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NEWS FROM ACROSS CALIFORNIA

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POSTED April 29, 2014 7:54 p.m.

• ABDUCTED GIRL, 3, FOUND ALIVE: HURON (AP) — A 3-year-old Central California girl was found alive, alone and apparently unharmed in a field about 12 hours after she was taken from her car seat in what sheriff’s officials believe was a stranger abduction.

On Monday, a detective spotted the girl running through a field less than a mile from her Huron apartment, where she was taken from a vehicle Sunday evening, Fresno County sheriff’s officials said.

The girl appears to have been taken by a stranger, but there was no indication she was hurt, Fresno County Sheriff’s Lt. Rick Ko said Tuesday.

Her mother told police she left the girl inside her car as she went back into her home to get her wallet around 7:45 p.m. Sunday. When she returned a few minutes later, her daughter was gone.

Witnesses say they saw a male suspect leave the area on a bicycle with the child. A BMX-style bicycle was found abandoned about a block away.

“We have nothing to tell us otherwise at this point, so until we find the suspect, and if he talks to us and tells us why he did what he did, then we’re going to have to go with what we believe, which is a total stranger,” Sheriff’s Lt. Jose Salinas told KFSN-TV.

Ko told the Fresno Bee that the bicycle and the mother’s Toyota were being processed for fingerprints in an attempt to identify a suspect.

 

• SKYDIVER DIVER DIES AFTER MIDAIR COLLISION: ACAMPO (AP) — A skydiver has died in Northern California after colliding with another diver in midair.

San Joaquin County sheriff’s Deputy Les Garcia says the two men collided about 1:30 p.m. during a parachuting trip and that one of the men fell to his death.

Garcia says the parachutists had flown out of the Parachute Center at the Lodi Airport.

The surviving parachutist suffered minor leg injuries, he says.

 

• 3 MIDDLE-SCHOOL STUDENTS HELD FOR KILLING ANIMALS: SANTA CLARA (AP) — Police say three middle-school students are under arrest for killing animals that were used as part of a Santa Clara high school’s science program.

The students arrested Monday are also suspected of breaking into the school snack shack and smashing windows and damaging vehicles used in the automotive program.

Santa Clara Unified School District spokeswoman Jennifer Dericco tells the paper that four chickens, one duck and a rabbit were killed over the weekend.

The animals were part of a campus garden at Wilcox High School, where students raised and cared for them. Eggs from the chickens were used in the culinary arts program.

 

• HATE-CRIME ATTACK DRAWS PRISON TERM: SACRAMENTO (AP) — A Northern California man has been sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison for beating a white man and a black woman in what prosecutors say was a racially motivated attack.

Perry Sylvester Jackson of Marysville was one of three men who pleaded guilty to the 2011 attack at a convenience store in Marysville, 40 miles north of Sacramento.

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that Jackson, who is 28, punched the man twice in the head through an open car window. He also used a racial slur and has the words “white power” tattooed on his legs.

The second man to plead guilty, 30-year-old Billy James Hammett, was sentenced last month to more than seven years in prison for violating the federal hate crimes law.

The third man, 33-year-old Anthony Merrell Tyler, is awaiting sentencing in July.

 

• 11 HURT IN EXPLOSION AT LOS ANGELES-AREA BUILDING: LA HABRA (AP) — An explosion and fire possibly caused by a dust buildup at a Southern California metal-polishing shop injured 11 people Tuesday, including two men who were critically burned, fire officials said.

The blast occurred in an overhead duct system shortly before 10 a.m. in an industrial area of La Habra, a Los Angeles suburb. It took more than 50 firefighters about 40 minutes to douse the resulting fire.

TV news reports showed workers with blackened faces and hands outside the plant, which was identified on a company website as Gorilla’s Polishing Corp. It is part of Gorilla’s Chrome Inc., which plates and polishes metal, particularly car wheels.

 

• FAMILY OF MAN SHOT BY DEPUTIES FILES $25M CLAIM: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The family of a Washington man who was mistakenly shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies has filed a $25 million claim against the department.

An attorney for John Winkler’s family announced the claim’s filing on Tuesday, saying the April 7 shooting was “a preventable act.” A claim can be a precursor to a lawsuit if it is rejected.

Authorities say that Winkler and two other men were taken hostage by Alexander McDonald. When deputies arrived, McDonald began stabbing the men. Winkler was shot when he burst out of the apartment in an attempt to flee.

Winkler, who was from Puyallup, Wash., moved to California six months ago to pursue a career in film and television production.

 

• LA AUTHORITIES SHOOT, KILL ARMED SUSPECT: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies have killed a man they say wounded a woman and then waved a gun at them during a streetside confrontation.

The 26-year-old man was pronounced dead shortly after 4 a.m. Tuesday, about 1 ½ hours after a report of a shooting sent deputies to an East Los Angeles street.

Arriving deputies say a gunman fired at them but missed and then vanished. A woman was hospitalized in stable condition and authorities took her children, ages 1 and 4, from a home.

The gunman later appeared in front of the home. Television reports showed him pacing the sidewalk for more than an hour, clutching a handgun and a cellphone and gesturing at deputies.

Authorities say he was shot after making a threatening move with the gun.

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