- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 16, 2005

GEORGIA

Shooting suspect appears before judge

ATLANTA — Ringed by 19 officers in a cinder-block jail room, his hands and ankles shackled, the man accused in the crime spree that left an Atlanta judge and three others dead went before a judge yesterday for the first time since the rampage.

Brian Nichols, 33, was informed that authorities plan to charge him with murder.

He was held without bail on the rape charge for which he was on trial Friday, when he reportedly overpowered a guard at the Fulton County courthouse, stole her gun and started a rampage that terrorized Atlanta and left four persons dead.

TEXAS

Police seek suspect in highway shooting

DALLAS — Police last night were searching for the driver of a late-model white Jaguar who they suspect is responsible for a sniper attack that left three persons dead on a busy Dallas highway.

A Dallas police officer who witnessed the shooting said the driver of the Jaguar pulled over, stretched up through the car’s sunroof and fired an assault rifle at a car traveling down a service road near Southern Methodist University.

The second car veered and crashed into a building. The gunman then sped off, the officer said.

Three men who were riding in the attacked vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene, and a fourth was in critical condition at a hospital.

The police officer who witnessed the shooting reportedly could not chase the suspect because he was transporting a prisoner at the time.

ARIZONA

Gang member arrested at border

NACO — U.S. Border Patrol agents have arrested a member of Hermanos de la Frontera, or the Border Brothers, a Mexico-based criminal gang, after he was caught trying to sneak into the United States by crawling under the U.S.-Mexico international boundary fence near Naco.

Border Patrol spokesman Rob Daniels said Eulogio Soriano-Vasquez was taken into custody by agents and later identified as a gang member and criminal alien by the agency’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

Soriano-Vasquez is being held by the Border Patrol pending federal prosecution and removal proceedings. Since Oct. 1, agents in the Tucson sector have arrested 13,392 aliens who have been convicted of crimes in the United States, of which 1,824 have been for drug and aggravated assault charges, Mr. Daniels said.

CALIFORNIA

One killed, 57 injured in bus crash

ONTARIO — A casino bus smashed into a firetruck on a highway yesterday morning, killing one person and injuring 57 others, including three firefighters, authorities said.

The Upland Fire Department truck was moving toward the median to reach the scene of an accident when the bus, traveling from Los Angeles to a casino in Indio, collided with it.

One person on the bus was killed. One firefighter suffered major injuries, authorities said. The conditions of the others injured were not released.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

COLORADO

Teen girl held in father’s death

BOULDER — A 14-year-old girl was being held without bond for investigation of manslaughter yesterday while officials investigate her claim that she fatally shot her father to help him commit suicide.

In denying bond, Magistrate T.J. Cole called the teen a “danger to herself and the community.”

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the home Sunday after a female caller dialed 911 and mentioned the girl’s home address before hanging up. Deputies discovered the body of a 56-year-old man in an upstairs bedroom, Lt. Phil West said.

The girl, Lt. West said, told investigators her father had taken his own life. The lack of a suicide note and inconsistencies in her story, however, led authorities to suspect she might have been involved. The girl then acknowledged shooting her father, but only after finding him in pain after he had tried to fatally shoot himself.

The names of the man and his daughter weren’t released.

FLORIDA

Lawmakers advance Schiavo bill

TALLAHASSEE — A bill that could block the removal of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube later this week was sent to the full House after a panel approved the measure yesterday.

An identical measure was to be considered by a state Senate committee later in the day as lawmakers rushed to prevent the removal of the brain-damaged woman’s feeding tube on Friday.

Mrs. Schiavo, 41, has been at the center of a long and bitter court battle between her parents and her husband, who wants to remove her feeding tube so she can die.

The bill would block doctors from denying food or water to someone in a persistent vegetative state, but would make exceptions for patients who left specific instructions.

HAWAII

Saltwater lagoon to be restored

HONOLULU — Work could begin this week on a $5 million project to restore the neglected saltwater lagoon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki.

Hotel officials say they plan to make the 50-year-old man-made lagoon shallower, smaller and cleaner. They also plan to install a public boardwalk around it.

IDAHO

Doctors treat dolls at Teddy Bear Clinic

POCATELLO — Doctors at Portnuef Medical Center on Saturday found themselves treating an additional 770 patients — all dolls and stuffed animals.

The annual Teddy Bear Clinic drew a record turnout of children ages 2 to 12, who brought their dolls, bears and other stuffed animals in need of medical attention.

The event was aimed at making a visit to the hospital less frightening for children.

Children explain their animal’s problems to a receptionist while checking the toy into the hospital. Officials reported stories like “My bear broke his leg by jumping on the bed,” or “My sister bit him.”

The children also helped doctors decide how to treat the toys.

“X-ray is popular,” hospital spokeswoman Crista Madsen Smith said. “Casting was probably the most popular this year, but surgery is always fascinating to kids.”

ILLINOIS

More doubts raised on vitamin E pills

CHICAGO — Large doses of vitamin E — widely touted as an elixir of youth — do not protect against heart attacks and cancer and might raise the risk of heart failure in people with diabetes or clogged arteries, a study found.

The study, published in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association, is the latest to cast doubt on the safety and effectiveness of vitamin E supplements and other antioxidants.

The study was designed to examine whether vitamin E pills protect against heart attacks and cancer. Echoing other recent findings, it found no benefit against those conditions.

But the heart failure finding was unexpected and should prompt more research to confirm the results, said Dr. Eva Lonn, a McMaster University cardiology professor who led the study.

Dr. Lonn said it is not clear how vitamin E pills might be linked with heart failure, but she theorized that high doses might disturb the balance of beneficial, naturally occurring antioxidants.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Ex-lawmaker throws ‘pre-funeral party’

HAMPTON — Former state lawmaker Jane Kelley, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, threw herself a “pre-funeral” party, where guests were asked to donate $25 to her cremation fund.

In exchange, they were excused from attending the wake and funeral and sending flowers when she dies.

NEW MEXICO

State pummeled by winter storm

LAS VEGAS — A slow-moving storm dumped nearly 3 feet of snow on parts of northern and eastern New Mexico, closing major highways, schools and some government offices yesterday.

“I’ve lived here for all my life, and this is one of the worst as far as how quick [snow] accumulates,” said Steve Lucero, owner of a tow truck service at Las Vegas, where 2 feet of snow had fallen since the storm developed Monday.

The heaviest snowfall was 34 inches at Mineral Hill, a small community about 15 miles west of Las Vegas, said Kerry Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. The Sipapu Resort ski area in northern New Mexico reported 28 inches and the Angel Fire Resort ski area reported 18.

Snow also fell across much of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Texline, Texas, measured about a foot of snow by midday, but no roads were closed.

NEW YORK

Famous hawks likely parents-to-be

NEW YORK — The Fifth Avenue nest of New York’s famous hawk couple may be getting crowded.

Pale Male and Lola, two widely watched red-tailed hawks who live in a posh Manhattan aerie, are thought to be protecting eggs that could hatch in about a month, researchers say.

Talk of offspring is the latest chapter in the pair’s saga that gained international attention in December when they were evicted from their ritzy roost.

The nest, which overlooks Central Park on a 12th-story ledge, was removed after residents complained about droppings and half-eaten pigeons littering the building’s entrance.

The controversy pitted bird lovers, including building resident and actress Mary Tyler Moore, against other residents until the Audubon Society brokered a deal to build a tidier nest.

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