- The Washington Times - Monday, January 26, 2009


Prison incident hospitalizes 8

COLEMAN | Eight male inmates were taken to a hospital after a “large-scale fight” Sunday at a federal prison northwest of Orlando, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons said.

The fight broke out in the recreation yard serving a high-security prison building at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex, spokeswoman Traci Billingsley said. No staff workers were seriously injured and the condition of the inmates was unknown, Miss Billingsley told the Associated Press.

Asked later Sunday about the injuries, she told AP that “one is gunshot, but I don’t know about the others.” She said she had no further details about the fighting and how it began.

The Orlando Regional Medical Center said seven people were being treated there. It was not clear where the eighth inmate was taken, and hospital officials gave no details on the extent of the inmates’ injuries.

The prison has four units that house low-, medium- and high-security inmates.


Wake shooting kills 2, injures 7

WICHITA | Two people were killed and seven wounded in a shooting during a wake at a house in Wichita, police said.

Police said they were looking for a green pickup seen leaving the scene Saturday evening, but they have no suspects.

Sgt. Ronald Hunt said all the victims were adults. One of the wounded was in critical condition.

Police said the shooting occurred on the ninth day of a wake for an elderly woman buried earlier Saturday.

Neighbor John Kemp said the woman whom the wake was for and her husband had run a restaurant in the neighborhood. That restaurant was closed Sunday.

Deputy Police Chief Robert Lee could not say how many shooters were involved, but said some of the shots came from outside.


Man charged with killing 3 relatives

CINCINNATI | A man has been charged with killing his adoptive father, stepmother and 13-year-old stepsister, who managed to call 911 during the shootings in a home near Cincinnati, authorities said.

Timothy Sturgel, 26, was arrested Saturday in the shooting deaths of Jerry Sturgel, 51; Mary Sturgel, 40, and 13-year-old Emily Hurst. He is being held in the Hamilton County Justice Center and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on three charges of murder.

Authorities were called to the house in Colerain Township by Emily, who told a 911 dispatcher that her stepbrother had shot her stepfather.

In the taped call Saturday morning, Emily screamed, “He’s coming. My mom … ,” before the line went dead.

Police found the man outside the house, which had been set on fire. Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Barnett said Timothy Sturgel was suspected of setting the blaze.

Mr. and Mrs. Sturgel were found dead, and Emily later died at a hospital, authorities said.


Suspicious fire damages 15 homes

COATESVILLE | The latest in a string of suspicious fires in this Philadelphia suburb tore through a block of row houses, damaging 15 homes, leaving several dozen people homeless and prompting city officials to declare a state of emergency.

At least 30 arsons have been reported since the beginning of 2008, about half of them in the past three weeks. Police said the blazes may be part of a gang initiation, but there was no clear information who was committing the crimes or why.

The latest fire was reported late Saturday at the rear of one house and quickly spread to adjacent homes in the Chester County community.

“This is an arson, no question about it,” City Manager Harry Walker said Sunday.

The emergency declaration gives the city powers to deal with the situation without worrying about the budget, such as boarding up the buildings, assigning police to protect them and helping the families involved, he said.

The fire came despite stepped-up police patrols and investigative help from county, state and federal agencies. Three people were arrested in December.


‘Hoax device’ shuts down border bridge

LAREDO | A U.S.-Mexico border bridge was shut down for about two hours after authorities responded to a report of a suspicious package and later discovered it was a “hoax device.”

Authorities said a transient spotted the package near a trash bin under the bridge on Saturday morning and notified Border Patrol agents.

The device could have been planted to make people think it was a bomb, Franceska Perot, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told the Associated Press.

“Or it could be that it was some kind of training device,” Miss Perot said. “It could have been some law-enforcement entity used it as a training device and threw it away. We have to treat it as a threat and investigate it to its fullest.”

Laredo police used a robot to examine the package. The bomb-defusing robot shot the package with a high-powered water cannon, blowing it to pieces and exposing the device inside, said police spokesman Jose E. Baeza. It did not detonate.

“When we got up close, we realized it was a hoax device,” Miss Perot told the Laredo Morning Times for its Sunday online editions. “In other words, it did not contain explosives. It was basically road flares.”

ATF will conduct an investigation to find who is responsible.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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