- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 2, 2006

ARIZONA

Gunman wounds 2 in parking lot

PHOENIX - A gunman wounded two workers outside an office yesterday morning, and police arrested a suspect who recently worked in the building as a security guard.

Michael Blas Rivera surrendered at his apartment complex, about six miles from the Pitney Bowes office where the shooting occurred, police said. Mr. Rivera, 31, had worked at the office as a security guard but recently quit.

Detective Stacie Derge said the attacker pulled up in a car in the office’s parking lot, exited the vehicle and fired a semiautomatic rifle at two persons outside.

The victims, a contracted security guard and a Pitney Bowes employee, were taken to the hospital in critical condition. One was in stable condition by the afternoon and the other was undergoing surgery, officials said.

NORTH CAROLINA

Chemistry lab fire destroys school

GIBSONVILLE - A fire that began in a chemistry lab destroyed a high school, leaving more than 1,000 students without a school building for the rest of the year.

A teacher spotted the fire about 2 p.m. Wednesday at Eastern Guilford High School and tried to put it out with an extinguisher, but then pulled the alarm. The 1,060-student school was evacuated but was a total loss.

Superintendent Terry Grier met Wednesday night with school officials to decide what to do. School administrators talked about space at other nearby high schools but did not decide where the students will go for the rest of the year. The school board planned to hold an emergency meeting today.

CALIFORNIA

Charges filed in deadly wildfire

RIVERSIDE — Authorities yesterday filed murder and arson charges carrying the death penalty against a man suspected of setting a Southern California wildfire last week that killed five firefighters.

The suspect, Raymond Lee Oyler, 36, already was under arrest on suspicion of setting two wildfires in the summer. Officials were investigating whether he was involved with more than three dozen fires since May.

Prosecutors charged Mr. Oyler with five counts of murder, 11 counts of arson and 10 counts of use of an incendiary device. The charges include seven fires in June, one in July, one in September and two in October.

Mr. Oyler appeared in court in handcuffs and a jail jumpsuit as his attorney denied all charges. He was held without bail.

COLORADO

Evangelical leader denies sex charges

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Rev. Ted Haggard resigned as president of the influential National Association of Evangelicals yesterday after being accused of paying for sex with a man.

Mr. Haggard, who has been a leading opponent of the drive for same-sex “marriage,” also stepped aside as head of his 14,000-member New Life Church while a church panel investigates, saying he could “not continue to minister under the cloud created by the accusations.”

The investigation was launched after a 49-year-old man told a Denver radio station that Mr. Haggard paid him to have sex nearly every month for three years.

Mr. Haggard, a married father of five, denied the accusations in an interview with KUSA-TV late Wednesday: “Never had a gay relationship with anybody, and I’m steady with my wife, I’m faithful to my wife.”

FLORIDA

Performer’s stunt results in arrest

KEY WEST — He escaped from a straitjacket, but not the long arm of the law.

Michael Anthony Patrick, a 55-year-old street performer, was in custody, charged with negligence Wednesday after his act instigated a massive harbor search.

Authorities said the longtime Key West performer regularly escapes from a straitjacket in his act at the nightly “Sunset Celebration.”

On Tuesday, he jumped into Key West Harbor and disappeared, police said. The stunt prompted police and fire department dive teams to scour the bottom of the bay. Detectives discovered Wednesday that he was alive.

Police estimated the search cost about $25,000.

HAWAII

Ballots flown to isolated voters

WAILUKU — About 80 people isolated by a damaged bridge and precarious roads on Maui will be voting early tomorrow in the general election using ballots flown in by helicopter, officials said.

The bridge to remote Kipahulu was damaged in earthquakes on Oct. 15.

INDIANA

Girl, 10, dies from rabid bite

INDIANAPOLIS — A 10-year-old girl who was diagnosed with the state’s first confirmed case of rabies in nearly a half-century died yesterday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Shannon Carroll had been bitten by a rabid bat in June and had been hospitalized since early October, said Jo Ann Klooz, spokeswoman for Riley Hospital for Children.

More than 30 of the girl’s relatives, friends and classmates were offered injections to prevent the spread of the disease. Some parents whose children attend the girl’s school in Bourbon, 25 miles south of South Bend, worried about exposure because rabies can stay dormant for more than a year.

NEW JERSEY

3 stowaways caught, 1 drowns

ELIZABETH — Three stowaways who boarded a freighter in Panama were caught as they ran from a ship moored at Port Elizabeth. A fourth drowned after jumping into the water to try to elude authorities.

The men, whose identities were not released, got off the freighter Hanjin Wilmington on Wednesday afternoon, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the seaport.

The boat was moored at the APM Terminal when the four men tried to run from the terminal grounds, Mr. Coleman said. APM security and Port Authority police responded, and quickly caught three of them. The fourth jumped into the water, Mr. Coleman said.

PENNSYLVANIA

Letter carrier attacked by squirrel

OIL CITY — Letter carriers occasionally have to deal with angry dogs or maybe even a spider’s nest in a mailbox, but a mean squirrel?

Barb Dougherty, a 30-year Postal Service employee, said she was attacked and bitten Monday by a squirrel while delivering mail in Oil City. She said the animal jumped onto her and ran up her leg and onto her back.

“I eventually got a hold of the tail and pulled it off me,” she said. “No one was home at the house where I was delivering the mail, but the neighbor lady heard me screaming and came over.”

An ambulance took her to a hospital, where she was treated for cuts and scratches. The squirrel was killed with a BB gun and sent to a lab to be tested for rabies. She was given the first series of rabies shots as a precaution.

SOUTH CAROLINA

3 bodies found in drainage pipe

COLUMBIA — Police found the bodies of two men and one woman inside a large drainage pipe near a public housing complex early yesterday and said all appeared to have been killed during the night.

The woman was stabbed to death and the two men were fatally shot, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said.

The woman, Charlene Octavia Yarbrough, 19, lived in an apartment a few hundred yards from where the bodies were discovered. Her relationship with the men, Marcus Antonio Wilson, 26, and Marquis Mitchell, 25, was not clear, authorities said.

A 24-year-old man, Charles Gamble, was questioned by investigators, but police said he was not a suspect.

VERMONT

Teen accused in needle stabbings

ST. ALBANS — A 16-year-old boy accused of jabbing more than a dozen students with a hypodermic needle he found in the street was charged Wednesday with aggravated assault, authorities said.

Justin Darrah, a sophomore at Bellows Free Academy, was cited on 13 counts and ordered to appear in court Thursday, Officer Frank McCarty said. He is being prosecuted as an adult.

The attacks last week at the school were apparently random and not the result of any grudge or ill will, said Officer McCarty, who is the resource officer for the 1,236-student high school.

The students, who remain in school, were advised to get tested for hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases.

From wire dispatches and staff report

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