Nation briefs 03/31/03

Monday, March 31, 2003

Kentucky native killed in Central America

MOUNT VERNON, Ky. -- A Kentucky native who was working as a missionary in Central America was shot and killed during a robbery in Guatemala, according to published reports.

Todd Fields, 41, had been a missionary in Honduras for 13 years. He was leading a group of high school students on a retreat to Guatemala on Friday when the group was robbed, Elizabeth Hammons, Fields' mother-in-law, told the Lexington Herald-Leader for a story in Sunday editions.

Hammons, of Mount Vernon, said she believes Fields was driving a van carrying two other adult missionaries and the children of other missionaries.

"Men in a van pulled up alongside their van and tried to get them to stop and tried to run them off the road," Hammons said. Fields, in turn, "tried to get away and to run them off the road."

At some point, Fields was shot, and the robbers then took the other two adults and students to a secluded spot and robbed them, the newspaper reported. No one else was harmed, Hammons said.

Fields lived in Honduras with his wife, Lynnell, and two daughters, Savannah, 14, and Sophia, 10.

During the past 13 years, the couple had been affiliated with Global Outreach International of Tupelo, Miss.

Gunman kills man during Michigan church service

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. -- A gunman stood up during a church service Sunday and repeatedly shot a man with whom he had been feuding, killing him in front of his two children. At least seven people were injured trying to flee the building, some by leaping out windows, authorities said.

The priest at St. Paul's Albanian Church was preparing to distribute the sacrament when the attacker stood up, yelled, "Yes, I am here" and shot the victim in the back of the head and several more times after that, said witness Luigi Gjokaj, 42. He then fired into the air and yelled, "I done what I was supposed to do."

Some of the approximately 1,000 churchgoers fled after the shots, most running for the doors while a few leapt through windows, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said. The suspect was wrestled to the ground by nearby worshippers, one of whom was injured as he sought to subdue him.

The shooter was in custody Sunday evening, but had not yet been charged, police said. His identity was not released.

Man arrested in string of NYC shootings

NEW YORK -- A man who allegedly wanted to harm people of Middle Eastern descent because of his anger over the World Trade Center attack has been arrested in a string of New York workplace shootings that left four people dead.

Larme Price, 30, of Brooklyn, was arrested Saturday after admitting to the shootings in a telephone conversation with investigators, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Sunday. Police were charging Price with four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder in the attacks, all of which came in Brooklyn and Queens.

"This is a disturbing case," Kelly said. "One man's twisted view has led to the murder of four people. This department will not tolerate anger against immigrants or crimes of bias."

Price, who is unemployed, contacted police and said he had information about the killings, Kelly said. When they called him to come in for an interview, he admitted to the killings over the phone and said he had been motivated by the Sept. 11 attacks, Kelly said.

The shootings, which came at convenience stores, supermarkets and other workplaces, began Feb. 8.

-- From wire reports

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