LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Soul Train" host Don Cornelius was the arbiter of cool, a brilliant TV showman who used his purring, baritone voice to seduce mainstream America into embracing black music and artists.
But the "love, peace, and SOUL!" he wished viewers as he closed each show for decades escaped him as his life descended into marital trouble, illness and, finally, a fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound on Wednesday.
Police said they went to his Mulholland Drive home around 4 a.m. after receiving a call from one of his sons, who became concerned after being contacted by his father. Cornelius, 75, was found shot and was pronounced dead an hour later at a nearby hospital.
Authorities ruled out foul play, but have not found a suicide note and are talking to relatives about his mental state.
To music-hungry viewers, he was a smooth, sharp-dressed man who got them dancing to the hottest tracks going. The pop world's biggest stars recalled him as much more: A cultural groundbreaker who advanced African-American music and culture; a black entrepreneur who overcame racism by strength of will; a visionary who understood rap's emergence but criticized its rawness.
Jury awards $2M to parents
of man killed by CHP
STOCKTON (AP) — The California Highway Patrol has been ordered to pay $2 million to the family of a Northern California man who was shot and killed by two officers after he led them on a short chase and got his pickup truck stuck in a ditch.
A federal court jury in Sacramento on Tuesday found the CHP liable for battery and wrongful death in the August 2008 death of 21-year-old Joey Pinasco, who was from Escalon in San Joaquin County.
The officers said they fired 23 shots at Pinasco because they feared for their safety when the truck lurched toward them from the ditch near his home.
Witness testimony and animated reenactments suggested the pickup was moving slowly and slightly away from the officers, casting doubt on whether the gunfire was justified.
Man sentenced in '08
shooting of Modesto toddler
MODESTO (AP) — A man convicted in a 2008 drive-by shooting that critically injured a Modesto toddler is headed to prison for at least six decades.
A Stanislaus County judge sentenced 34-year-old David Lee Harper on Tuesday to 62 years to life in prison.
Prosecutors say Harper and another man in a dispute over a woman when Harper spotted him walking on a street on April 25, 2008. Harper opened fire from the passenger seat of his brother's car, and a bullet struck 1-year-old Josue Becerra while he played in front of his house.
The bullet remains lodged in the 1-year-old's spine.
The man targeted in the shooting was not injured.
Magnitude-3.4 quake in Southern Calif. desert
BRAWLEY, Calif. (AP) — A magnitude-3.4 earthquake has shaken Southern California's desert Imperial County.
The U.S. Geological Survey says in a computer-generated report that Wednesday's 11:05 a.m. quake was centered four miles south of Brawley and nine miles north of El Centro.
A Brawley police spokeswoman says there are no reports of damage.
She describes the quake as a mild, rolling sensation rather than a jolt.