Jan. 30, 2013 Associated Press
SAN DIEGO — A powerful explosion on Wednesday ripped through a hotel near SeaWorld San Diego from a room where authorities say a couple was extracting hash oil, sending guests fleeing for safety.
A 22-year-old man in the room suffered life-threatening injuries. Also hurt were a woman in the room and a young man staying next door, authorities said. All three were hospitalized.
Julie Jordan of San Diego was sleeping with a friend's baby in a nearby room at the three-story Heritage Inn Sea World Hotel when she felt the building shake violently, then heard a loud explosion. She ran outside and saw a shattered window and a badly injured man sitting at the bottom of some stairs moaning.
"People were screaming and running, and a man was burned from head to toe," said Jordan, 30. "His skin was falling off."
Investigators found several boxes containing canisters of butane inside the room where the blast occurred, police Lt. Joseph Ramos said.
The butane apparently was ignited by a cigarette, Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque said. The second-floor room looked like a "war zone," he said.
"It was a very intense and devastating explosion," Luque said.
Jan. 30, 2013 Arizona Republic
Three people suffered gunshot wounds during a shooting at an office complex in north-central Phoenix Wednesday morning, officials said.
Three others were transported to area hospitals; the nature of their injuries was not described.
Around 10:30 a.m., officials reported that three people had been shot in a building in the 7300 block of 16th Street, north of Glendale Avenue, officials said. One is reported to be in extremely critical condition.
Sgt. Tommy Thompson of the Phoenix Police Department said officers believe one suspect is responsible for the shooting and that the suspect is still on the loose. Thompson said one man walked into the building and shot several people.
He said that police believe the shooting was a targeted act and that an altercation occurred prior to the shooting.
He said it is unclear how many total victims there are and what a motive may have been.
“At this point we don’t believe he is in the area,” Thomspon said. “This doesn’t appear to be a random type of incident.”
Jan. 30, 2013 Associated Press
MIDLAND CITY, Ala. — Police SWAT teams and hostage negotiators were locked in a standoff Wednesday with a gunman authorities say intercepted a school bus, killed the driver, snatched a 6-year-old boy and retreated into a bunker at his home with the kindergartener.
The gunman, identified by neighbors as Jimmy Lee Dykes, a 65-year-old retired truck driver, was known as a menacing figure who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a shotgun.
He had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning to answer charges he shot at his neighbors in a dispute last month over a speed bump.
The standoff dragged on through the night and into the afternoon Wednesday after the gunman boarded a stopped school bus filled with children in the small town of Midland City, population 2,300, on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
Sheriff Wally Olsen said the man shot the bus driver when he refused to hand over a 6-year-old child. The gunman then took the kindergartener away.
Dykes was believed to be holed up with the boy in an underground bunker of the sort used to take shelter from a tornado.
"As far as we know there is no relation at all. He just wanted a child for a hostage situation," said Michael Senn, a church pastor who helped comfort the traumatized children after the attack.
The bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by locals as a hero who gave his life to protect 21 students.
Jan. 30, 2013 Reuters
A former Massachusetts crime lab chemist accused of falsifying evidence tied to as many as 34,000 cases pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice charges on Wednesday.
Prosecutors allege Annie Dookhan, 35, tampered with drug evidence and faked test results at the Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston, where she had worked for nine years analyzing drug samples submitted by law enforcement across the state.
Dookhan is accused, among other things, of altering substances in vials to cover up her practice of visually identifying samples without doing the proper chemical testing.
Dookhan was arrested in September and subsequently charged with tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, perjury, and falsely claiming to have an advanced degree in chemistry. Prosecutors charge she got the job by falsely claiming she had a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts.
Investigators have said they identified some 10,000 people convicted or accused of crimes based on evidence she had handled at the Hinton lab, which is temporarily closed.
State officials say 252 people had been released from prison pending new trials as a result of the investigation, as of January 4.
Jan. 30, 2013 CBS
Chicago -- A teenage girl who performed at President Obama's inauguration with her high school band earlier this month was shot to death Tuesday afternoon at a Chicago park, CBS Chicago reports.
Police said 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was taking shelter from the rain under a canopy at the park with about 12 other teenagers when a man jumped a fence, ran up to them and opened fire. The gunman then fled the scene in an automobile.
Hadiya was shot once in the back and died at University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital less than an hour later, CBS Chicago reports. An unidentified teenage boy was shot in the leg and is being treated at the hospital.
No arrests have been made.
Hadiya was an honor student, volleyball player and majorette at King College Prep High School, according to CBS Chicago. She performed with her high school band at the presidential inauguration in Washington last week.