Nation/world 12/27/05

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Police search for motive after man kills 4, himself

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Police said Monday that a Virginia man who killed four people, then himself, on Christmas Day had a history of mental problems. Still, police were trying to determine a motive for the rampage. "Perhaps we'll never be able to answer the question that is most prevalent, and that is why," said Col. David Rohrer, chief of the Fairfax County, Va., Police Department. Investigators believe Nathan W. Cheatham shot and killed his mother in the driveway of her McLean home. He then drove 10 miles to a home in Great Falls and fired more than 50 shots that killed three other people, before turning the gun on himself.

Schwarzenegger's name taken off soccer stadium

VIENNA, Austria -- Officials in Arnold Schwarzenegger's hometown of Graz quietly and under cover of darkness removed giant metal letters spelling out his name on a soccer stadium. The California governor had asked for his name to be stricken from the 15,300-seat arena after critics in his birthplace, where opposition to capital punishment runs high, scorned him for refusing to block this month's execution of convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams.

Gunfire erupts in Toronto shopping district; 1 dead

TORONTO -- Gunfire erupted on a busy Toronto street filled with holiday shoppers Monday evening, killing a young woman and wounding six other people, police said. They said two suspects were arrested and at least one gun was seized shortly after the 5:30 p.m. Monday violence near the popular Eaton Center shopping mall. Police said they were investigating if violence was gang related. They did not immediately disclose if the two people arrested were suspected of opening fire or how many attackers were involved.

Russia gas attack may be business dispute

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- A gas attack in a home-supply store on one of the busiest shopping days of the year sickened scores of people Monday in an incident that police called likely motivated by a commercial dispute or blackmail attempt. Boxes containing timers wired to glass vials were discovered at the scene of the attack and three other stores in the same chain in Russia's second-largest city. Seventy-eight people sought medical care: 66 were briefly hospitalized and sent home without any lasting ill effects, officials said. St. Petersburg police spokesman Vyacheslav Stepchenko said the gas appeared to be methyl mercaptan, a gas that smells like rotten cabbage and is both naturally occurring and manufactured for use in plastics and pesticides. Chemist Lev Fyodorov, head of an environmental group called For Chemical Safety, said the gas rarely has long-lasting effects.

-- From wire reports

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