August 27, 2006 in Nation/World

Gunman fueled by cocaine and booze

The Spokesman-Review
 

A gunman on a cocaine and booze binge killed one man and wounded two others in a series of drive-by shootings in Queens, officials said Saturday.

Three other people were injured by flying glass, including an off-duty police lieutenant, during the rampage by Matthew Colletta, 34, police spokesman Sgt. Kevin Hayes said.

Colletta, who surrendered peacefully after police stopped his car early Saturday, was behind the wheel of a green 1992 Cadillac when the shooting began Friday evening, police said.

Although police said the choice of victims was apparently random, Colletta’s last five targets were all red automobiles. The slain man was riding with his wife to their Long Island home after dropping their daughter off at Marist College in Poughkeepsie.

There were nine separate shooting incidents, with police saying that Colletta was on a cocaine and alcohol binge before the gunfire started.

Cranston, R.I.

Candidate sorry for columns

U.S. Senate candidate Stephen Laffey said he regrets that he wrote columns denigrating gays when he was a college student.

Laffey, the Republican mayor of Cranston, acknowledged writing the columns in a story published Saturday in the Providence Journal. The paper reported that it received copies of the columns anonymously in the mail earlier in the week.

Laffey, 44, running a closely watched race against moderate Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, said whoever sent the articles wanted to smear him before the Sept. 12 primary. He called the writings “sophomoric political satire” and said they do not represent his views.

“Do I regret some of these things? Sure,” he said. “But at the time, we were just having fun. We thought it was funny.”

Laffey wrote them in 1983 and 1984 while studying at Bowdoin College in Maine. The articles appeared in a paper published by campus Republicans.

Grand Forks, N.D.

Police cars in short supply

The city is short on squad cars after a man led police on a destructive chase and crashed his van into 10 cruisers, officials said.

By the time officers stopped Jeffrey Bean in Minnesota, eight squad cars from Grand Forks and two from East Grand Forks, Minn., were damaged, Grand Forks Police Sgt. Roger Pohlman said.

Damage to the Grand Forks squad cars totaled more than $26,000 and the department doesn’t have enough vehicles now for all officers on duty, he said.

“Right now, our day shift has enough vehicles. Our night shifts are doubling up,” Pohlman said.

Bean, 37, was charged Friday in Minnesota with assault, damage to property, fleeing police officers in a motor vehicle, refusal to submit to tests for driving while intoxicated and driving while restricted.


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