Nation digest 01/30/02

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Gunman accused in triple slaying captured

CALL, Texas -- A fugitive suspected of killing three people and wounding two others was captured by police Tuesday, more than 24 hours after the shooting rampage across parts of two counties.

The 42-year-old man was arrested near Call, about 30 miles north of where the slayings occurred. No other details were immediately released about his capture.

Authorities had used dogs as they searched the woods along the Newton County-Jasper County line in Southeast Texas for the man, identified by authorities as Perry Stevenson.

Stevenson was wanted in Monday's shooting deaths of Mirian McElroy, 52 and two sisters, ages 10 and 14.

Hostages slip away from would-be robber

ALHAMBRA, Calif. -- A man demanding $50,000 and claiming to have a gun took nine employees hostage at a suburban Los Angeles bank Tuesday, police said. All were released or escaped before the suspect surrendered.

The man had been negotiating his surrender when his last few hostages slipped out the front door or a bathroom window, Sgt. David Nater said.

The man, believed to be in his 30s, walked into the Cathay Bank branch shortly before 9:30 a.m., told employees he was armed and demanded the money, Nater said.

Bank employees gave him an undisclosed amount of money and triggered a silent alarm.

WTC burn victim released from hospital

NEW YORK -- A woman who was severely burned at the World Trade Center was released from the hospital Tuesday after four months of treatment, saying "I want to get back to the way I was."

Her face bandaged, Elaine Duch, 49, told reporters at Weill Cornell Hospital's Burn Center that she was on the 88th floor of the one of the twin towers on Sept. 11 when she was injured. Rescuers helped her get down.

"I thank God that I'm here today," said Duch. "Because when I got hurt on 88, I said, 'God save me,' and he did."

Duch is the 11th trade center burn patient to be released from the medical center.

ACLU wants 'Jesus is Lord' signs taken down

NEW ORLEANS -- The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday demanding the removal of signs outside a southeastern Louisiana town that proclaim: "Jesus is Lord over Franklinton."

ACLU officials said public money was used to put up the signs on state roads, violating the constitutional separation of church and state. The suit names the town, its mayor and surrounding Washington Parish as defendants.

Franklinton Mayor Earle Brown said the town had nothing to do with the signs.

"We have no knowledge of who put them up," he said.

-- From wire reports

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