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Police capture suspect at Phoenix airport; terminal reopens

A portion of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport was reopened Thursday evening after dozens of police officers shut a terminal to search for a man who had fled from the scene of a shooting in nearby Tempe earlier in the day.

Sgt. Steve Martos, a Phoenix Police Department spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times that a 25-year-old man was one of three suspects who raced toward the airport in a car after a shooting that left one man critically injured in Tempe about 3 p.m.

The man was captured near Terminal 4 of the airport, Martos said.

"We had complete cooperation with airport officials, and police from Phoenix and Tempe worked together," Martos said Thursday evening. Arizona Department of Public Safety officials were also involved in the search.

Authorities did not say whether the suspect was armed at the time of arrest.

Dozens of flights from Terminal 4 had to been grounded as police searched for the suspect.

Two other suspects, identified only as a man and a woman, were captured...

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Florida grandfather's murder-suicide leaves 8 dead, including 6 kids

A Florida grandfather killed his daughter and six grandchildren before turning the gun on himself, the Gilchrist County sheriff said Thursday evening.

The dead children — two boys and four girls — ranged in age from 3 months to 11 years, Sheriff Robert Schultz told reporters.

He identified the shooter as Don Spirit, 51, who called 911 about 4 p.m. and “made reference to harming people and himself.”

The first officer to arrive at the residence in Bell, near Gainesville, “made contact” with Spirit, who shot himself soon after, the sheriff said. All the victims appeared to have gunshot wounds.

“We are asking for prayers for this community,” he said. “We have eight victims. There are six children.”

Local schools planned to counsel the classmates of the dead on Friday, he said.

Later, at a second news conference, Schultz released the victims’ names. They were, according to the Associated Press: Sarah Lorraine Spirit, 28; Kaleb Kuhlmann, 11; Kylie Kuhlmann, 9; Johnathon Kuhlmann, 8; Destiny...

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Man flees Minneapolis court after he's found guilty of attempted murder

A 25-year-old man escaped from a Minneapolis courtroom Thursday afternoon shortly after he was convicted of attempted murder, and police and sheriff's officials are scouring downtown Minneapolis to find him, authorities said.

Michael David Henderson ran from the courtroom as the jury returned its verdict, fighting his way past several Hennepin County sheriff's deputies before racing out of the building at 3:40 p.m., said Jennifer Johnson, public information officer for the Sheriff's Office.

Henderson, who had been charged in a March armed robbery at a Sam's Club in Bloomington, Minn., did not manage to take any of the officers' weapons, Johnson said. No one was injured in the incident.

"We have every law enforcement agency in the metro area looking for him. He is considered dangerous, we’re at this point in time, just asking people to be vigilant and obviously do not approach him," Johnson told the Los Angeles Times. "If he is seen, pick up the phone and call 911."

Henderson was not...

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Obamacare enrollment at 7.3 million in August, down from April

Enrollment in health plans offered through the Affordable Care Act dipped slightly through this year, falling from about 8 million this spring to 7.3 million in mid-August, the Obama administration announced Thursday.

The tally represents the first update the administration has provided since the open enrollment period under the health law closed in April.

It suggests that the vast majority of consumers who signed up for coverage this year stuck with it, contrary to warnings from critics of the law that millions would stop paying their premiums.

Marilyn Tavenner, who as head of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services oversees new insurance marketplaces created by the law, expressed satisfaction with the enrollment total. “We are encouraged by the number of consumers who paid their premiums and continue to enroll,” she told a congressional panel.

The decline since April also offers a warning, however.

Because the law’s long-term sustainability depends on millions more...

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New York march seeks to be largest climate change event ever

Meaye Ndoye, a 34-year-old student from Brooklyn, volunteers frequently in his community, but he’s never participated in the type of public march that seems to occur on a weekly basis here, calling for an end to America’s military presence in Iraq or protesting the NYPD or celebrating unions.

But that’s going to change Sunday, when he participates in what organizers are hoping will be the largest march ever about climate change.

Organizers of the People’s Climate March are expecting anywhere from 100,000 to 400,000 people from more than 1,000 organizations to turn out Sunday and raise their voices ahead of a U.N. summit on climate change Tuesday. They’re hoping to draw people like Ndoye who haven’t participated actively in the environmental movement in the past, but are deciding that now is the time.

Participating groups include Amnesty International, MoveOn.org, the Sierra Club, and dozens of unions, religious organizations and student groups.

“It’s a duty, because I’m human, and this...

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Texas sheriff's deputy missing in Southwest rains, floods

Heavy rain was making its way through the Southwest Thursday, sparing southern Arizona, but hitting a good portion of New Mexico and Texas with a deep soaking from the remnants of Hurricane Odile.  

The storm has led to flooding in the Austin, Texas, area, where there have been several water rescues and thousands left without power. A Travis County sheriff’s deputy is missing after she was last heard using her radio to report she was being swept away by water.

By Thursday morning, New Mexico had received 4 inches of rain. Some parts of Texas were doused with 7.1 inches of rain overnight, the National Weather Service reported.  Additional rainfall of 2 to 4 inches is expected through the weekend and a flash flood watch is in effect in the San Antonio area until 7 p.m. CDT Thursday.

The storm prompted the National Weather Service in the most affected areas to send out tweets and Facebook posts warning people to keep safe.

“South Texas storms can easily produce several inches of rain in a...

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Suspects in Amish kidnap case indicted on sexual exploitation counts

An upstate New York couple accused last month of kidnapping two Amish girls sexually exploited a third girl as well, according to an indictment that also includes a child pornography charge.

The federal indictment released Thursday accuses Stephen Howells II, 39, and Nicole Vaisey, 25, of “enticing and coercing children to engage in sexual conduct and making a video recording of it,” U.S. Atty. Richard S. Hartunian said in a statement.

The indictment accuses the Hermon, N.Y., couple of conspiracy to sexually exploit two female children, sexual exploitation of one of those children and sexual exploitation of a third female child. It also accuses Howells of possessing child pornography.

Howells and Vaisey have been accused of taking the two Amish girls – sisters ages 12 and 6 – from their family’s roadside vegetable stand in August and dropping them off the next night in a nearby village.

The couple were arrested a day later and charged with first-degree kidnapping, to which they have...

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Air Force drops requirement to use 'So help me God' in oaths

There are no atheists in a foxhole, goes the old military saw, but there is a place for them in the Air Force, which has decided to make the words “So help me God,” optional in oaths.

The action allows enlisted members and officers to delete the words “So help me God,” from their oaths. The Air Force’s decision comes after an advocacy group threatened to take legal action on behalf of an atheist airman in Nevada who crossed out the words on his reenlistment papers and ran into problems.  

“We take any instance in which airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in a statement on Wednesday. “We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our airmen's rights are protected.”

The Constitution, in Article II, defines the oath of office for incoming presidents, which does not include the phrase. It does allow the option of affirming rather than swearing the oath. Only one president, Franklin Pierce, is believed to...

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Iowa Supreme Court blocks rule limiting access to abortion pills

A rule that would have prohibited doctors from prescribing abortion pills by videoconferencing was blocked Tuesday by the Iowa Supreme Court in a last-minute decision hailed as a victory by abortion rights advocates.

“This ruling is a victory for Iowa women,” said Suzanna de Baca, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

The rule was adopted last year by the Iowa Board of Medicine, which regulates physicians in the state, and was upheld earlier this year by a district court judge. The state Legislature considered but did not pass a similar law earlier this year.

The rule, which was to have taken effect this week, required a physician to perform a physical examination before prescribing abortion-inducing drugs, and also mandated that a woman must have a follow-up appointment to confirm the termination of the pregnancy.

“The board believes that all patients, including those in rural Iowa, deserve the highest level of care,” the Board of Medicine said when it passed the...

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Suspect in Pennsylvania police attacks may think he's European soldier

The Pennsylvania man accused of gunning down a state trooper in an ambush last week might believe he is an Eastern European soldier and has a grudge against law enforcement that goes back nearly eight years, police said on Wednesday.

Eric Matthew Frein, a 31-year-old said to have anti-government leanings, opened fire on a group of state troopers outside the Blooming Grove barracks on Sept. 12, killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson and seriously wounding Trooper Alex T. Douglass, authorities have said.

On Wednesday, Lt. Col. George Bivens, deputy commissioner of operations for the State Police, told reporters that Frein belongs to a "military simulation unit" based in Eastern Pennsylvania.

"In his unstable frame of mind, Frein now appears to have assumed that role in real life," Bivens said.

In preparing for the shootings, Bivens said, Frein recently shaved his head on both sides and grew long hair on top.

According to a criminal complaint filed with the Pike County district attorney's office...

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Texas executes woman after Supreme Court denies last-minute appeal

Lisa Coleman, a 38-year-old Texas woman convicted of torturing and starving to death a friend’s 9-year-old son, was executed Wednesday evening after the U.S. Supreme Court denied her last-minute appeal. 

Coleman was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m. Central time, Texas officials said. 

Her last words included, “I just want to tell my family I love them, my son, I love him.  The girls on the row I love them and keep their heads up....  I’m done.” 

She was the ninth person, and the second woman, to be executed in Texas this year.

In July 2004, Coleman was living in a Texas apartment with a friend, Marcella Williams, and her son, Davontae Williams. The child’s body weighed about 36 pounds, about half the normal weight of a 9-year-old child. Williams, 33, is serving a life sentence in prison for her role in the death.

Coleman’s trial lawyers argued that the death was an accident and the result of failed efforts to control and discipline the child.

Coleman’s current lawyer John Stickels argued...

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Arizona braces for rain, floods as remnants of Hurricane Odile hit

Residents in Southeastern Arizona braced for heavy rains and possible flooding Wednesday as remnants of Hurricane Odile began to sweep into the drought-plagued Southwest.

In Tucson, some residents stocked up on sandbags, two school districts announced the cancellation of after-school activities, and the University of Arizona officials warned students that campus could be closed and classes suspended.

Flash flood watches remain in effect for much of the region through Thursday with the National Weather Service urging residents to keep safe.

“Remember: NEVER attempt to drive through flooded roadways and low-water crossings. Turn Around; Don't Drown!” the NWS Tucson Facebook page stated.

As of noon Wednesday, the storm had flooded a creek near the town of Pima and affected some homes in northwest Safford.

Thunderstorms with heavy rain are expected to hit over parts of the Southwest and the Southern Rockies through Thursday evening, the National Weather Service reported.

Intense rainfall...

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