Nation digest 05/25/02

Saturday, May 25, 2002

Five people wounded as fistfight ends in gunfire

SAN FRANCISCO -- Five people were wounded Friday when a fistfight escalated to a gunfight, authorities said.

Police said the fight involved two people, who were both wounded. How the others were injured wasn't immediately determined.

Hospital officials said four people were shot and one was stabbed, but police said five people had gunshot wounds.

The reason for the fight was not immediately known, and no arrests had been made.

San Francisco General Hospital spokeswoman Gloria Rodriguez said one of the victims, in his 70s, apparently was a bystander who was shot in the foot.

Two people were in critical condition, one with face wounds and one with a chest wound.

Economy grows at brisk rate in first quarter

WASHINGTON -- The economy sprang back from last year's recession with a little less oomph in the first quarter than previously thought, and analysts believe it has lost more steam since then.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that gross domestic product -- which measures the total output of goods and services produced within the United States -- grew at an annual rate of 5.6 percent in the January-March quarter.

Although that represented the strongest performance in the GDP in nearly two years, it was a slightly slower pace than the 5.8 percent growth rate estimated a month ago and was a bit weaker than many analysts were expecting.

"The recession is clearly over, but there are major questions about how this recovery will be through the rest of the year," said David Seiders, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders.

Gas leak likely cause of explosion in California

LOS ANGELES -- A preliminary investigation indicates that a gas leak sparked an explosion and fire at a three-story residential complex in the San Fernando Valley on Friday that critically injured a man.

"We have nothing further to indicate that there was any other source," deputy fire chief Jim Hill said.

There was no sign of any connection to a recent federal warning that terrorists could target apartment buildings.

A man with third-degree burns was hospitalized in critical condition, Hill said. Mayor James Hahn said two other people were hospitalized because they were traumatized.

Inmate uses same route he used in '91 escape

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A murder suspect who escaped from jail 11 years ago broke out again using the same hole in the same fence.

"You just scream when you hear something like that," said chief jailer Marron Hopkins.

David Ivy, 30, escaped May 16 by crawling through a hole in a fence around an inmate recreation area on the Shelby County jail roof and climbing down a drainpipe.

Ivy first escaped from the Memphis jail in 1991.

Jailers could not explain why the hole had not been repaired. It has now been closed.

Ivy was released from prison two years ago after serving eight years on a 31-year sentence for robbery and second-degree murder. He was jailed again last year, awaiting trial on first-degree murder in the shooting death of a 25-year-old woman.

Stores refuse tabloid with Columbine photos

DENVER -- Several grocery chains in Colorado have refused to carry Friday's editions of a supermarket tabloid that published leaked photographs of the Columbine gunmen's bloodied bodies.

The National Enquirer published the leaked crime-scene photographs Friday along with an article alleging teen-age gunman Eric Harris killed Dylan Klebold. Authorities have said the two committed suicide after killing 13 other people on April 20, 1999.

Safeway, 7-Eleven, King Soopers and City Market stores in Colorado refused to carry Friday's edition.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Tallman said authorities had not determined the source of the leaked crime-scene photographs.

-- From wire reports

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