- - Sunday, October 31, 2010


Death ruled suicide in police shootout

SAN DIEGO | The female companion of a suspect who committed suicide after the killing of a San Diego police officer was also fatally shot before police stormed their barricaded bedroom, authorities said Sunday.

Holim Lee’s girlfriend, 27-year-old Lucky Xayasene, died of a gunshot wound to the head, the San Diego medical examiner reported on the website. The death was ruled a homicide. Police have not specified who fired the shot.

A medical examiner’s investigator told the San Diego Union Tribune his agency would not determine who fired the fatal round. Generally, ballistics tests are conducted by the San Diego police laboratory. Both Mr. Lee and Miss Xayasene died sometime Wednesday, according to the medical examiner.

The bodies were found alone in the apartment Thursday next to several guns, and some eight hours after gunfire broke out with police and U.S. marshals serving a pair of warrants for Lee, a former seaman with the U.S. Coast Guard. Police Officer Christopher Wilson was fatally shot during the shootout.


Traveler delays flight with bomb claim

DENVER | Police say a man who just missed his flight out of Denver got angry and claimed there was a bomb in his luggage, which was already aboard.

Police say a search of the plane turned up no explosives, and the SkyWest Airlines flight took off an hour late for its destination, Salt Lake City. The incident occurred Saturday. Officials say the plane carrying 54 passengers and crew was on the ground when the alleged threat was made.

Sergei Berejnoi, 49, of Sandy, Utah, was arrested on suspicion of endangering public transportation. Police say he was taken to the Denver jail.


Countdown starts on last Discovery mission

CAPE CANAVERAL | NASA’s countdown clocks are ticking toward the final launch of space shuttle Discovery.

The countdown began Sunday afternoon, two days late, after managers declared the shuttle leaks repaired the ship ready to blast off Wednesday. A pair of gas leaks resulted in back-to-back launch delays for Discovery.

Forecasters put the odds of good weather at 70 percent for the 3:52 p.m. liftoff.

Discovery is making its last mission trip to the International Space Station. Only one other shuttle launch remains on NASA’s official schedule, in late February, which would end 30 years of shuttle flight.


2 Conrad Black convictions tossed

CHICAGO | An appeals court in Chicago has reversed two fraud convictions for former media mogul Conrad Black but upheld one fraud and one obstruction of justice conviction.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling curtailing so-called “honest services” laws means the two fraud convictions had to be tossed. The government had conceded the two convictions rested partly on the idea that Black deprived his former company of his faithful services as a corporate officer.

Black once controlled a media empire that included the Chicago Sun-Times, the Daily Telegraph of London and community papers in the U.S. and Canada. After serving two years of a 6½-year sentence, he was recently freed from a Florida federal prison pending the appeal.


Boardwalk bustling as gambling slips

ATLANTIC CITY | Finally, there’s some good news for Atlantic City after four years of slumping revenue: Even though fewer people are coming to the nation’s second-largest gambling resort, they’re spending more cash on things that don’t involve gambling.

Spending is up for hotel rooms, meals, concerts and nightclubs even as the gambling take has dropped for the New Jersey resort’s 11 casinos. Last year, at least 30,300,000 visitors were counted in the resort city, down about 4,000,000 from 2006.

A study by the Spectrum Gaming Group, a casino consulting firm, says money lost at slot machines and card and roulette tables is down 23 percent since 2007. But gamblers’ spending on hotel rooms is up 21 percent and food and drink is up 6 percent.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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