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State news briefs
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SUSPECTED TAGGER DIES RUNNING FROM DEPUTIES ON FREEWAY: LOS ANGELES (AP) — California Highway Patrol officials say a suspected tagger running from deputies across a Southern California freeway was struck and killed by a car.

Officer Ming Hsu (SOO) said Friday that the man died on northbound Interstate 605 in the Pico Rivera area at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday night.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies had seen the man vandalizing a wall on the west side of Whittier Boulevard.

The suspect was struck while trying to flee from the deputies. Hsu says the deputies approached the man and he crossed into the northbound lanes where he was hit in the carpool lane.

FIREFIGHTER DIES AFTER BEING HIT BY TRUCK: RIVERSIDE  (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown says a state firefighter killed on a Southern California freeway Friday was a father of one child who was expecting another.

Christopher Douglas was hit by a pickup truck while responding to a traffic collision along Interstate 10 in Riverside County. The 41-year-old Temecula native was an eight-year veteran of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Department spokesman Daniel Berlant says Douglas was declared dead at a hospital.

Douglas was an apparatus engineer and paramedic on a fire engine, which was on the eastbound side of I-10 in the Thousand Palms area when the accident occurred.

Brown released a statement praising Douglas, the father of a 2-year-old whose wife, Amy Douglas, is pregnant with their second child. Brown said capitol flags will fly at half-staff.

BODY IN RAVINE MAY BE MISSING PERSON FROM 2012: SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — Santa Barbara County officials are working to identify a body found in a car registered to a person who was reported missing in March 2012.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover says the body was discovered Thursday, after a county helicopter crew spotted the car in a ravine 300 feet below a cliff on Painted Cave Road.

The white Chevrolet pickup was in an area of thick brush and officials say they haven't determined yet if there are any other occupants in the vehicle.

Officials say it may take several weeks to positively identify the decedent.

MAN CHARGED WITH THEFT, SEXUAL ASSAULT OF HORSE: RESCUE  (AP) — A Northern California man is under arrest after police say he stole a horse and left it to die and later sexually assaulted another horse that he tried to steal.

Fifty-six-year-old Bryon Baker, a transient living in a rural area 40 miles east of Sacramento, was being held Friday on suspicion of grand theft of a horse, animal cruelty, attempted grand theft of a horse and sexual assault on an animal.

The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office said a horse was stolen from a ranch in January. The horse later died while in Baker's control, prompting community outcry.

In May, the sheriff's office linked Baker to the horse theft while investigating the theft and sexual assault of second horse.

FOURTH OF JULY FIREWORKS OPERATOR INJURED IN OJAI: OJAI (AP) — A Southern California Fourth of July fireworks show in Ojai was halted soon after it began when the 32-year-old pyrotechnic operator was injured by a premature blast.

The Ventura County Star ( reports the man suffered extensive injuries over most of his body in Thursday night's accident. He was taken to Ventura County Medical Center before being transferred to a Los Angeles hospital.

Officials don't know what caused the malfunction that ended the show at Nordoff High School about 15 minutes early.

They declined to identify the man or the pyrotechnics company. Fire and workplace safety officials are investigating the accident.