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Police drag away man at Capitol

 (The Spokesman-Review)
Stanko (The Spokesman-Review)
Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Washington Police dragged away a man with two suitcases on Monday who had stationed himself in front of the west side of the Capitol and asked to see the president.

The man refused to say anything else to an officer who tried to talk to him, officials said.

“He was not very responsive,” said U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer. “The officer felt it was a possible suicide bomber.”

The man was tackled by a SWAT team and charged with disobeying a police officer. A three-hour investigation of the suitcases, including blasting them with a water cannon, revealed nothing threatening, Gainer said.

He refused to identify the man other than to say he is 33 years old, from China and was carrying no identification.

The midday incident – at the peak of the cherry blossoms in one of Washington’s busiest tourist seasons – led police to evacuate the West Lawn and briefly bar tourists from the Capitol.

Lasers will warn pilots of restricted airspace

Washington The Pentagon said Monday it will use lasers to warn pilots when they have flown into restricted airspace near the Capitol, even though federal officials have warned that terrorists might use the beams of light to blind pilots as they approach airports.

More than 100 incidents have occurred nationwide since November in which laser beams were flashed into cockpits. All aircraft landed safely, but federal aviation officials are concerned that a laser could be used to blind pilots and cause a crash.

The FBI has investigated many of the incidents, and a New Jersey man was indicted last month for allegedly pointing a green laser beam at a small passenger jet.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command said its laser warning system will begin in 30 to 45 days.

Police seek ex-convict in deaths of 2 people

Myrtle Beach, S.C. Authorities have launched a nationwide manhunt for a smooth- talking ex-convict suspected of killing two people and who once vowed in a book he co-wrote with two professors that he never would return to prison.

Stephen Stanko, 37, is suspected of strangling a female librarian he lived with and shooting a man to death before stealing his pickup truck. A teen girl says Stanko raped her.

Stanko was freed from prison nearly a year ago after serving 8 1/2 years of a 10-year sentence for kidnapping. He co-wrote “Living in Prison: A History of the Correctional System With an Insider’s View” with the help of two criminology professors.

Students left stunned after fatal house blaze

Oxford, Ohio Students stunned by the deaths of three Miami University classmates in a house fire left bouquets of flowers at the site and paused for moments of silence in classes Monday, leaving the normally buzzing campus unusually still.

Fire investigators still are trying to determine what sparked the blaze in the 19th-century brick home early Sunday, sending flames shooting out the windows. Investigators believe the fire started accidentally in the living room or recreation room, Fire Chief Len Endress said.

The house, rented by nine students, was in compliance with fire safety codes.

Authorities said one of the residents used his cellphone to report the fire just after escaping through his first-floor bedroom window. He told a 911 dispatcher that a smoke detector had awakened him and he saw a red glow under his bedroom door.

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