- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2004

Gunman kills 4, self at meatpacking plant

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A disgruntled worker at a meatpacking plant killed four persons and wounded three others yesterday afternoon before committing suicide, police said.

Deputy Police Chief Col. Sam Breshears said five persons died in the shooting at the ConAgra Foods Inc. plant here. Police earlier had given different totals of those killed, ranging from four to seven.

The three persons wounded were being treated at the University of Kansas Hospital, spokesman Bob Hallinan said. Col. Breshears said one was in critical condition.

He said witnesses told police the shooter was a disgruntled plant employee.

A police dispatcher who did not give her name said a ConAgra employee walked into the cafeteria and began firing, then killed himself. Col. Breshears did not release details of the shooting, not even the shooter’s sex.

No charges filed in school drug raid

CHARLESTON, S.C. — South Carolina’s attorney general yesterday said it was “grossly inappropriate” for police to draw their guns during a drug raid at a suburban high school last year, but no charges will be brought against the officers.

The Nov. 5 raid by Goose Creek police at Stratford High School drew national attention after a surveillance video showed students being ordered to the floor and a drug-sniffing dog prowling the hall.

No drugs were found and no arrests were made in the sweep, though some students were handcuffed for a time. The raid led to charges of excessive force and racism because many of the students at the school during the early morning raid were black. Two lawsuits have been filed over the incident.

Nader abandons Ariz. ballot effort

PHOENIX — Supporters of Ralph Nader yesterday abandoned their effort to get the independent candidate on the presidential ballot in Arizona after Democrats challenged the validity of thousands of signatures.

Mr. Nader’s campaign had submitted more than 22,000 signatures to Arizona election officials June 9 — far more than the 14,694 valid signatures required by state law to compete against President Bush and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

Two Democratic voters had filed a lawsuit last week, backed by the Arizona Democratic Party, questioning the validity of Mr. Nader’s nominating petitions and other documents. The Democrats argued that more than 70 percent of the signatures were invalid.

Flags return to full-staff

The nation ends its formal mourning over the death of President Reagan today, when flags lowered to half-staff can again be flown at full-staff.

President Bush ordered flags flown at half-staff for 30 days after Reagan died on June 5 at age 93.

A proclamation by Mr. Bush yesterday did not say why flags were being raised early. White House spokesman Jimmy Orr said, however, it was decided to raise the flags early, over the Fourth of July weekend, “in honor and tribute to the memory of President Reagan.”

The lowered flags flew over days of funeral ceremonies in Washington and California.

The president’s order raises U.S. flags flown over the White House, federal buildings, naval vessels, military buildings and embassies.

Dense smoke thwarts firefighters

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Dense smoke from a growing wildfire in Alaska’s interior kept firefighting aircraft grounded as hundreds of people fled with their pets and belongings.

The fire northeast of Fairbanks has tripled in size in recent days, growing to more than 225,000 acres as wind and hot, dry conditions made a bad situation worse.

Since Tuesday, a handful of subdivisions and scattered cabins have been evacuated and hundreds of people have sought safety in Fairbanks, which was not threatened but was overcome with dense smoke.

The American Red Cross set up a shelter for displaced residents at a high school in Fairbanks, Alaska’s second-largest city.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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