By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) – Firefighters began to gain the upper hand on Monday against a Northern California wildfire that has destroyed 13 homes and blackened nearly six square miles in the drought-parched foothills east of Sacramento, officials said.
Crews had built containment lines around roughly two-thirds of the so-called Sand Fire as of Monday morning, up from only 35 percent on Sunday evening, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California police investigating the disappearance of the pregnant wife of a U.S. Marine said on Wednesday they were trying to determine whether she was a victim of foul play or left voluntarily, despite court documents showing they suspect she was murdered.
Erin Corwin, 19, was reported missing on June 28 by her husband, Marine Corporal Jonathan Corwin, after she failed to return from what she told him was a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park, near their home on the military base in nearby Twentynine Palms.
By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) – Heavily armed bank robbers who took hostages and engaged police in a running gun battle during a high-speed chase across three Northern California communities were bent on killing officers, a police chief said on Thursday.
The incident that began with a robbery at a Bank of the West branch in Stockton on Wednesday afternoon ended with two of the suspects and one of their three female hostages dead, Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The father of a 22-year-old man who killed six college students in a stabbing and shooting rampage near Santa Barbara, California, said in an interview that he initially thought his son was one of the victims and learned the grim truth only on the Internet.
Peter Rodger, an assistant director on the film “Hunger Games,” told ABC’s Barbara Walters in an interview set to air Friday on the network’s “20/20″ program that he felt anger toward his dead son, Elliot, and was trying to find love and forgiveness for him.
By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) – The U.S. government’s no-fly list banning people accused of links to terrorism from commercial flights violates their constitutional rights because it gives them no meaningful way to contest that decision, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Anna Brown, ruling in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Oregon by 13 Muslim Americans who were branded with the no-fly status, ordered the government to come up with new procedures that allow people on the no-fly list to challenge that designation.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A UCLA professor charged in a lab fire that fatally burned a Pakistani research assistant was fined $10,000 and ordered to perform community service on Friday after accepting responsibility for laboratory conditions that led to the blaze, prosecutors said.
Chemistry professor Patrick Harran, 44, acknowledged as part of a so-called deferred prosecution agreement that he was responsible for safety in the lab and was the direct supervisor of Sheharbano “Sheri” Sangji, who was killed in the 2008 fire.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, has rumbled back to life in Hawaii over the past 13 months with more seismic activity than at any time since its last eruption, scientists say, while calling it too soon to predict another blast.
The volcano, which last erupted in 1975 and 1984, has been rattled since March 2013 by earthquakes of the same type and in the same location as the temblors that preceded those explosions, said Wes Thelen, a seismologist for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A California wildfire that has already destroyed three structures and blackened some three square miles of forest land near Sequoia National Park was threatening 1,000 more homes on Monday, officials said.
More than 1,100 firefighters were battling the so-called Shirley Fire, which erupted on Friday evening on the park’s outskirts northeast of Bakersfield and prompted the evacuation of several foothill communities.
Los ANGELES (Reuters) – A social media consultant who was arrested after FBI agents found bomb-making materials and lethal toxins during a raid of his San Francisco apartment has been indicted on federal charges, prosecutors said on Friday.
A federal grand jury indicted Ryan Chamberlain, 42, on two firearms counts, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for San Francisco said in a statement. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Two Russian long-range bombers were spotted just 50 miles off the California coast earlier this week and air defense officials scrambled a pair of F-22 fighter jets to make visual identification, a NORAD spokeswoman said on Thursday.
The Russian aircraft never entered U.S. airspace during what appeared to be a routine training mission, Major Beth Smith of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said.