police in standoff with man in crane

DALLAS — Police sought Monday to coax a man from a crane cab on the Southern Methodist University campus in suburban Dallas after he told officers he was armed and threatened to shoot anyone who approached him.

The crane towers about 150 feet over the campus in University Park, a posh North Dallas enclave.

Special tactics officers from the Dallas Police Department were working with SMU campus police to manage the scene and try to talk the man down from the crane. No injuries had been reported.


Tech entrepreneur who lived in office gets cash for house

PALO ALTO — A Silicon Valley entrepreneur who secretly lived at the office of AOL Inc. to save money now has his own place.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that 20-year-old Eric Simons recently received $50,000 in new funding and is renting a house in Palo Alto.

Mr. Simons ended up at AOL with a $20,000 grant from a business incubator that used AOL's Palo Alto office.

When he was no longer able to pay rent, he made the office his home. He kept clothes at the AOL gym, slept on couches and grabbed snacks that were set out for everyone in the morning.

He was caught after about two months in December by a manager in the building. But his story - first reported by technology website CNET last week - has generated a buzz that has attracted other investors.


Young woman battling flesh-eating bacteria speaks

AUGUSTA — The father of a young Georgia woman battling a flesh-eating disease says his daughter has spoken for the first time since she was taken to an Augusta hospital weeks ago for treatment.

Writing on his Facebook page, Andy Copeland declared Sunday "Aimee Day," saying: "Our baby can talk."

No further details were available, but by Monday morning more than 100 well-wishers had posted encouraging comments.

Twenty-four-year-old Aimee Copeland developed necrotizing fasciitis after cutting her leg in a May 1 fall from a homemade zip line over a west Georgia river. Her left leg, other foot and both hands have been amputated.

She began breathing on her own last week and was able to sit up in a chair on Thursday.


Canada pledges $17.5M in fight against Asian carp

TRAVERSE CITY — The Canadian government says it will spend $17.5 million over the next five years to help prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes.

Silver and bighead carp imported to the southern U.S. decades ago have been migrating up the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Scientists say they could damage native fish species if allowed to reach the Great Lakes, which are shared by the U.S. and Canada.

Upper Peninsula blaze burns nearly 100 buildings, homes

NEWBERRY — Homes and cabins make up a third of the nearly 100 structures destroyed by a wildfire burning across more than 30 square miles of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, officials said Monday.

The lost property includes Pike Lake Resort near Pike Lake in Luce County.

The Duck Lake Fire began with a lightning strike last week and burned more than 22,000 acres, or 34 square miles, but was 51 percent contained by Monday, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Parts of Michigan are extremely dry and thirsty for rain. Fireworks and outdoor burning are banned in 49 of the state's 83 counties, especially in northern Michigan.

The DNR said 95 structures have been destroyed, including 34 homes or cabins. No injuries have been reported.


3 rescued from remote mountainside crash site

BOISE — Hours after their plane crashed on a steep and snowy mountainside in Idaho, a California fireman, his wife and their daughter were airlifted to safety by National Guard rescuers.

The family was en route from California to Mountain Home, Idaho, when their Cessna 172 went down Saturday night, leaving them with head and back injuries, officials said.

One of them used a cellphone just after midnight to report that they had survived the crash.

A medical helicopter located the wreckage Sunday morning, but whiteout conditions prevented the aircraft crew from carrying out an immediate rescue, said Col. Tim Marsano of the Idaho National Guard.

Rescuers who walked through 6-foot snowdrifts and on 60-degree slopes reached the crash site first. They wrapped the family members in blankets and built a fire until a military helicopter could lift them out with a hoist.

It's unclear what caused the Cessna to go down. Photos taken by rescuers showed significant damage, including a broken front windshield.

From wire dispatches and staff reports