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Archive for Saturday, January 4, 2003

Briefly

January 4, 2003

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Virginia: Gunman kills 3, self

A man shot and killed his girlfriend and two convenience store workers Friday before turning the gun on himself, police said.

All four victims were declared dead at the scene.

Police said Michael Wilson went into a home in Richmond's Southside before 6 p.m. and shot his 27-year-old girlfriend in a bedroom as children and other relatives watched.

Wilson then ran from the house several blocks to the Golden Food Market, where police said he shot and killed the owner of the store and an employee.

Their identities were not immediately released.

According to police, Wilson then forced four men from the van they were sitting in outside the store and drove to a relative's house, where he shot and killed himself in front of several people.

Police did not offer a motive for the shootings.

New Mexico: Three shot to death

A gunman shot and killed three people in a business district Friday, then barricaded himself in a pawn shop and shot himself in the chest, police said.

The man was hospitalized for the wound, which was not life-threatening, Albuquerque police Detective Jeff Arbogast said.

Police said the man, who had not been identified late Friday, fatally shot two men and a woman about 4 p.m. in front of a warehouse in an area of northeast Albuquerque crowded with businesses. Arbogast did not immediately release the victims' names.

"It appears it may be related to some sort of domestic violence situation," Arbogast said.

Denver: Mechanic arrested in plane sabotage case

A Frontier Airlines mechanic was arrested after he allegedly threw a wheel block into the running engine of a plane preparing for takeoff at Denver International Airport.

According to an arrest affidavit, Corydon Van Dyke Cochran had wanted to prevent the Boeing 737 from departing because he feared it was unsafe after being hit by lightning on an earlier flight.

Federal agents arrested Cochran, 44, after the incident Wednesday; he was charged with destruction of an aircraft, said FBI spokeswoman Ann Atanasio.

The plane was removed from service to repair minor damage in its engine and resumed flying Thursday.

Cochran was released Thursday on his own recognizance. He declined to comment on the charge.

New York: Killing by officer may have been accidental

One of the four men shot to death by New York City police this week may have been slain accidentally, authorities said Friday.

Police believe John Lagattuta was shot Thursday by an officer trying to arrest him as he sat behind the wheel of a stolen minivan, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

The officer was apparently trying to open the driver's door with his left hand and smash the driver's window with a pistol in his right hand. The gun may have accidentally discharged, striking Lagattuta.

"That is certainly a distinct possibility," said Kelly, who cautioned that police had not interviewed the officer.

Three other men were shot by police Wednesday and Thursday. Kelly said those shootings appeared to be justified by the threatening actions of the suspects.

New York police officers fatally shot 12 people last year and 11 people in 2001, police department statistics show.

San Antonio: Four officers injured, suspect dies in gunfight

Four police officers were wounded -- two critically -- after a man grabbed guns from two of them while they tried to break up a fight at a restaurant early Friday, authorities said.

One of the officers fatally shot the man, identified by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as Jamie Lichtenwalter, 26.

Officers were called to a Denny's restaurant in the northeast section of the city about 3:30 a.m. after Lichtenwalter confronted a man who had gone out with Lichtenwalter's girlfriend, said Sgt. Gabe Trevino, a San Antonio Police Department spokesman.

When police arrived, Lichtenwalter punched Detective John Bocko, grabbed his gun, and eventually fired all 16 rounds in the clip, Trevino said. He then took a gun from Officer David Evans and was firing that weapon when Officer Michael Muniz shot him to death, Trevino said.

Evans, 51, who was shot in the abdomen, and Muniz, 22, shot in the neck and chest, were in critical condition after emergency surgery Friday. Less seriously injured were Officer Nathan Murray, 33, who was shot in the face, and Bocko, 34, who suffered a bullet-graze wound to his back.

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