TEXAS: Cops kill boy with pellet gun
Police shot and killed an eighth-grader in the hallway of his middle school in Brownsville on Wednesday after the boy brandished what looked like a handgun and pointed it at officers. It turned out to be a pellet gun. Shortly before, the boy had walked into a classroom and punched a boy in the nose for no apparent reason. The boy, identified as Jaime Gonzalez, 15, did not threaten students or teachers, and no one else was hurt. Two officers fired three shots, hitting him at least twice, police said. The boy's godmother, Norma Leticia Navarro, said she couldn't imagine why he would have taken a gun to school.
CALIFORNIA: 37 arson counts in L.A. spree
A German man was charged Wednesday with 37 counts of arson in connection with a rash of fires that terrorized Los Angeles over the New Year's weekend. Harry Burkhart, 24, was charged with 28 counts of arson of property and nine of arson of an inhabited structure, District Attorney Steve Cooley said. He was ordered held on $2.85 million bail and could face several dozen years in prison if convicted. Arraignment was set for Jan. 24. Burkhart is suspected of setting more than 50 blazes that caused an estimated $3 million in damage in the Hollywood and Sherman Oaks sections of Los Angeles and the city of West Hollywood. Authorities said they believe he was angry over his mother's legal troubles and went on a nighttime rampage of burning parked cars a day after she appeared in court last week. His mother, Dorothee Burkhart, said in court Tuesday that her son is mentally ill. She is charged in Germany with 19 counts of fraud, including failing to pay for a 2004 breast-augmentation surgery and pilfering security deposits from renters.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords plans to attend a candlelight vigil Sunday, exactly one year after she and 18 others were shot outside a Tucson supermarket. Her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, will be a speaker at the University of Arizona event.