Motive still unknown in Va. Tech shooting
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Tech police officer who was gunned down in a campus attack joined the force six months after the university was the scene of the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U. S. history. He was a proud policeman who recently invited a friend to ride along with him, which made his death during a traffic stop even more puzzling.
Deriek W. Crouse, an Army veteran and married father of five, was killed Thursday after pulling a driver over in a school parking lot. Police said the gunman walked up, shot the officer and then fled on foot before he apparently killed himself nearby. The deceased suspect was not involved in the traffic stop.
Police said they don’t know what motivated the officer’s killing or whether there was any link between the shooter, who has not been identified, and Crouse.
“At this point, we haven’t been able to establish any kind of immediate connection between the officer and the shooter,” State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told The Associated Press late Thursday. “That’s obviously something that’s being looked into.”
State police said in a news release early today that ballistics tests confirmed Crouse and the deceased suspect had been shot by the same handgun. The tests have “officially linked the two fatal shootings,” the release said.
Authorities also said a review of Crouse’s in- car video showed a male suspect with a handgun at the officer’s car at the time of the shooting.
The news release said clothing found inside a discarded backpack recovered by Blacksburg police seemed to match that of the male subject in the officer’s video. Police said they were awaiting confirmation of the deceased suspect’s identity as well as autopsy results from the medical examiner in Roanoke.
French peacekeepers wounded in Lebanon
BEIRUT (AP) — A roadside bomb struck a vehicle carrying United Nations peacekeepers in southern Lebanon today, wounding five French soldiers and a Lebanese bystander, officials said.
This was the third bombing this year targeting the international force known as UNIFIL, which is deployed to keep the peace along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe called on Lebanese authorities to bring those responsible to justice and to guarantee the security of the peacekeepers.
Deadline passes for Occupy Boston
BOSTON ( AP) — A midnight deadline has passed for Occupy Boston protesters to move from their diminished encampment in the city’s financial district, but police have not moved to evict them.
Two protesters were arrested early today after police said they blocked a street and refused to move. No other arrests were reported.
Boston police Supt. William Evans told protesters that even though Mayor Thomas Menino set the deadline, he did not specify when the camp would be shut down.
Many Occupy members had chosen to pull up stakes and leave on their own before the deadline.
Original Hooters in Fla. gets a facelift
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Some fans of the Hooters restaurant chain are mourning the dismantling of the original restaurant in Clearwater, Fla.
The restaurant is undergoing a major remodeling that will increase its size and add a Hooters museum.
But fans say it should have been preserved as a piece of American history.
Hooters opened in Clearwater in 1983. Today, there are more than 487 Hooters restaurants around the world. Two different corporations own the Hooters name; the original restaurant is owned by the founders.
The remodeled restaurant is scheduled to open in mid- February, right before Valentine’s Day and spring break.
Fire at Indian hospital kills 73 people
KOLKATA, India (AP) — A basement fire sent flames and smoke coursing through a seven-story Indian hospital today, killing 73 people, and officials accused hospital staff of abandoning many patients to die of suffocation.
As rescuers scrambled to evacuate survivors, police filed a case against the hospital in the eastern city of Kolkata for violating safety procedures, and top government officials vowed to hold the facility accountable and work toward revoking its license.