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American Scene: Police: 3 killed in workplace shooting

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 6, 2012

FRESNO | A parolee who worked at a California chicken processing plant opened fire at the business on Tuesday, killing two people and wounding two others before taking his own life, authorities said.

Police said they didn't know what prompted the attack by Lawrence Jones, 42, midway through his shift at Apple Valley Farms, although other workers told police he did not appear to be himself when he arrived at the plant for work.

Mr. Jones had an extensive criminal history dating back into the 1990s, police said without elaborating.

Police said they had his home on lockdown and were searching to see if there were any other victims.

Mr. Jones arrived at work just before 5 a.m. About three-and-a-half hours into his shift, he pulled out a handgun and began firing, police said.

CALIFORNIA

Boy returns to school after DNA flap

PALO ALTO | A Palo Alto sixth-grader has been allowed to return to school after his family convinced district officials they didn't need to worry about his genetic mutations.

A month ago, Palo Alto district officials had told Colman Chadam, 11, he must transfer out of Jordan Middle School because they thought genetic mutations-related cystic fibrosis threatened students with the lung disease.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that district officials and Colman's family announced Monday a settlement that revoked a forced transfer to another district school. The boy was allowed to return to school last week after missing 11 days of class.

PENNSYLVANIA

Longtime suspect in Etan Patz case to be released

PHILADELPHIA | The man who was long the prime suspect in a landmark case of a missing New York City boy is about to be released from a Pennsylvania prison where he spent more than 20 years for molesting other children.

Six-year-old Etan Patz vanished May 25, 1979, after leaving his Lower Manhattan home to go to a bus stop two blocks away. It was the first time his parents had let him go off to school alone.

Jose Ramos, a convicted pedophile whom authorities have called the prime suspect in the case, is set to be released Wednesday from the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, in northeastern Pennsylvania, prison spokesman Michael Goyne said.

Ramos, 69, has been incarcerated for molesting two other boys.

NEW YORK

WTC memorial reopens to public after storm

NEW YORK | The 9/11 memorial reopened to the public Tuesday a week after Superstorm Sandy flooded the World Trade Center site as it roared into New York, but another temporary closure was planned for Wednesday in anticipation of an approaching Nor'easter.

City parks were also scheduled to shut, from noon Wednesday through noon Thursday, because of potentially high winds.

The earlier news from the memorial about its post-Sandy reopening was that the superstorm -- which claimed at least 40 lives in the city -- spared the core of the memorial: the reflective fountains ringed by the names of those who died in the terrorist attack.

Also spared were 9/11 artifacts that are to be displayed in the museum still under construction -- from a piece of the north tower's antenna to an elevator motor that once propelled workers into the skyscrapers.

NORTH CAROLINA

1 dead, 3 hurt in hospital fire

DURHAM | One patient was killed and three employees injured in a fire early Tuesday at a long-term care unit occupying leased space at a North Carolina hospital, authorities said.

Firefighters were called to a report of an explosion on the sixth floor of Durham Regional Hospital about 2:15 a.m. Tuesday, said Durham Fire Department spokeswoman Sierra Jackson. Firefighters discovered there had been no explosion and the fire had been extinguished by the hospital sprinkler system.

Hospital officials were investigating exactly how the fire occurred and just where it began, said Katie Galbraith, hospital chief of operations. The sprinkler system caused water damage to the sixth floor, so other patients at the 30-bed Select Specialty unit were transferred to Durham Regional Hospital, said Kellie Peacock, Durham Regional's marketing director.

The fire was limited to one room of Select Specialty Hospital, which is a separately licensed, long-term acute care facility that leases spaced on the sixth floor of the hospital, Ms. Peacock said.

The patient who died was critically ill, Ms. Peacock said.

NEW YORK

Nun pleads not guilty to stealing $128K

KENDALL | A 67-year-old nun has pleaded not guilty to a grand larceny charge stemming from the theft of nearly $130,000 from two Catholic Church parishes in western New York.

Local media outlets report that Sister Mary Anne Rapp entered her plea Monday night in Kendall Town Court in Orleans County. She was released without bail.

Sister Rapp is charged with stealing $128,000 from rural parishes in Kendall and nearby Holley where she used to work.

Diocese of Buffalo officials say she was placed on leave in February 2011 and fired two months later. She's accused of stealing the money between March 2006 and April 2011.

Officials say Sister Rapp has a gambling problem and they think she spent the money at casinos.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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