• 2 DROWN IN MERCED-AREA LAKE: MERCED (AP) — Two men have drowned at Lake Yosemite outside of Merced after they jumped from a bridge.
The Merced Sun-Star reports the incident was reported after 2 p.m. Thursday. Sheriff’s officials said the men jumped from the bridge and when one of them didn’t surface, the other swam back for him. Both men disappeared under the water and a dive team was searching for their bodies.
One of the victims was in his 40s and the other was in his 20s.
• TRACTOR DRIVER KILLED IN MAINE JULY 4TH PARADE: BANGOR, Maine (AP) — Police in Maine say a crash between a tractor and a fire truck during Bangor’s Fourth of July parade has left one person dead.
Sgt. Paul Edwards tells WABI-TV (http://bit.ly/125ARCY) that the tractor was hit from behind by an old fire truck Thursday. The driver of the tractor was killed.
The fatal accident happened after the parade was rerouted because of a nearby police standoff with an armed man. Police evacuated an apartment building where a man they described as despondent was holed up and asked parade spectators to stay away from the downtown area.
The man fired about 70 rounds out of a window. He was taken into custody late Thursday morning.
• OBAMAS THANK TROOPS DURING WHITE HOUSE BARBECUE: WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is noting that it’s not just the nation’s birthday, it’s his daughter Malia’s, too.
At a sun-splashed Independence Day barbeque on the White House South Lawn, the president and first lady Michele Obama thanked members of the military for their service to the nation. The Declaration of Independence was adopted 237 years ago on July 4, 1776. Malia Obama turned 15 on Thursday.
The Obamas spoke to the crowd and then spent about 10 minutes shaking hands and posing for pictures with babies dressed in red, white and blue ahead of evening fireworks on the National Mall.
The USO sponsored the event and expected about 1,200 military personnel and their families to attend. Also there were members of Obama’s administration and their families.
• COPS SEEK MAN WHO RAPPELLED DOWN BROOKLYN BRIDGE: NEW YORK (AP) — New York City police are hunting for a daredevil who rappelled down the side of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Police say witnesses reported a man climbing down the bridge around 9 a.m. Thursday on the mesh installed as part of ongoing construction. He couldn’t make it down from there and used some type of hose to descend the Brooklyn side and drop onto a building where he vanished.
Investigators swept the bridge and roadways and found no sign of the man and no sign of danger.
• RIVAL SOCCER FANS BRAWL AT LAS VEGAS MATCH: LAS VEGAS (AP) — Witnesses Thursday described a chaotic scene when brawls broke out among rival soccer fans at a Las Vegas match.
Violence began in the parking lot Wednesday night when fans from two rival Mexican soccer teams — Chivas and Club America — arrived at Sam Boyd Stadium.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports fans threw rocks and bottles at each other before dozens of police officers moved in to quell the violence.
But the incident set the tone for the rest of the night, as unruly fans threw punches, tossed bottles and set off fireworks and flares during and after the match.
“It was probably the most surreal sporting event I have ever been to,” said Adam Berchin, a freelance writer who covered the game for The Associated Press.
Berchin said a scuffle broke out between the two teams halfway into the game, after two players got into a shoving match on the field.
“In no time both sides were all in one massive scrum,” Berchin said.
He and AP freelance photographer David Becker said during the match flares were thrown onto the field and fireworks were being set off in the stands.
• TOWN REMEMBERS THE 4TH, FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS: PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — They remembered the Fourth, but also the 19.
At Bistro St. Michael on Whiskey Row in this old West town, 19 candles burned beneath red, white and blue bunting, one for each firefighter killed last weekend battling a wildfire not far from the place they called home.
In a quiet neighborhood near the high school, which at least five of them attended, 19 miniature U.S. flags were planted in front yards, each pole tied with the purple ribbon that commemorates fallen firefighters.
At the makeshift memorial on the fence that wrapped around the elite Hotshots firefighting team’s headquarters, people left 19 potted plants, 19 pinwheels, 19 handwritten cards, 19 religious candles.
On a day meant to ponder the nation’s birth, and those who built and defended it over 237 years, Prescott’s residents had 19 of their neighbors, their friends, their relatives to remember.
“I just wanted to thank them and let them know that they’re heroes and that they’re missed,” said Susan Reynolds, who hung a piece of fabric with an expression of thanks on a string of panels that hung like a prayer flag on the fence.
• RAPPER 50 CENT DENIES KICKING EX-GIRLFRIEND: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rapper 50 Cent denies allegations he attacked his ex-girlfriend and trashed her condo.
The “In da Club” singer’s lawyer says there’s no warrant outstanding on the domestic violence and vandalism charges against 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson.
If convicted, he faces up to five years in jail and $46,000 in fines.
The woman told police that during a June 23 argument, Jackson began destroying property at her Toluca Lake condo before she locked herself into a bedroom. She says Jackson kicked open the bedroom door and kicked her, causing injury.
Police estimated about $7,100 in damage to the home.
The woman told police she had been in a three-year relationship and has a baby with Jackson.