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Aldrin won't be charged for striking tormentor



Published: Sat, September 21, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Aldrin won't be chargedfor striking tormentor

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles County district attorney's office will not file charges against Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, 72, for hitting a man who has long asserted the U.S. moon landings were a hoax.

Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Ratinoff, who is in charge of the district attorney's Beverly Hills office, said in a statement that Aldrin had been provoked into hitting Bart Sibrel of Nashville, Tenn., in the face in front of the Luxe Hotel in Beverly Hills last week.

"Aldrin was confronted by Sibrel who arranged to surprise Aldrin and challenge his integrity about walking on the moon," Ratinoff said. "Video depicts Sibrel following Aldrin on the street and thrusting a Bible at Aldrin. Others attempted to protect Aldrin as he walked away from Sibrel.

"Ultimately, Sibrel called Aldrin a thief, liar and coward. Video depicts Aldrin striking Sibrel once in the face with a fist. Sibrel immediately turns to the camera crew present and appears to twice state, 'Did you get that?'

"Sibrel was not knocked down," Ratinoff said. "He sustained no visible injury. He did not seek medical attention. Aldrin has no prior criminal arrest history.

"Based on the totality of the circumstances," she added, "it is unlikely a jury would find Aldrin guilty of a misdemeanor battery charge."

Tiger attacks childat school assembly

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. -- A tiger grabbed a child by his head Friday at a school assembly, sending the 6-year-old boy to a hospital.

A trainer was leading the tiger from an auditorium at Baymonte Christian School when it lurched over seats and grabbed the boy's head in its jaws, police Capt. Harry Bidleman said.

The boy was in guarded condition at Stanford Medical Center, spokesman Robert Dicks said. A CT scan would be used to determine any head injuries, then stitches would be used to close the cuts on his head.

Principal Steve Patterson wrestled the boy from the tiger, school spokesman Jenny Paul said.

The tiger's appearance at the school was a reward for students who sold magazine subscriptions. Paul said about 150 children attended.

The tiger was in the custody of Zoo to You Wildlife Education Inc., Bidleman said. Police planned to coordinate an investigation with animal control agencies.

Suspicious devicesprompt evacuation

BARNESVILLE, Ga. -- Several blocks in downtown Barnesville were evacuated Friday as police and bomb units investigated several suspicious devices.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Rusty Andrews said eight or nine canisters were found over a three- or four-block area in Barnesville, a town of about 6,000 people 50 miles south of Atlanta.

A bomb squad detonated four of the devices, but no live explosives were found. They were described as 4-by-9-inch canisters, with red and white wires and size-C batteries attached.

Several hundred people were evacuated and 15 businesses closed down all day Friday.

Police said four or five high school students were being questioned. Authorities wouldn't say whether the students were considered suspects.

"If they are hoax devices, they have certainly been fixed up to resemble live explosive devices," Andrews said.

The devices appeared to have been thrown, possibly from a vehicle, in front of some businesses, GBI spokesman John Bankhead said. Others were found at a high school football field.

Church 'fight club'

SALT LAKE CITY -- The 18-year-old son of Gov. Mike Leavitt pleaded guilty Friday to charges related to an alleged "fight club" in a Mormon meeting house and was ordered to serve 40 hours of community service.

Chase Leavitt and scores of mostly high-school age people sneaked into a church gymnasium last December to stage the fights, charging admission to spectators, authorities said. Police found a video camera, which showed Leavitt and a younger boy wearing boxing gloves and punching each other.

City prosecutor Sim Gill said Leavitt was charged because he was the only adult who could be identified on the video.

Leavitt pleaded guilty to trespassing and disturbing the peace.

"I think that this was selection of a young man, who is a very fine and decent young man, because of who his parents are," said Loren Weiss, Leavitt's lawyer.

The governor's spokeswoman, Natalie Gochnour, said Friday: "This is a young man who has the total support of his parents."

Combined dispatches




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