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POSTED November 27, 2012 1:22 a.m.

• SF deputy pleads not guilty to robbing bank: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco sheriff’s deputy accused of robbing a bank has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say Philip Chun Tong entered his plea during his arraignment in San Francisco Superior Court on Monday.

The 36-year-old Tong is charged with one count each of felony robbery and commercial burglary for allegedly holding up a Bank of America branch in the city’s Richmond District.

Prosecutors say Tong robbed the branch of $1,700 on Nov. 7 after he walked into the bank and handed a note to a teller demanding money.

Tong was arrested on Nov. 16 after being identified through surveillance video and fingerprints on the demand note.

Tong, who is free on $150,000 bail, has been suspended from his job without pay.

He is due back in court to set a date for his preliminary hearing on Dec. 17.



• Vallejo teen accused of kidnapping, rape: VALLEJO (AP) — A 14-year-old Vallejo boy is facing charges that he kidnapped a 65-year-old woman at gunpoint from a shopping center parking lot and raped and beat her before leaving her unconscious and duct-taped in a ditch.

Kaviar King appeared in court on Monday, but a judge rescheduled his arraignment for Dec. 3.

King has been charged as an adult with attempted murder, sexual assault and kidnapping in the Nov. 15 attack. The Times-Herald of Vallejo reports that his attorney, John Mendenhall, declined to talk to reporters after Monday’s hearing.

Authorities say King abducted the woman at dusk and forced her to drive several miles away, where he sexually assaulted and beat her before leaving her in the ditch.

As police were investigating, they say the woman’s family received a call demanding money for her return. King was arrested after allegedly returning to the scene of the abduction hours later.

Police have described the attack as random.



• Motorist shot in face by gunman in passing car: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A motorist has been shot in the face by a gunman firing from a passing car on a Los Angeles freeway.

Sgt. Rudy Alaniz says a man was driving southbound on Interstate 110 south of downtown when the gunman opened fire Sunday night.

City News Service says one of the rounds struck the victim in the cheek. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of a non-life threatening wound.

Alaniz says the victim, a Compton gang member, didn’t recognize anyone in the vehicle.



• Aggressive bird species spotted in SF: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An aggressive bird species that preys on the eggs of other birds and is known to make quite a racket has been sighted in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that as many as six male and two female great-tailed grackles have been seen at Lake Merced.

The birds are native to Latin America and the southern United States, but have been expanding their range.

They are found in relative abundance in urban Southern California and parts of the San Joaquin Valley.

The crow-sized birds have also been spotted in the San Francisco Bay area before although the Chronicle reports that their concentration at Lake Merced is unusually large.

Male grackles are black and can grow to 17 inches. Females are mostly brown. The birds like to gather before dawn to sing in what some describe as a shrieking tone.



• Orange County Sheriff says she has breast cancer: SANTA ANA (AP) — Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens says she has breast cancer, but she will continue to work through her aggressive treatment plan.

Hutchens said at a news conference Monday that she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this month.

She has already undergone her first chemotherapy treatment and it is expected to last from six to eight months. She said she plans to cut back on her public appearances.

Hutchens was appointed sheriff in 2008 by county supervisors to replace Michael Carona, who is serving a 5 ½-year prison term after being convicted of witness tampering. She was elected to the post in 2010 and she said she plans to run for a second term in 2014.



• Small quake rattles Calif high desert: HESPERIA (AP) — A small earthquake has rattled the high desert area east of Los Angeles, but there are no reports of any injuries or damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude 3.4 quake struck shortly before 5 p.m. Monday and was centered about eight miles east of Hesperia.

San Bernardino sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman says there have been no reports of any injuries or damages.

Hesperia is about 75 miles northeast of Los Angeles.



• 1 dead in helicopter fire at airport: CORONA (AP) — A pilot is dead after his helicopter exploded in flames at a Southern California airport refueling area.

The Sunday night explosion at Corona Municipal Airport hurled shrapnel that punctured the side of a hangar at the Riverside County airport.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the four-seat Robinson R-44 helicopter’s rotor blades apparently hit the structure over the fuel pumps.

The aircraft was destroyed and the pilot was killed. The name of the pilot hasn’t been released.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigator was on the scene early Monday.

The coroner’s office says the name of the pilot is being withheld.

A Corona police dispatcher says the fire was reported at 11:08 p.m. Sunday and there are no other details.



• DUI suspect who struck man was addiction counselor: TORRANCE (AP) — A woman suspected of driving under the influence when she hit a pedestrian and drove with the dying man on her hood for more than two miles had worked as a drug and alcohol counselor and was a former addict, according to her former employer.

Sherri Wilkins, 51, was arrested late Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence and manslaughter in the death of Phillip Moreno, Torrance police Sgt. Robert Watt said.

Moreno, 31, was crossing the street when he was hit and knocked out of his shoes and shorts at the scene of the collision, Watt said.

Wilkins drove with him on the hood until fellow motorists persuaded her to stop, saying later that she panicked after the accident and kept driving.

Despite a spotty background, including a previous hit and run arrest, Wilkins’ employer said she always earned high marks with her patients and didn’t show any signs of a relapse at work, according to her employer, David Lisonbee, CEO of Twin Tower Treatment.

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