August 30, 2005 in Nation/World

U.S. Marine killed in Mexico

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review
 

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico A U.S. Marine was shot and killed Monday in this border city after a fight with a motorist, authorities said.

The 23-year-old Marine got into an argument with the driver of a sport utility vehicle, who pulled out a gun and shot him, said Claudia Banuelos, a spokeswoman for state investigators in Chihuahua state, which includes Ciudad Juarez.

A spokeswoman with the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, confirmed a U.S. Marine had been killed Monday but would not release his name.

Relatives identified the Marine as Sgt. Heber Villagran, of El Paso. Villagran, a recruiter, had joined the Marines after graduating from high school, said his brother-in-law Gilbert Gay.

The Marine was accompanied by three other men who told authorities they also were Marines visiting Ciudad Juarez for the day, Banuelos said.

Banuelos said the group had just left a nightclub and was walking in the street when the sport utility vehicle almost hit them.

“The tourists were angry and apparently threw a glass bottle at the car, prompting the driver to get out,” she said.

U.S., Ukraine make bioweapons pact

Washington The United States and Ukraine agreed Monday to work jointly to prevent the spread of biological weapons, signing a pact that clears the way for Ukraine’s government to receive U.S. aid to improve security at facilities where dangerous microbes are kept.

The agreement, the result of more than a year of negotiations, was announced by Sens. Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., during a visit to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. The senators credited Ukraine’s reformist leaders, ushered into power by last fall’s Orange Revolution, with breaking bureaucratic resistance to the pact.

One lab to receive funding is the I.I. Mechnikov Antiplague Scientific and Research Institute in the Black Sea port city of Odessa. The institute was part of a Cold War network of “anti-plague” stations that supplied highly lethal pathogens to Soviet bioweapons factories.

Under the pact, the United States will fund security upgrades at key Ukrainian biological institutes and support peaceful research by Ukrainian scientists to fight the spread of natural diseases, Mark Helmke, a staff member for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said. The amount of funding has not been determined.

Gunman kills 4, self near Texas church

Sash, Texas A gunman killed four people near a small-town church, then killed himself early Monday after a nine-hour standoff with police, authorities said.

Police said witnesses told them that Freddie L. Cranshaw, who lived across the street from the Sash Assembly of God church, exchanged words Sunday night with church member Wes Brown, who asked Cranshaw to leave.

Cranshaw, 54, returned a short time later and shot Brown, 61, at close range, and then shot the pastor, James Armstrong, 42, witnesses said.

Cranshaw then shot at a truck towing a horse trailer and then killed the two women in the truck after they tried to flee and hide. Police identified the women Ceri Litterio, 46, and Holly Love Brown, 50.

A 10-member SWAT team made two attempts to enter Cranshaw’s house but retreated when he shot at them, Moore said.

Police finally entered the house about 6 a.m. after firing tear gas inside. Cranshaw was found in a bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head, Moore said. Police believe Cranshaw had shot himself up to an hour earlier.

No asylum for Cuban militant, attorneys say

El Paso, Texas Lawyers for the federal government told an immigration judge Monday that an accused terrorist and Cuban militant is not eligible for asylum in the United States.

Venezuela wants Luis Posada Carriles sent back there to stand trial on charges accusing him of plotting the 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner that crashed off the coast of Barbados, killing 73 people.

Posada, who is Cuban, is being held on charges that he sneaked into the United States through Mexico in March. He was arrested in Miami in May.

A number of governments including Cuba, many of which had citizens aboard the jetliner, have demanded the deportation of Posada, a one-time CIA operative.

The hearing will continue today. Beyond the deportation issue, it also could determine whether Posada’s role in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba was an act of terrorism.

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