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CUSTOMER HITS JEWELRY STORE OWNER WITH HATCHET: EL CAJON  (AP) — Authorities in San Diego County say a customer who became angry when his credit card transaction was denied struck the owner of jewelry store in the head repeatedly with a hatchet, then fled with the victim's gun.

El Cajon police Lt. Walt Miller said officers responding to Hamlin Jewelers Wednesday afternoon found the owner suffering from several head wounds.

The victim told investigators that when the transaction did not go through, the man produced the hatchet, striking the owner numerous times. The owner fell behind the counter, pulled out a small-caliber handgun and pointed it at the assailant. Miller said the two struggled and the assailant grabbed the gun and ran.

He was last seen driving west in a tan Toyota 4-Runner.

Miller says the victim was hospitalized in good condition.



SAN QUENTIN INMATE DIES AFTER FALLING 4 STORIES: SAN QUENTIN  (AP) — State prisons officials say an inmate has died at San Quentin State Prison after a four-story fall at the facility.

The Marin County coroner says that 60-year-old convicted murderer Thomas Curby Henderson died Tuesday after being taken to the hospital following a fall from the fourth tier of his prison unit.

The coroner said Henderson's fall appeared to be a suicide.

Henderson was serving a 40-years-to-life term in prison, and was set to have his first parole hearing March 12.

Henderson was imprisoned after first-and-second-degree murder convictions in 1985 for the killing of his ex-girlfriend and her 5-year-old son in San Diego County.


BILL PROTECTS COMMUNITY COLLEGE FACULTY ON LEAVE: SACRAMENTO (AP) — The Assembly has passed a bill that allows community college faculty members to take maternity or paternity leave without jeopardizing their tenure process.

AB675 by Democratic Assemblyman Paul Fong of Cupertino makes technical changes to existing law. It passed 68-0 Thursday and heads to the Senate.

The California bill specifies that time spent on a paid leave of absence shall be included in the work time of faculty seeking tenure if the instructor completes other requirements that are spelled out in the faculty union contract.

Fong said current law provides no protection for tenure-track instructors who use paid or unpaid leave, including time off to care for a newborn. He says taking such a leave during the four-year tenure process can lead to losing a full year of service.


BODY ID'D AS MAN MISSING SINCE SAN DIEGO KILLINGS: RIVERSIDE  (AP) — A body found in the trunk of a vehicle in Riverside has been identified as a man reported missing since his fiancee and brother were found shot to death in San Diego.

Riverside police also said Thursday that 24-year-old Gianni Belvedere was also the victim of a homicide, although the manner of death wasn't disclosed.

The body was found Jan. 17 after a caller reported a foul odor emanating from the trunk of a vehicle parked in a lot on Van Buren Boulevard. San Diego police were called to the scene because the vehicle was linked to the missing person case.

Belvedere's fiancee, Ilona Flint, and his brother, Salvatore Belvedere, were shot in the head and killed in the Fashion Valley Mall parking lot at 1 a.m. on Dec. 24.


SD COLLEGE STUDENT LINKED TO THREATENING TEXTS: OCEANSIDE  (AP) — A San Diego County college student has been arrested on suspicion of sending texts threatening to kill several high school students following deadly shootings at a park last spring.

Oceanside Police Lt. Leonard Cosby said Wednesday that 18-year-old Samuel Ruiz faces charges including making criminal threats and cyber-bullying.

Authorities say the threatening texts started a day after a 13-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy were fatally shot at Oceanside's Libby Lake Park in March 2012.

A number of high school students received texts from someone claiming to be "Bart Chang," telling them they would be killed if they did not stop talking about the Libby Lake shootings.

Cosby says Ruiz, a student at MiraCosta College, admitted to detectives that he was "Bart Chang" and had sent the threatening messages.