Saturday, November 23, 2013
Loud auto crash, anonymous caller bring evacuation at LA airport
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A loud auto crash that some passengers thought was shots being fired and an anonymous call reporting a gunman prompted evacuations Friday night at two terminals of Los Angeles International Airport.
The incidents occurred just three weeks after a gunman killed a security officer and injured three other people at the airport.
Airport police Chief Patrick Gannon said the sound of the crash spurred reports of gunfire among the passengers inside Terminal 5, many of whom ran outside. Police said a driver with a medical emergency caused the crash, which injured three.
In neighboring Terminal 4, airport police received an anonymous call just after the crash reporting a gunman.
Police ordered a complete evacuation of both terminals, but no gunman was found.
Several departing flights were delayed as passengers returned to their gates.
Evacuations lifted on Napa grassfire
(Information in the following story is from: KTVU-TV.)
NAPA, Calif. (AP) — The roughly 50 Napa County residents forced to evacuate because of a grassfire may now return to their homes.
The Napa County Sheriff's Office announced Friday evening that all evacuations and road closures have been lifted.
KTVU-TV reports that the fire is 70 percent contained.
It began on Thursday night and consumed about 300 acres in the community of Soda Canyon about 10 miles north of downtown Napa. Strong wind gusts were reported throughout the region, reaching as high as 55 mph in some areas.
State fire Capt. Amy Head said one outbuilding was destroyed and 20 to 30 homes threatened, but she was not aware of any threat to wineries in the area.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
COLLEGE HATE CRIME
4th student suspended in college hate crime case
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A fourth student has been suspended in connection with an incident at San Jose State University involving alleged hate crimes against a black student.
University President Mohammed Qayoumi announced the suspension in a statement Friday evening but did not name the student.
Three white students — Logan Beaschler and Collin Warren, both 18, and 19-year-old Joseph Bomgardner — face misdemeanor hate crime and battery charges after being accused of harassing their black roommate after they moved into a four-bedroom dormitory suite in August.
According to a police report, they outfitted their dormitory suite with a Confederate flag, barricaded the victim in his room, and placed a U-shaped bicycle lock around his neck and claimed they lost the key.
The victim hasn't been named at his parents' request.
Remains in California are those of missing boys
VICTORVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Officials have confirmed that bones found at a Southern California desert gravesite are those of two boys whose parents also were buried there.
San Bernardino County coroner's officials report Friday that the state DNA lab confirmed the identities of 4-year-old Gianni McStay and 4-year-old Joseph McStay. Authorities haven't said when or how they died.
An investigation began last week after an off-road motorcyclist discovered skeletal remains on the outskirts of Victorville.
Investigators excavated two shallow graves and found the bones of the boys and their parents, Joseph and Summer McStay. The parents' bodies had already been identified through dental records.
The family vanished in February 2010 from their San Diego County home, about 100 miles from the gravesite.
The FBI is helping in the hunt for their killers, but there's no word on a motive.
Unions say BART board contract vote 'illegitimate'
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Representatives of San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit's two largest unions say they will consider legal action after the agency's board approved a new contract minus a key provision.
Members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and Service Employees International Union Local 1021 said Friday that the BART board's vote Thursday to ratify a contract without the Family Medical Leave Act provision was "unprecedented and illegitimate."
The board claims the provision was inadvertently included in the proposed contract due to an error by a temporary employee.
The unions say they ratified the contract in good faith earlier this month. The deal came after strikes in July and October snarled commutes in the region.
Autopsy: TSA officer shot 12 times in LAX attack
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An autopsy shows a security officer killed by a gunman at Los Angeles International Airport had been shot 12 times.
The report released Friday by the Los Angeles County coroner's office said Transportation Security Administration Officer Gerardo Hernandez had 40 bullet fragments in his body that were sent to the FBI.
Coroner's officials said previously the 39-year-old Hernandez died between two and five minutes after being shot on Nov. 1 in Terminal 3.
Authorities say 23-year-old Paul Ciancia was targeting TSA officers in a vendetta against the federal government when he pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and shot Hernandez.
Two other TSA employees and an airline passenger were wounded before airport police shot Ciancia, who has been charged with murder.
Final tally shows Democrat winning Assembly race
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A final vote tally shows Democrat Matt Dababneh (dah-BOB-nay) narrowly winning a special election to fill a Los Angeles-area state Assembly seat, but his Republican opponent said she is considering asking for a recount.
With all votes counted from Tuesday's runoff election, the totals submitted Friday to the secretary of state's office from Los Angeles and Ventura counties showed Dababneh slightly ahead of Susan Shelley.
If the 329-vote margin holds through the official canvass, Democrats will maintain their supermajorities in both legislative chambers.
Shelley did not concede the race and said she will have five days after the official canvass deadline of Dec. 2 to decide whether to challenge the results.
Assembly District 45 covers the southwestern San Fernando Valley and a small part of Ventura County.
HOT SAUCE LAWSUIT
Judge considers closing Sriracha hot sauce factory
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge has declined to act immediately on a request to close a factory that residents say is stinking up their Southern California city with spicy smells produced by the manufacture of the popular hot sauce Sriracha.
City News Service reports that Judge Robert O'Brien did agree Friday to take Irwindale's request for a preliminary injunction to close the plant under consideration. The judge didn't indicate when he might rule.
Huy Fong Foods says there is no reason to close the plant now because harvest season for red-hot Jalapeno peppers, the sauce's key ingredient, has passed.
Residents say when the peppers are ground into sauce during summer months their eyes water, they have trouble breathing and they must stay indoors.
The issue could eventually be resolved with a trial.
DOUBLE INITIAL KILLINGS
Convicted California serial killer gets death
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) — A California judge has sentenced a man to death in the decades-old killings of four women with matching initials.
The Marin Independent Journal reports that Marin County Superior Court Judge Andrew Sweet called 79-year-old Joseph Naso an "evil and disturbed man" as he issued the sentence on Friday. Jurors had recommended the death penalty.
Naso was convicted of fatally strangling four prostitutes in Northern California with matching initials: Roxene Roggasch, Carmen Colon, Pamela Parsons and Tracy Tafoya.
Naso represented himself at trial, often coming off as confused and ornery. He called five witnesses, but did not testify himself.
In his closing arguments, he said he was not a monster and did not kill the women.
FAULTY BLOOD TESTS
OC Crime Lab finds another testing error
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — The Orange County Crime Lab has found another error in testing blood-alcohol levels — two weeks after acknowledging a mistake that could affect hundreds of drunken-driving cases.
The Sheriff's Department says a testing machine had a miniscule calibration error — .001 percent — and the results in 100 cases will be changed. Lt. Jeff Hallock says Friday that nine people will see their blood-alcohol levels bumped above the legal limit.
The error was found during an audit prompted by the discovery this month that another machine had churned out inaccurate results for months.
Prosecutors notified some 900 convicted defendants of the earlier miscalculation.
The lab said only about 20 would see their blood-alcohol results drop below the legal limit. However, defense attorneys say the errors could sow doubt with juries.
MISSING MAN-BLOODY LEASH
Crime witness who vanished on dog walk is found
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police said Friday a key witness in a burglary case who vanished while walking his dog has been found.
A police statement said 22-year-old Darwin Vela was located in the LAPD's Pacific Division. Investigators were trying to determine what happened to him.
There was no immediate word on his condition.
Vela was supposed to be in court on Thursday to testify at a preliminary hearing for a man charged with burglarizing the home of the ex-girlfriend of actor Nicolas Cage.
Vela vanished Tuesday while walking his dog. His fiancé said the dog later returned home with blood on its leash.
Tesla CEO expects feds to clear Model S in fires
DETROIT (AP) — The leader of Tesla Motors is confident that his Model S electric car is safe and will be cleared by a federal investigation into two recent fires.
CEO Elon Musk says the fires are extreme cases that happened after the cars hit road debris at high speeds on two U.S. highways.
He says in an interview with The Associated Press that he doesn't expect a recall, and his engineers are not working on any changes to the $70,000 cars.
The fires happened near Seattle and Nashville during the past two months. In each case the batteries caught fire after the drivers hit large metal objects in the road.
Musk says the cars are safe because no one was hurt in either case or in a more serious crash in Mexico.
US-FAMOUS MONKEY DIES
Banana Sam, famous monkey, dies at SF Zoo
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Banana Sam, a monkey who gained fame when he was stolen from the San Francisco Zoo two years ago, has died at the age of 19.
Zoo officials say the 2-pound squirrel monkey passed away Thursday of heart disease. A squirrel monkey's life span is 20 years.
On the night of Dec. 29, 2011, someone apparently cut into the animal's cage and kidnapped Banana Sam, generating worldwide news attention. A $5,000 reward was offered for the monkey's return.
Two days later, Banana Sam was found in the Stern Grove neighborhood of San Francisco, about a mile away from the zoo.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the monkey has since lived in a faux-tropical landscape where he faded from the media spotlight.
Banana Sam's kidnapper was never discovered.