Riverside, Aug 13 (AP/UNB) — A man whose truck was being impounded suddenly grabbed a rifle and opened fire, killing a California Highway Patrol officer and wounding two others before he was killed, authorities said.
Other drivers ran for cover and two people were slightly injured as dozens of bullets flew shortly after 5:30 p.m. Monday just off a freeway in Riverside, east of Los Angeles.
"We don't know his motive for this crime," Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said. Investigators were still gathering evidence at the scene Tuesday morning.
KABC-TV reported that a man identified the shooter as his son, Aaron Luther, 49, of neighboring Beaumont.
A CHP officer was doing paperwork to impound the pickup truck when the man reached in, grabbed a rifle and fatally wounded the officer, authorities said.
The officer was identified as Andrew Moye, Jr.
"I am devastated by the tragedy that unfolded earlier in Riverside. Tonight, I mourn the loss of one of our own," CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said in a tweet.
Family members said Moye was 33 and had been with the CHP for about four years.
"He was so kind," his stepmother, Debbie Howard, told KTVU-TV. "You're not going to hear one bad word about him. He loved this job."
Two other CHP officers were wounded, one critically, as officers from several agencies fought the man.
"It was a long and horrific gun battle," the chief said.
Dennis Luther of Riverside said he watched the shootout on television.
"It's hard. I love him. And I'm sorry for the policeman," he told KABC-TV. "I'm devastated. I just can't believe it."
Luther said his son served prison time for attempted murder but was released more than a decade ago. He says he doesn't know what his son was doing with a gun as a felon, which is illegal.
After his truck was impounded, Aaron Luther called his wife to pick him up, his father said.
When she arrived, the tow truck was there.
"She said she heard 'pop, pop, pop' ... gunfire, and then a bullet went through the windshield of her car," Luther said of his son's wife.
The father said his son recently seemed depressed, was having knee pain and marital problems but was devoted to his two children and a stepchild.
"He lived for his kids. That's what motivated him," Luther said. "So I don't know what overcame him. I mean, I wish I did know."
Two people received superficial injuries and "they're going to be OK." Parker said.
Jennifer Moctezuma, 31, of Moreno Valley told the Los Angeles Times that she was driving home with her 6-year-old twins when a bullet flew through her front windshield.
Charles Childress, 56, a retired Marine from Moreno Valley, was in the car behind her.
He led the family as they crawled to the bottom of a bridge to hide and none were harmed, the Times reported.
"He's my hero," Moctezuma said.
Authorities did not immediately say what prompted the officer to stop and impound the truck. Investigators didn't immediately know where the gunman came from or where he was headed, Diaz said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered flags at half-staff Tuesday in the state Capitol.
"Our hearts ache over the tragic loss," Newsom said on Twitter.
After the shooting, dozens of law enforcement officers gathered outside of the hospital in nearby Moreno Valley. Snipers were posted on the roof as a precaution.
Dozens lined up and saluted as the officer's flag-draped body was removed from the hospital and placed in a hearse. Motorcycle officers then led a procession as the hearse was driven to the county coroner's office.
Kinshasa, Aug 13 (AP/UNB) — Two Ebola patients who were treated with new drugs in the city of Goma in eastern Congo have been declared "cured" and returned to their home.
Top doctors fighting Ebola quickly used the case on Tuesday to press the message that people can recover from the potentially deadly disease if they seek proper care.
Ebola is dangerous but it is also curable with correct treatment, said Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, director of Congo's National Institute for Biomedical Research.
"Ebola kills quickly and Ebola heals quickly. That's the message," said Muyembe, at a press conference in Goma.
"These cases were detected very quickly. The husband was infected, he was at home for 10 days and his wife and son were infected," said Muyembe. "As soon as the response teams detected these cases, they brought them here to the treatment center. We gave them treatment that is effective and here in a short time both are cured."
Muyembe said two new drugs "are now be used to treat Ebola patients because, according to the studies and the results we obtained in the lab, these are the two drugs that are effective."
Muyembe and other scientists announced this week that preliminary results from two trials in Congo found two drugs — made by Regeneron and the U.S. National Institutes of Health — seem to be saving lives. Researchers said more study is needed to nail down how well those two compounds work. The drugs are antibodies that block Ebola. In the trial, significantly fewer people died among those given the Regeneron drug or the NIH's, about 30%, compared to those who received another treatment.
Esperance Nabintu rejoiced that she and her young son had survived Ebola.
"May the Lord be praised, I thank the Lord very much. I and my child were sick with Ebola, but God has just healed us.
"My brothers, we must not doubt. Ebola exists, "said Nabintu, whose husband was the second Ebola victim to die in Goma. No other Ebola death has been detected since then.
After a public announcement that Nabintu and her son, Ebenezer Fataki, 1, had recovered from Ebola, the response team accompanied the two former patients their home in the Kiziba area, where the medical team educated the residents about proper Ebola treatment.
There is less danger that Ebola will spread through Goma, the capital of North Kivu province with more than 2 million inhabitants, because about 200 contacts and suspected cases have been identified and have received proper medication, said Muyembe. He said people arriving in Goma are being monitored at the city's entry points.
"People who come from Beni and Butembo (nearby cities where there are many Ebola cases) must be carefully examined, "said Muyembe. "All of the 200 contacts we are following are doing well. We are waiting until the end of the 21-day surveillance period. We are at day 13, so there are still 8 days to go before we can say that Goma has won against Ebola."
Health officials have also vaccinated tens of thousands of people in Congo and surrounding countries in an attempt to stop the outbreak, but the virus has now continued to spread for more than a year. Response efforts have been repeatedly hampered by attacks on health workers and continuing mistrust among the affected communities; many people in the region don't believe the virus is real and choose to stay at home when they fall ill, infecting those who care for them.
Srinagar, Aug 13 (AP/UNB) — Residents of Indian-administered Kashmir were running short of essentials on Tuesday as an unprecedented security lockdown kept people indoors for a ninth day.
India has imposed a near-constant curfew and a communications blackout as it tries to stave off a violent reaction to the government's decision on Aug. 5 to strip Kashmir of its autonomy.
The reaction to India's unprecedented move has so far been largely subdued. But anti-India protests and clashes have occurred daily, mostly as soldiers withdraw from the streets at dusk. Though the scale of the lockdown is unprecedented, civil resistance to Indian rule is not uncommon in Kashmir, and young men have hurled stones and abuse at police and soldiers.
Indian troops patrolling the disputed region allowed some Muslims to walk to mosques to mark the Eid al-Adha festival on Monday, and shops were opened briefly on previous days.
The lockdown is expected to last at least through Thursday, India's independence day.
Surveillance drones and military helicopters hovered over Srinagar, the region's main city. On Sunday, soldiers stopped vehicles in the city's main business hub, causing a traffic jam just as a low-flying drone passed by, according to Javaid Ahmed, a resident who said he witnessed the scene from a nearby building.
He said he later saw the same scene broadcast on Indian TV channels.
"That footage was used to say Kashmir was normal with everyone thronging the streets," Ahmed said.
Kashmiris fear India's move to put the region under greater New Delhi control will alter its demographics and cultural identity.
India said its decision to revoke Kashmir's special constitutional status and downgrade it from statehood to a territory would free it from separatism.
Rebels have been fighting Indian rule for decades. Some 70,000 people have died in clashes between militants and civilian protesters and Indian security forces since 1989. Most Kashmiris want either independence or a merger with Pakistan.
Kashmir is split between India and Pakistan and is claimed by both in its entirety. The nuclear-armed rivals have fought two wars over it. The first ended in 1948 with the region divided and a promise of a U.N.-sponsored referendum on its future. It has never been held.
Pakistan has denounced the recent changes as illegal and has downgraded its diplomatic ties with New Delhi, expelled the Indian ambassador and suspended trade and train services.
An uneasy calm continued to prevail along the Line of Control in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, where residents of Chakothi, a remote border town, said they were living in a state of uncertainty.
"Solve the issue of Kashmir through talks or war but now solve it, as we are always the victim whenever there is any tension between Pakistan and India," Rubina Bibi, a 40-year-old housewife, told The Associated Press.
Jalal Hanif, a shop owner, said there had been no exchange of fire in Chakothi or elsewhere in Pakistan's part of Kashmir since New Delhi imposed the changes.
"But whenever Indian troops open fire, shells and mortars hit our bazaar and homes," he said. Hanif said those who can afford to have built bunkers to protect themselves.
In a statement Monday, Pakistan's foreign minister condemned Indian authorities for curtailing religious freedom during the Eid festival in the disputed Himalayan region.
"Restrictions and curtailment of this fundamental religious freedom of millions of Kashmiri Muslims constitutes a serious violation of applicable international human rights law, to which India is a party," the statement said.
Pakistan has urged international condemnation of the Indian move, but India maintains it was an internal, sovereign decision.
Berkeley Heights, Aug 13 (AP/UNB) — Trying to hold support in the manufacturing towns that helped him win the White House in 2016, President Donald Trump is showcasing growing efforts to capitalize on western Pennsylvania's natural gas deposits by turning gas into plastics.
Trump will be in Monaca, about 40 minutes north of Pittsburgh, on Tuesday to tour Shell's soon-to-be completed Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex. The facility, which critics claim will become the largest air polluter in western Pennsylvania, is being built in an area hungry for investment.
The focus is part of a continued push by the Trump administration to increase the economy's dependence on fossil fuels in defiance of increasingly urgent warnings about climate change. And it's an embrace of plastic at a time when the world is sounding alarms over its ubiquity and impact.
Trump's appeals to blue-collar workers helped him win Beaver County, where the plant is located, by more than 18 percentage points in 2016, only to have voters turn to Democrats in 2018's midterm elections. In one of a series of defeats that led to Republicans' loss of the House, voters sent Democrat Conor Lamb to Congress after the prosperity promised by Trump's tax cuts failed to materialize.
Today, Beaver County is still struggling to recover from the shuttering of steel plants in the 1980s that surged the unemployment rate to nearly 30%. Former mill towns like Aliquippa have seen their populations shrink, while Pittsburgh has lured major tech companies like Google and Uber, fueling an economic renaissance in a city that reliably votes Democratic.
The region's natural gas deposits had been seen, for a time, as its new road to prosperity, with drilling in the Marcellus Shale reservoir transforming Pennsylvania into the nation's No. 2 natural gas state. But drops in the price of oil and gas caused the initial jobs boom from fracking to fizzle, leading companies like Shell to turn instead to plastics and so-called cracker plants — named after the process in which molecules are broken down at high heat, turning fracked ethane gas into one of the precursors for plastic.
The company was given massive tax breaks to build the petrochemicals complex, along with a $10 million site development grant, with local politicians eager to accommodate a multibillion-dollar construction project.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said Trump would be touring the plant and delivering remarks "touting his Administration's economic accomplishments and support for America's expanding domestic manufacturing and energy production." Shell announced its plans to build the complex in 2012, when President Barack Obama was in office.
But "fracking for plastic" has drawn alarm from environmentalists and other activists, who warn of potential health and safety risks to nearby residents and bemoan the production of ever more plastic. There has been growing alarm over the sheer quantity of plastic on the planet, which has overwhelmed landfills, inundated bodies of water and permeated the deepest reaches of the ocean. Microplastics have also been found in the bodies of birds, fish, whales and people, with the health impacts largely unknown.
While many in town see the plant as an economic lifeline, other local residents, community organizations and public health advocates are planning a protest Tuesday to coincide with Trump's visit. Cheryl Johncox, a local organizer with the Sierra Club who lives in Ohio, said she expects several hundred people to attend to voice opposition to the plant, as well as demonstrate against Trump's immigration and gun policies.
In addition to concerns about the safety of their air and groundwater, her group has heard from residents "dismayed these facilities will create single-use plastic," she said.
"Of all the things we could invest in, of all the things we should be prioritizing, of all the companies we should be giving our taxpayer money to, this seems like the worst of all worlds," said David Masur, executive director of PennEnvironment, a statewide environmental advocacy organization, who called the project "a pretty big taxpayer boondoggle for a pretty dirty project."
A spokesman for the company, Ray Fisher, said Shell has "dedicated a great deal of time and resources" to ensure emissions from the plant meet or exceed local, state and federal requirements. "As designed, the project will actually help improve the local air shed as it relates to ozone and fine particulates," he said.
Republicans, who worry that Trump has failed to expand his voter base beyond his 2016 supporters, are eager to shift the focus from recent controversies to economic gains made on his watch.
The project currently has 5,000 construction workers. Once operational, however, the site will employ far fewer — 600 — permanent employees.
And the area still faces other headwinds. The nearby Beaver Valley Power Station, a nuclear plant that has employed 850 people, has announced plans to close in 2021.
More importantly, the area lacks younger workers, with college graduates moving east to Pittsburgh for better opportunities. The median age in the county is now 44.9, compared to 32.9 in Pittsburgh.
London, Aug 13 (AP/UNB) — A British judge has set a hearing for next month for an attempt by opposition lawmakers to stop Prime Minister Boris Johnson from suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.
More than 70 parliamentarians argue that sending lawmakers home before the scheduled Oct. 31 Brexit date would be "unlawful and unconstitutional."
On Tuesday, at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Judge Raymond Doherty said a substantive hearing should take place Sept. 6.
Johnson says Britain will leave the European Union on Oct. 31, with or without a divorce deal. Britain's Parliament has rejected the existing agreement and the EU refuses to renegotiate, so a no-deal Brexit looks increasingly likely, despite fears it could cause economic turmoil.
Lawmakers are expected to try to block a no-deal departure this fall.