Suspect in shootings isthreat to public, police say
CASSADAGA, N.Y. -- State police warned Saturday that a fugitive suspected of shooting three state troopers, two of them in an ambush, is a threat not just to law enforcement but to anyone who might get in his way. "He's a desperate man, he knows he's wanted and his choices are running out," Trooper Rebecca Gibbons said. For months, authorities in western New York have scoured hunting camps, stopped traffic and questioned acquaintances in the search for Ralph "Bucky" Phillips, an escaped inmate with the skills of a seasoned outdoorsman. The manhunt intensified Thursday after two troopers were ambushed by a sniper hiding in the woods outside the home of Phillips' former girlfriend. The two officers were in critical condition as 75 more troopers were called up to reinforce the search.
Passenger in JFK's limoduring assassination dies
AUSTIN, Texas -- Nellie Connally, the former Texas first lady who was riding in President Kennedy's limousine when he was assassinated, has died, a family friend said Saturday. The 87-year-old was the last living person who had been part of that fateful Dallas drive. Connally, the widow of former Gov. John Connally, died late Friday at an Austin assisted living center, said Julian Read, who served as the governor's press secretary in the 1960s. As the limousine carrying the Connallys and the Kennedys wound its way through the friendly crowd in downtown Dallas, Nellie Connally turned to Kennedy, who was in a seat behind her, and said, "Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you." Almost immediately, she heard the first of what she later concluded were three gunshots in quick succession. John Connally slumped after the second shot, and, "I never looked back again. I was just trying to take care of him," she said.
Police chief defendsactions in Ramsey case
DENVER -- The Boulder police chief has defended his department's investigation of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey in several published reports, saying more than 160 suspects were investigated and $2 million spent. Chief Mark Beckner's defense came in interviews Friday with KCNC-TV, The Daily Camera of Boulder and the Rocky Mountain News, and in a statement posted on the Boulder police Web site. Three lawyers who worked with police on the case also defended the department in the statement. "A few people have accused the department of focusing too narrowly in its investigation of this homicide when that was not the case," Beckner said in the statement. "People who have spoken out that way have relied on the department's inability to discuss case specifics, but I cannot allow the misperceptions to go unanswered any longer." The Ramsey family has criticized police, saying the department focused on them at the exclusion of evidence that an intruder killed the 6-year-old in December 1996.
Strain of bird flu foundin ducks in Pennsylvania
WASHINGTON -- Wild ducks in Pennsylvania have tested positive for bird flu, but not the deadly Asian strain that has ravaged poultry and killed at least 141 people worldwide, the Agriculture Department said Saturday. The mallards, which were sampled Aug. 28 in Crawford County, Pa., showed no signs of sickness -- another indication that they were not exposed to the virulent Asian H5N1 strain. The low-grade strain of H5N1 has been found many times in North American wild birds and poses no threat to people, but officials expect the deadlier strain to reach the continent this year. "It is possible that these birds were not infected with an H5N1 strain, but instead with two separate avian influenza viruses, one containing H5 and the other containing N1," the department said.
Man fatally beaten incase of mistaken identity
MARSHVILLE, N.C. -- An angry mob fatally beat a man whom they mistakenly thought was involved in the disappearance of their friend, shortly before police arrested and charged another person in the crime. Union County deputy sheriffs found Tony Lorin Blakeney at his home with serious injuries Friday. He later died at a hospital. Ten men, ages 16 to 30, were charged with murder in the attack. They were being held without bond until an Oct. 4 court date. "This is the worst beating attack I've ever seen," Sheriff Eddie Cathey said. Authorities said they don't believe Blakeney was connected to the disappearance and death of Patrick Antwone McClendon. About a dozen of McClendon's friends and family members learned Friday that Blakeney found on his property a car that the missing man had used. The group arrived at Blakeney's home, accused him of complicity in McClendon's disappearance, and began punching and kicking him, authorities said.