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State news briefs
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MAN CALLS 911 BEFORE SHOOTING HIMSELF: FORT BRAGG  (AP) — Police say a 74-year-old Northern California man called 911 to report his own death moments before he shot and killed himself outside a hospital.

The man died Sunday at the emergency room of Mendocino Coast District Hospital in Fort Bragg.

Fort Bragg police Lt. John Naulty says he called 911 around 9:45 a.m. and told state fire dispatchers where they could find his body after he shot himself. Two nurses outside the hospital heard gunfire moments later.

Naulty told the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa ( that the man shot himself with a .38-revolver. Officers found his body in bushes in a parking lot on the south side of the hospital.

He was breathing, but medical staff was unable to revive him.

THIEF MAKES OFF WITH $25K COPPER SPOOL IN FREMONT: FREMONT  (AP) — Police are looking for a man who made off with a 5,600-pound spool of copper wire from a Pacific Gas and Electric storage yard in Fremont.

The copper that was stolen on Sunday was valued at more than $25,000.

The man stole a forklift from a nearby construction site, drove it through a fence at the storage yard and used it to load the spool of copper onto a flatbed truck. He then drove away.

The forklift was still running when officers arrived at the scene around 7 a.m. Sunday.

Police have released a vague description of the suspect, but have not identified him.

COUPLE CRASH $250,000 LAMBORGHINI IN SAN DIEGO: SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego police are searching for a couple who crashed a $250,000 Lamborghini only hours after it was purchased.

Police were called to a street in the La Jolla area at around 11:45 p.m. Monday. Witnesses reported that a 2008 black Lamborghini Murcielego left Interstate 5 at high speed and crashed on La Jolla Village Drive.

After the car's front end was smashed, a man and woman got out and ran off.

Police say they found paperwork indicating the car had been purchased a few hours earlier for nearly $250,000.

The driver, if found, could face charges of leaving the scene of an accident.


MOTHER OF TEEN KILLED AT LA PARK SEEKS $35 MILLION: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The mother of a special needs college student who was shot to death in a South Los Angeles park has filed a claim for $35 million in damages against the city.

The complaint by Gail Sears alleges that the city's slow response to requests for surveillance cameras at the Jackie Tatum-Harvard Recreation Center put her son and other park-goers in danger.

Her son, 19-year-old Patrick Caruthers, was shot last fall while sitting on a bench before the start of his volunteer shift at the park. Investigators said the shooting was gang related.

Cameras were installed in January.

Caruthers, who had a learning disability, was a volunteer in the Summer Night Lights program, an anti-gang effort.

LOS ANGELES UTILITY TAKES STEPS TO TURN COAL-FREE: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is taking steps to wean its dependence on coal by the middle of next decade.

The city utility currently gets 40 percent of its energy from coal-fired plants in Utah and Arizona. On Tuesday, the utility voted to amend its contract with Utah-based Intermountain Power Project to use its natural gas plant instead. The move still needs approval from City Council.

Officials say another agreement in the works to sell off LADWP's stake in the Arizona plant will make the utility coal-free by 2025. That's five years later than a promise by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who in 2009 predicted a coal-free Los Angeles in 2020.

Man in SF condo fraud gets 20 year prison sentence

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Prosecutors say a businessman convicted in an elaborate condominium fraud case in San Francisco has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon says 48-year-old Jay Shah's sentencing on Tuesday was one of the most severe punishments in the history of his office's White Collar division.

Shah and four co-conspirators were convicted last year of fraudulently taking control of a woman's three luxury San Francisco condominiums, taking out loans against the properties and laundering the money through shell companies.

The condos were valued at $5.5 million.

On Tuesday, Judge Charlene Kieselbach also ordered Shah to pay a $14.1 million fine — nearly triple the amount taken in the scheme.

One of those co-conspirators, 48-year-old Winston Lum, was also sentenced to more than 13 years in prison and fined $4.4 million on Tuesday.

HEARING IN CASE OF 5 SLAIN IN SF CONTINUED: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A hearing for the suspect in the slaying of five people inside a San Francisco home has been continued until May 3.

Binh Thai Luc appeared briefly in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday. The judge was expected to set a date for a preliminary hearing, but continued the case after Luc's lawyers said they needed more time to review evidence.

Luc, a Vietnam native, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of murder plus special circumstances of committing multiple murders, robbery, burglary and lying in wait. He was arrested days after the bodies were discovered on March 23, 2012.

Authorities have released few details about the case, including a possible motive. The weapon used has only been described as a "blunt instrument."

POLICE MAKE ARREST IN SIMI VALLEY SCHOOL VANDALISM: SIMI VALLEY  (AP) — Authorities in Ventura County have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with threatening graffiti, including swastikas, which led officials to shut down an elementary school.

Stephen Lazarus of Simi Valley was held with bail set at $50,000.

Investigators say they believe Lazarus acted alone and did not have the means to carry out any threats.

Simi Valley's Justin Elementary School was closed after the graffiti was discovered Monday. The school was to remain closed Tuesday but was reopened after police informed district officials of the arrest.

OAKLAND UNVEILS NEW COMMUNITY POLICING STRATEGY: OAKLAND  (AP) — Oakland's police chief says his department is implementing a new crime-fighting strategy that he hopes will allow officers to respond to calls more effectively.

Chief Howard Jordan says the new strategy includes dividing the city into five smaller districts, instead of two massive zones the department has been using.

In announcing the plan Monday, Jordan says the smaller districts will be led by a captain who will oversee about 60 officers. The captains will be encouraged to get more input from residents to help strengthen ties between police and the community.

Each district will also have its own citizen's advisory council.

A similar strategy to fight crime with three zones was adopted a few years ago but failed police say because of a lack of officers and equipment. The department switched to covering the city in two large zones not long after 80 officers were laid off in 2010.