In brief: Gunman steals weapon, kills police officer
JERSEY CITY, N.J. – A gunman who killed a rookie officer responding to a report of an armed robbery at a drugstore early Sunday never tried to rob the store and instead lay in wait for police, telling a witness to watch the news because he was “going to be famous,” authorities said.
Lawrence Campbell shot Officer Melvin Santiago in the head shortly after he and his partner arrived at the 24-hour Walgreens at around 4 a.m., Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said. Other officers returned fire at Campbell, killing him.
Campbell, 27, of Jersey City, was one of three suspects wanted by police for a prior homicide, Fulop said.
Fulop said Campbell was carrying a knife when he walked into Walgreens and asked for directions to the greeting card aisle. He assaulted an armed security guard at the store and snatched his gun, Fulop said.
According to Fulop, Campbell approached a witness and apologized for his conduct, then said to watch the news later because he was “going to be famous,” then waited for officers to arrive and shot Santiago with what police believe was the guard’s weapon.
“Today was a horrible day for Jersey City,” Fulop said.
Teachers union targets education secretary
LOS ANGELES – A national teachers convention on Sunday called for President Barack Obama to put Education Secretary Arne Duncan on an “improvement plan” as a prelude to replacing him.
The action was taken by the American Federation of Teachers, which is meeting in Los Angeles. It represents another marker in the long-running erosion of relations between organizations that represent instructors and the Democratic president they helped to elect twice.
The union stopped short of calling for Duncan’s immediate departure – as had the National Education Association, at its meeting in Denver earlier this month. But the lesser step was no indication of greater regard.
Nate Goldbaum, a Chicago delegate, called Duncan “the man who is taking away all that we hold dear.”
He proposed calling for Duncan’s outright resignation, an idea that attracted strong support until an alternate proposal emerged from Dennis Kelly, president of United Educators of San Francisco.
Kelly offered the improvement-plan language to echo the union’s insistence on protecting due process for teachers who face discipline or dismissal. Union leaders said these rights are under assault.
More broadly, union activists and their allies have accused Duncan of allying with anti-union forces seeking to “privatize” public schools and pave the way for corporate interests to profit from public funding devoted to education.
200 evacuated after train derails
HARRISON, N.J. – Authorities say 200 passengers have been evacuated from a passenger train that derailed in New Jersey.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokeswoman Erica Dumas said a PATH train struck a box truck that was crossing the tracks in Harrison, just outside of Newark, Sunday night.
Dumas said the front two wheels of the train went off the tracks.
She said four people are being treated at a hospital with minor injuries.
The train was heading from Harrison to Newark at the time of the incident, which remains under investigation.
Man’s truck believed to be cause of fire
REDDING, Calif. – Authorities believe a wildfire in Northern California was sparked by the exhaust from a truck driven by a man delivering supplies to an illegal marijuana plot.
Freddie Alexander Smoke III, 27, of Sacramento was arrested Saturday for investigation of recklessly causing a fire and illegally cultivating marijuana, according to the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection.
The fire has burned 6 square miles, or 4,000 acres, of forested land in Shasta County and destroyed 18 structures, CalFire officials said. The fire, burning in steep terrain, was just 15 percent contained Sunday morning.
Stolen car hits bus, kills one, injures 19
RICHMOND, Ind. – A car that collided with a Greyhound bus on an Indiana highway, killing the car’s driver and injuring 19 people on the bus, had just been stolen and was headed in the wrong direction, authorities said.
Phillip Lloyd, the driver of the stolen 1999 Ford Mustang, died at the scene of the Sunday morning collision on Interstate 70 near Richmond, Wayne County Sheriff Jeff Cappa said. Lloyd was from Richmond, which is about 70 miles east of Indianapolis and near the Ohio border.
The bus, which was carrying the driver and 23 passengers when it was struck, was headed from St. Louis to New York City.