- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2008


Man fatally shot at Scientology facility

LOS ANGELES | A security guard fatally shot a man wielding two samurai swords Sunday on the grounds of a Scientology building in Hollywood, police said.

The man approached three guards about noon in the parking lot of the Scientology Celebrity Centre, Deputy Chief Terry S. Hara said.

The man was “close enough to hurt them” when one of the guards shot him, Chief Hara said.

Detectives were questioning the guard to figure out the swordsman’s motive and determine whether the shooting was justified.

Surveillance tape showed the man arriving at the center’s parking lot in a red convertible, then approaching the guards with a sword in each hand, Chief Hara said.

The Celebrity Centre includes a seven-story Norman-revival landmark that towers over the Hollywood freeway and used to be a residential hotel for movie stars.

The Church of Scientology was established in 1945 by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. It teaches that technology can expand the mind and help solve problems and claims 10 million members around the world, including celebrity devotees Tom Cruise and John Travolta.


Game show winner files for bankruptcy

ATLANTA | Only months after winning and giving away $1 million on a television game show, state Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox and her husband have filed for bankruptcy.

Mrs. Cox said she and her husband, John, decided on Nov. 17 to file for bankruptcy because of losses incurred in his home-building business. She had no role in the business but was a co-signer on loans for it.

“The collapse of the home-building market has been well-documented and small builders, like my husband, have been hit especially hard. This was a gut-wrenching decision, but in the end, we felt that we had no choice,” Mrs. Cox said in a statement through a spokesman.

The Coxes filed under Chapter 7 of the federal bankruptcy code.

In the summer, Mrs. Cox won $1 million on the game show “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?” and donated the winnings to the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf in Clarkston, the Georgia School for the Deaf in northwestern Georgia and the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon.


Gunman hurts 3 at church service

CLIFTON | A gunman drove across the country to confront his estranged wife, then killed her in a church vestibule as Sunday services let out, authorities said. Two other people were injured in the attack, which sent churchgoers scrambling for safety.

The gunman fled, and police were searching for him and warned people that he was thought to be armed.

About 200 people were attending services inside St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church in Clifton when the gunman opened fire before noon. Churchgoers described bedlam after the shots rang out.

Police Detective Capt. Robert Rowan identified the slain woman as Reshma James, 24, and the gunman as Joseph M. Pallipurath, 27, of Sacramento, Calif.

Police did not identify the other two victims, but Capt. Rowan told the Star-Ledger of Newark that all three were shot in the head and that the other two, a 47-year-old woman and 23-year-old man, were in critical condition.


UPenn. student a Rhodes scholar

PHILADELPHIA | A University of Pennsylvania student who organized an exhibit about Lenape Indians living quietly in the state is among this year’s winners of Rhodes Scholarships.

Abigail P. Seldin, of Tierra Verde, Fla., curated the exhibit “Fulfilling a Prophecy: The Past and Present of the Lenape in Pennsylvania,” which opened at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in September.

She is one of 32 men and women from across the U.S. to win the prestigious scholarships for study at England’s Oxford University. The winners’ names were announced early Sunday. The students will enter Oxford in October.

Among the other Rhodes winners is Florida State University safety Myron Rolle; Virginia Military Institute Cadet 1st Class Gregory E. Lippiatt; Lucas M. Brown of Leesburg, Va., a senior at Oberlin College in Ohio; Abdulrahman M. El-Sayed, a 2007 University of Michigan graduate; David L.V. Bauer, a student at the City College of New York; and Malorie Snider, a senior at Harvard.


Astronauts try to work out kinks

HOUSTON | Astronauts tinkered Sunday with a troublesome piece of equipment designed to help convert urine and sweat into drinkable water, which is vital to allowing the International Space Station crew to double to six.

Station commander Michael Fincke and Space Station Endeavour astronaut Donald Pettit changed how a centrifuge is mounted in a urine processor, which is part of the newly delivered $154 million water-recovery system. The centrifuge is a spinning device that helps separate the water from urine.

It was on rubber grommets to reduce vibrations, and Mission Control asked Mr. Fincke to remove them and just bolt the piece down.

“We’re very hopeful for this, and if not, we have a few other tricks up our sleeves,” Mr. Fincke said from the space station after the task was finished.


Plane crash kills three

MARSHFIELD | A small airplane crashed in the backyard of a house in Marshfield, killing the three people on board the aircraft, authorities said.

No one on the ground was injured.

Officials said the plane had caught fire after the crash late Saturday and burned the back wall of the house.

Marshfield Fire Department Deputy Chief Roy Dolens told WSAW-TV that it wasn’t clear whether the pilot was trying to land at the Marshfield airport or whether the plane had just taken off.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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