May 2, 2008

Man dies after jumping from Disneyland hotel

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday a man jumped from the 14th floor of the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Calif., police said.

The body of the man, thought to be in his 30s or 40s, laid below the south tower of the hotel at 1127 Magic Way, said Anaheim police Sgt. Rick Martinez. Martinez added that officers arrived at the scene at 11:04 a.m.

Reuters reported Martinez said that the man committed suicide. Martinez said the man left evidence suggesting so, but would not elaborate if a note was left or not.

“He was sharing a room with another male associate and for some reason he went out on the balcony and all the indications are that it was an intentional act, a suicide,? Martinez said. (Reuters)

No other information was given about the case. The Disneyland Hotel has almost 1,000 rooms in three towers that look over the park.

Blast hits Yemen mosque

The New York Times reported Friday a blast shook a mosque in the city of Saada in northwest Yemen, near the border with Saudi Arabia, local officials said.

Officials said the cause of the blast came from a car bomb, but did not express how many people were killed. However, they did say that most of those who died were worshippers leaving from Friday prayers.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the region is known for violence from Zaydi rebels.

Since 2004 Zaydi rebels have carried out a religious movement motivated by the Shiite branch of Islam. In addition, Sunni extremist also operate in the area, where journalists are not allowed to enter.

Saudi Arabia claims that the Zaydi rebels are being assisted by Iran, which Iran has denied.

On the other hand, some analysts have claimed that Saudi Arabia is helping the tribesmen in the area in order to keep leverage over Yemen.

The BBC reported Abdulmalik al-Houthi, the leader of a Shia rebellion, has denied responsibility for the blast.

“We deny completely any role in this incident,? al-Houthi said. “It is not part of our ethics to target any mosque or any worshippers at all.? (BBC)

The Yemeni government says that al-Houthi’s rebels want to overthrow the government in the region and impose Shia religious law. However, the rebels say they are only defending their community against discrimination.

A BBC correspondent in Yemen said the mosque is often used by members of security forces, making it a potential target.

April 29, 2008

Ex-UCLA worker indicted for celebrity snooping

The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday a former administrative specialist at the UCLA Medical Center was indicted by a federal grand jury for probing into medical records of celebrities patients at the center and selling the information to a national media outlet, according to documents unsealed today.

Lawanda Jackson, 49, was indicted on the charge of obtaining health information of celebrities for commercial gain on April 9. The indictment came days after the Los Angeles Times reported about snooping at UCLA.

Jackson had an agreement to give information on celebrity patients in exnchange for money, the indictment said. Checks were made to her husband, Victor Jackson, and she at least received $4,600 from the outlet.

Representatives for the actress Farrah Fawcett claim Jackson leaked the actress’ personal information about her battle with cancer to the National Enquirer. Jackson would not comment to the Los Angeles Times when they asked her if she had been involved with the National Enquirer.

In addition, the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that Jackson snooped into the private medical records of California First Lady Maria Shriver, as well as others. However, Jackson denies these claims.

“Clearly I made a mistake; let’s put it like that,? Jackson said. “I didn’t leak anything or anything like that. It wasn’t for money or anything. It was just looking.? (Los Angeles Times)

The Associated Press reported Jackson worked at UCLA Medical Center from 2006 until she quit, upon leaning she was going to be fired, on May 21, 2007.

“We are deeply troubled that a former employee may have illegally received payments from a news organization in exchange for providing personal medical information,? UCLA Hospital System CEO and Interim Vice Chancellor Dr. David T. Feinberg said. “Meanwhile, we continue to take steps to improve our staff training and information systems to further strengthen the confidentiality of patient records.? (AP)

If convicted, Jackson could face up to 10 years in prison. Her arraignment is scheduled for June 9.

April 18, 2008

Orioles cruise past Yankees

The Associated Press reported Friday the Baltimore Orioles put together a seven-run sixth inning to beat the New York Yankees 8-2.

Daniel Cabrera (1-0) guided the Orioles to the victory by taking a four-hitter into the seventh inning. In addition, Jay Payton and Melvin Mora both had two RBIs in the sixth inning to help gave the Orioles a huge lead.

Yankees starter Phil Hughes had only given up one run before the Orioles slammed Hughes for 7 runs in the sixth inning that saw 11 men step up to the plate. Baltimore got seven hits with all of them being singles.

Nick Markakis started the sixth with a single that was followed by singles by Kevin Millar and Luke Scott. Aubrey Huff popped out and Adam Jones followed with an infield single that drove in a run.

Orioles’ second baseman Brian Roberts grounded out, but Melvin Mora came up with a two-run single off of Yankees’ reliever LaTroy Hawkins. Markikas came up to bat again and hit another single.

Hughes (0-3) gave up a career-high five runs and has lost his last three starts in a row. reported the Yankees dropped the opener of a 10-game, 11-day road trip.

Hughes is hyped to be New York’s top pitching prospect, but has failed to live up to the status.

Chad Moeller hit his first homerun of the season and had two RBIs.

April 17, 2008

Praying passenger removed from flight

The Associated Press reported Thursday a man was removed from a plane after he went to the back of the plane to pray, while the plane was at John F. Kennedy International Airport, a witness and United Airlines said.

An Orthodox Jewish man, who had a black hat, long black hair and a long beard moved to the back of the plane where he began to pray. The Wednesday Night flight was being boarded and the flight attendants told the man to sit down, fellow passenger Ori Brafman said.

Two friends of the man said that he could not be interrupted because he was in the middle of praying, Brafman said.

By the time the man stopped praying guards had come to take him off the flight. The man said he wasn’t being rude and only wanted to finish his ritual, Brafman added.

Robin Urbanski, a spokeswoman for United Airlines, said the man was taken off the plane, but later put on a flight for San Francisco the following morning.

The New York Times reported Urbanski said that flights cannot depart until all passengers are in their seats and that passengers must follow the flight crew’s orders.

“Even when the doors of the plane are not closed, if the crew says you should take your seat, you have to, so they can proceed with preparing the flight for takeoff.? Urbanski said. (New York Times)

Ephraim Sherman, a Torah student at the Chabad at New York University, a Hasidic group, said that the man was probably saying the pray of the Amidah. Sherman said that it is an all-encompassing prayer that religious Jews say three times a day. He went on to add that the prayer lasts usually around three to four minutes and is not to be interrupted.

April 13, 2008

Dodgers defeat Padres 11-1

The Associated Press reported Saturday the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres 11-1 with the help of homeruns by Rafael Furcal and Andre Eithier at Dodger Stadium.

Furcal and Matt Kemp both hit their first homeruns of the season, while Eithier went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer to help the Dodgers snap a four-game losing streak.

Derek Lowe (1-0) took the mound for the Dodgers and allowed one run and four hits in over eight innings of work. In addition, Lowe struck out six batters and did not give up a walk. Lowe improved his record against the Padres to 4-0 at Dodger Stadium, but is 0-3 in seven starts at Petco Park.

“The last couple of years has been kind of tough on him with the run support from our offense, but tonight we gave him a little breathing room and he just took care of business, Dodger catch Russell Martin said. “He was locating really well, got a lot of ground balls and mixed a couple of Ks with his slider.? (AP)

Chris Young (1-1) pitched for the Padres, but did not fair as well as Lowe. In three-plus innings of work, Young gave up seven runs, seven hits and four walks. Young only retired nine of the 21 batters he faced and only one of his runs was unearned. However, it was a result from his own fielding error.

Furcal started off the scoring for the Dodgers with a leadoff homerun for the Dodgers. Later on in the inning, Martin added another run with an RBI single.

The Dodgers increased their lead to 5-1 in the third inning when rookie Blake DeWitt drove in two runs with the first of his two doubles.

The Los Angeles Times reported the Dodgers had season highs in runs (11), homers (three) and hits (13) to help their ailing offense.

By the end of the game, every Los Angeles starter reached base at least once and eight of nine of them contributed to either a run or an RBI.

“You know we were too good to continue not scoring runs,? Dodger manager Joe Torre said. “When Furcal all of a sudden tied the game up, it certainly puts us in a better frame of mind.? (Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers and Padres will finish their series tomorrow at Dodger Stadium.

April 9, 2008

Protesters force torch to be re-routed

The New York Times reported Wednesday the Olympic torch was re-routed, protected by security and evacuated to the airport, after protesters tried to extinguish the flame.

The torch made its only North American stop in San Francisco and was met by thousands of protesters who waiting hours to see the torch.

However, officials change the route of the torch from the announced Waterfront Avenue to Central Avenue. The torch proceeded to go on a stop-and-go path until it hit the Golden Gate Bridge.

San Francisco authorities took elaborate precaution due to problems in London and Paris, where protesters made the situations messy. Authorities hired hundreds of law enforcement officials and set up miles of barricades to protect the flame from protesters.

“It was a simple decision,? San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said. “Do we cancel the event or do we change the event to assure the safety and security of the torchbearers.? (New York Times)

After the torch passed through San Francisco it hopped on a plane to Buenos Aires, which is the next stop on the torch’s international journey.

The Los Angeles Times reported at least three torchbearers dropped out of running due to fears of violence.

On the other hand, some protesters were angered by the re-routing of the torch. The protesters were there to demonstrate against China’s actions in Tibet and Darfur, as well as some other issues.

Jerry Fowler, president of the Save Darfur Coalition, said the protesters still got their point across about their displeasure with China. He went on to say that even though the torch was hidden for the day, China cannot hide their “torturous policy of aiding and abetting genocide.? (Los Angeles Times)

“The city should have made known the torch route rather than be deceptive,? Yan Ko, a San Francisco retail worker, said. (Los Angeles Times)

April 4, 2008

Montgomery named California head coach

The Associated Press reported Friday the University of California in Berkeley named former Stanford coach Mike Montgomery its new coach.

Montgomery had been the coach of Stanford for 18 years before he went to coach the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. However, he has been out of coaching since August 2006.

In his final 10 years at Stanford, Montgomery led the Cardinals to the tournament every year. In all, he led the Cardinals to 12 tournament appearances in 18 seasons. His record against California is 25-12.

Montgomery will lead a talented squad, depending if Cal’s top scorer and rebounder Ryan Anderson returns for another season. Anderson said he would declare for the NBA draft, but would not sign with an agent. By not signing with an agent, Anderson would be eligible to return to college if he decides to.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Montgomery replaces Ben Braun, who was fired March 26 after finishing ninth in the Pac-10. Braun had spent 12 seasons as the Golden Bears’ head coach and amassed a record of 219-154.

“It’ll be a shock if they don’t do well,? Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “Montgomery could take four guys from down at the Boy’s Club and do pretty well, and I think Cal was going to be good anyway.? (San Francisco Chronicle)

Montgomery is from Long Beach, Calif. and got a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Cal State Long Beach. He earned a master’s in physical education from Colorado State in 1976. He lives with his wife, Sarah, in Menlo Park, Calif.

Yankees win first series of the year

The Associated Press reported Thursday the New York Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 in New York.

Yankee outfielder Bobby Abreu hit a single in the eighth inning that broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Yankees their first series win of the new season.

New York was led by a strong performance from Phil Hughes with Joba Chamberlain (1-0) pitching the eighth inning before closer Mariano Rivera recorded his second save.

“It was just like the first game here,? Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “Tight ballgame. You’ve got to be able to win some of them. I thought we left all those tight games behind us last year, but I guess not.? (AP)

Dustin McGowan held the Yankees scoreless until he gave up two runs from a Johnny Damon score on a wild pitch and a Jason Giambi sacrifice fly.

McGowan and Hughes both gave up two runs, four hits and four strikeouts in six innings of work. Both of whom, are playing their first major league games on the starting day rosters.

The New York Times reported in the series Abreu was 5 for 10 with two walks.

“I had a pretty good spring and I’m feeling good at the plate,? Abreu said. “It is very important to me to start the season hitting well.? (New York Times)

Melky Cabrera started the eighth inning with a single against Brian Wolf, with Scott Downs coming in to replace the Blue Jay reliever. The next two hitters bunted one of whom was Johnny Damon, who got on base by a Downs’ error.

Abreu came up after a Jeter sacrifice and slapped the ball into centerfield.

The Blue Jays scored in the fourth when shortstop David Eckstein doubled down the left-field line and Alex Rios drove in the run with a single. Hughes struck out the next two batters Vernon Wells and Frank Thomas after they both went to full counts.

“You know it’s going to be a battle when you face these guys,? Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “They hold runners on, they do a lot of the little things, they don’t walk people. So you have to beat thme with quality at-bats. Our guys kept at them, kept at them, and we finally scratched a few runs across.? (New York Times)

March 29, 2008

UCLA defeats Xavier to reach third straight Final Four

The Associated Press reported Saturday UCLA is headed to their third straight Final Four after they defeated Xavier 76-57 in Phoenix.

The Bruins (35-3) were led by freshman Kevin Love, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds on 7-of-11 shots from the floor. Afterwards, Love was named the most outstanding player of the West Regional.

“He looks like he’s 25 years old when he’s playing,? Xavier coach Sean Miller said of Love, who is 19. (AP)

The victory sends UCLA to their record 18th overall trip to the Final Four. This streak of Final Four appearances is the longest streak for the Bruins since the John Wooden era that saw nine straight trips and a 10th consecutive trip in 1976 under Wooden’s successor, Gene Bartow.

UCLA’s defense held the Musketeers (30-7) to a shooting percentage of 36.2 percent from the floor.

“We can play better than we did today,? Miller said. “I couldn’t be more proud and really at ease right now because I really felt we went about as far as we could and lost to a great team.? (AP)

The Los Angeles Times reported UCLA will face the winner of the Memphis-Texas game next Saturday in San Antonio.

The game was close, but things slipped away from the Musketeers with 14:55 left to play. Love hit a three-point shot to put the Bruins up 48-28.

Mbah a Moute contributed to the Bruins scoring with 13 points and 13 rebounds. UCLA guard Darren Collison also had 19 points.

March 16, 2008

Crane collapse kills 4 in New York

Four people died Saturday in New York City as a crane standing 19 stories along a skyscraper fell across a city block, the Associated Press reported.

As the crane fell, it fell into pieces destroying a four-story townhouse and damaging five other buildings. Four people, who were believed to have been construction workers, died and 10 others were injured, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The collapse occurred on Manhattan’s East Side and left cars overturned and crush. Rubble amassed over several stories high and a huge dust crowd rose over the neighborhood.

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said the rescue has been “a painstaking hand operation, as we try to remove the rubble so we don’t cause further collapse or injure anyone who may still be in that building.? He added that the operation would continue throughout the night if needed. (AP)

The crane had completed 19 of the planned 43-story condominium before it collapsed. The crane was scheduled to extend Sunday so it could start on a new story, the owner of the construction company said.

“It was an absolute freak accident,? Stephen Kaplan, an owner of the Reliance Construction Group, said. “All the piece of steel had to do was fall slightly left or right, and nothing would have happened.? (AP)

Instead, the piece of steel fell and cut one of the ties that held it to the building, Kaplan said. In addition, Kaplan said the company subcontracted the crane work to different companies and was not in charge of it.

The BBC reported Bloomberg said three of the people injured are in serious condition.

“Our thoughts go to the families,? Bloomberg said. “I hope we will not find other victims.? (BBC)

Maureen Shey was in her apartment opposite of the under-construction building when the crane fell. She said there was a load roar and bricks flew everywhere. Luckily, the crane missed her building.

March 12, 2008

Five ejected in Yankees-Rays brawl

The New York Times reported the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays scuffled Wednesday during a spring training game at Al Land Field.

Over the weekend the two squads had an altercation when Elliott Johnson of the Rays broke the wrist of Yankee’s catcher Francisco Cervelli, after a collision at home plate.

The bad blood boiled over into the Wednesday spring training between the clubs that saw three players and two coaches ejected.

“Hopefully, it’s under the rug,? Tampa Bay outfielder Jonny Gomes said. “But to tell you the truth, I kind of doubt it. I just hope nobody gets hurt.? (New York Times)

Yankee’s starting pitcher Heath Phillips was the first one to be ejected after he his Ray’s third baseman Evan Longoria with a 1-1 fastball. The pitch was high, but merely tapped Longoria.

“It just barely hit me,? Longoria said. “I didn’t feel like it was intentional.? (New York Times)

Then in the top of the second inning, Shelley Duncan of the Yankees led off with a ball hit towards Longoria. Longoria misplayed the ball and Duncan rounded towards Ray’s second baseman Akinori Iwamura. The ball beat Duncan and he decided to slide hard into Iwamura.

Iwamura was not hurt, but Duncan was immediately ejected from the game. After the tackle, Gomes ran at Duncan and tackled him to the ground and then was ejected himself. Both benches cleared before the umpires were able to restore order.

The Associated Press reported the two managers ejected were Yankee’s third base coach Bobby Meacham and hitting coach Kevin Long.

Before the game, both Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon and Yankee manager Joe Girardi met with the umpires. Both teams were told that the umpires would have little tolerance.

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said that he did not think Phillips should have been ejected because he did not believe the throwing at Longoria to be intentional. Posada, however, did not defend Duncan’s actions.

“You’ve got to ask Shelley,? Posada said. “I’ve got nothing to say.? (New York Times)

March 8, 2008

Rodriguez and Posada limited in duties

The New York Times reported Friday that Yankee’s third baseman Alex Rodriguez and catcher Jorge Posada will be limited in their spring training playing time due to injuries.

Both players shared the designated hitter spot because of injuries. Rodriguez and Posada both have sore lat muscles in the upper back under the arm. The injury restricts both of them from throwing, but allows them to bat.

“A lot of people are going to go through some arm issues in spring training,? Manager Joe Girardi said. “For me, it’s better to be safe than sorry.? (New York Times)

In the Friday game against the Houston Astros, Rodriguez went 1 for 2 and Posada 0 for 3. Neither player complained of any problems during the game. Girardi said both players should be able to return to the field on Monday.

The Associated Press reported Rodriguez and Posada threw for a little before the game.

“Everything is fine hitting,? Posada said. “I threw today and didn’t feel it. I didn’t push it, obviously, so it’s just day to day. I’m not worried about it.? (AP)

In addition, the Yankees expect to have outfielder Hideki Matsui, who is coming off of knee surgery, back on Monday. Matsui is expected to take over the DH duties before possibly playing in the outfield.

March 5, 2008

Bush backs McCain for presidency

Senator John McCain of Arizona was announced Tuesday in Washington by President Bush as the new head of the Republican Party, the New York Times reported.

McCain traveled from Dallas to meet the president at the White House for a hot dog lunch. Afterwards, President Bush formally endorsed McCain for the 2008 presidency.

“I’m very honored and humbled to have the opportunity to receive the endorsement of the president of the United States,? McCain said. (New York Times)

The two had once been foes during a heated 2000 Republican Party election that saw President Bush win. However, the two look to be on friendlier terms.

Now that Senator McCain had been nominated for the Republican Party, he can receive help from the Republican National Committee. The committee has around $25 million for McCain to use to help him campaign for the presidential election. On the other hand, the Democratic National Committee cannot support a candidate until one has been nominated.

“We’ve been preparing for the last several months,? Robert M. Duncan, the chairman of the Republican committee said. “We’ve been raising the money. We’ve been doing the research that’s necessary. We’ve been putting the staff together. And all of that is available to Senator McCain, as our presumptive nominee, as of today.? (New York Times)

Reuters reported the endorsement by President Bush could hinder and help Senator McCain.

Bush can help McCain gain conservative support who can donate funds to McCain’s campaign trail. However, the endorsement can also hurt McCain because President Bush is unpopular with many Americans as a result of the Iraq war.

If McCain, 71, wins the election in November, he would become that oldest person ever to be elected to a first U.S. presidential term.

McCain said that he will begin the process of picking a vice-presidential running mate, a choice analysts say is important due to McCain’s age.

March 1, 2008

Niners add Smith to defense

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday that the San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent defensive end Justin Smith with a six-year, $45 million deal.

Smith was started every game for the Cincinnati Bengals for the past six seasons. However, he only accumulated two sacks last season and has never had more than nine sacks in a season. But, Smith said last season was a down year for him.

“There were a lot of reasons for last year,? Smith said. “Both me and Robert Geathers were hampered by injuries that we had with linebackers and the secondary. So we were forced into blitzing situations that caused us to pinch and have to take other gaps.? (San Francisco Chronicle)

The 49s will play a 3-4 formation in the upcoming year and Smith is expected to be more of a pass rusher. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2001 draft from Missouri believes he can help the 49ers succeed in improving their defense.

“The potential on this defense, and what they’ve accomplished… I think it can be a very strong unit,? Smith said. (San Francisco Chronicle)

However, the Associated Press reported the 49ers have not had much success on the defensive side of the ball in recent seasons.

The Niners were tied for 21st in the NFL iwht only 31 sacks. Furthermore, their leader in sacks last season, Bryant Young, retired with only getting 6 ½ sacks last season.

San Francisco have also signed receiver Isaac Bruce and kick returner Allen Rossum during the off season.

February 22, 2008

Houston Rockets win eleventh straight game

The Houston Chronicle reported Friday that the Houston Rockets won their eleventh straight game against the New Orleans Hornets in New Orleans.

The Rockets dominated the game and ended up with a 100-80 victory of the Hornets, who were sitting atop the Western Conference standings. The win gave Houston it’s 10th straight road win and continued their winning steak to 11, which is the longest since the start of the 1993-94 season.

Coming in, New Orleans had a five game winning streak of their own. A few of the teams they defeated were the Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks.

The Rockets were lead by their two stars Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. Yao scored 28 points on 12-of-21 shooting with 14 rebounds. McGrady finished with 34 points on 14-of-26 shooting with six assists.

The Associated Press reported that it was a difficult task for the Hornets to guard 7-foot-6 inch center Ming. He went up against Tyson Chandler of the Hornets, but being on seven foot, it was easy for Ming to get the easy shots.

New Orleans all-star Chris Paul finished with 14 points and 11 assists. David West led the Hornets with 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting.

This was the first game between the two teams since making a trade on Thursday. Houston sent Bonzi Wells and Mike James to New Orleans for Bobby Jackson and several other players.

The game took place in front of a sellout crowd of 17,714, in New Orleans Arena, which was only the third sellout this season. In addition, this was the eighth team in their last game that Houston was able to hold to under 90 points.

February 16, 2008

California votes still being counted

The New York Times reported that votes from the California primary on February 5th are still being counted.

Officials throughout the state were overloaded with absentee ballots and have had to go through a slow process of getting them accounted for. Stephen Weir, the registrar in Contra Costa County, just east of San Francisco, has spent the past two weeks ironing out ballots to get them ready to be counted.

“Last election, the clerk ironed about 13,000 ballots,? Weir said. “You’re getting back ballots that are coffee- and God-knows-what-stained. That slows things down, too.? (New York Times)

A high voter turnout and millions of mailed-in ballots has caused slow returns in many counties. In all, 800,000 ballots still need to be processed, election officials said.

In Los Angeles County, around 205,000 mail-in ballots still need tallied. In addition, state officials don’t know what to do with 49,000 ballots that don’t say which party they voted for.

California law allows independent voters to vote in primaries for the Democratic and American Independent Parties. However, they cannot vote for the Republican Party. Voters were supposed to mark which party they were voting for, but many did not.

The results from the primaries, however, are not being questioned. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Democratic Party delegates and Senator John McCain won the Republican Party delegates.

The Vallejo Times Herald reported that it is not unusual for votes to take a while to be counted, according to Napa Registrar of Voters John Tutuer. Tutuer said that many votes come in a few days before the primary and it takes time to sort out the ballots.

The final results will be posted at the end of the month, said Tutuer.

February 8, 2008

Missouri gunman kills 6 in St. Louis suburb

A Missouri man tore through a City Hall meeting Thursday night, killing three city officials and two police officers before being fatally shot by police officers, the Associated Press reported.

The gunman rushed into a Kirkwood, Mo. city meeting and began firing, while shouting “Shoot the mayor!? said St. Louis County Police spokeswoman Tracy Panus to the AP. Authorities fatally shot the suspect, but not after he had injured two more people.

The names of the victims will not be given out until a press conference Friday morning said Panus. One name, however, known is that of Mayor Mike Swoboda who is in critical condition at St. John’s Mercy Hospital.

The incident started around 7 p.m. when the gunman shot an officer outside of City Hall and then proceeded to head inside, said Panus. The shooter continued his rampage hitting police Officer Tom Ballman in the head, said Janet McNichols, a reporter covering the meeting for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

McNichols continued by saying that the gunman hit Public Works Director Kenneth Yost in the head. Other council members that got hit were Michael Lynch and Connie Karr. City Attorney John Hessel threw chairs at the gunman, trying to fight him off, said McNichols.

The police have not issued the identities of the gunman and the victims, but McNichols said that the shooter was Charles Lee Thornton. Thornton had a history of disrupting meetings and had been issued over 150 tickets.

The New York Times reported that in late January, Thornton had a lawsuit thrown out by a federal judge against the city of Kirkwood and its officials. Thornton claimed that he was being denied his freedom to speak at the council meetings.

Doreen Thornton, Mr. Thornton’s sister-in-law, said she didn’t understand what had happened and that Mr. Thornton had a 17-year-old daughter.

“Cookie [Thornton] never got mad.? Ms. Thornton said. “He was a people person. Cookie was known through his church to be a No. 1 kind of man.? (New York Times)

Gov. Matt Blunt gave a statement Thursday night.

"Tonight our fellow Missourians in the city of Kirkwood were terrorized by a senseless and horrific crime at an open government meeting," he said. "I join Missourians tonight in praying for the victims, their families and friends, and everyone in the community of Kirkwood." (AP)

January 30, 2008

Santana Headed to New York

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Twins dealt two-time Cy Young award winner Johan Santana to the New York Mets for four prospects, the Star Tribune reported.
Santana and his agent, Peter Greenberg, made a deadline for the Twins to trade the pitcher to another team or face losing him to free agency after the 2008 season. The Twins received offers from the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, but chose to go with the Mets instead.
Sources say that the Mets plan to offer Santana a six-year deal that would be around $130 million. The deal, however, faces a timeline of Friday afternoon. Santana needs to pass a physical examination and work out a deal with the Mets before Friday to finalize the trade.
“We hope to have some resolution to the whole thing soon, but we don’t have anything else to say today,? said Twins GM Bill Smith. (Star Tribune)
The New York Times reported that Santana will become the Mets No. 1 pitcher, filling the gap left by former pitcher Tom Glavine. Santana comes in with a record of 93-44 in his career.
In return, the Twins will be getting four young players: outfielder Carlos Gómez, pitcher Philip Humber, pitcher Deolis Guerra and pitcher Kevin Mulvey. Of these four only Gómez had significant major league experience. In 2007 Gómez played 58 games for the Mets and has great speed and defense.
Humber and Mulvey are expected to be middle-of-the-rotation pitchers with Guerra expected to be a No. 1 pitcher. At only 18-years-old, Guerra stands 6-foot-5 and pitched at Class A St. Lucie. Yet all three pitchers are still a few years away from the major leagues.
“There’s no can’t-miss guy here,? said Jim Callis, the executive editor of Baseball America. “If Guerra became everything he could be, and Gómez became everything he could be, then it could be a pretty good deal.? (New York Times)