NewsQuirks 708

Slightest Provocations

Sharif Cook, 27, of Camden, N.J., was indicted on charges that he fatally shot his boss because he failed to pick Cook up for work.

Milwaukee police said they were looking for a 13-to-15-year-old suspect who shot Tyrone Turnage, 17, twice during a basketball scrimmage at a church recreation center after a dispute over a foul.

A charity fund-raiser in Revere, Mass., hosted by New England Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest ended in a brawl involving 300 people. Police said the fight was caused by tensions over long coat-check lines as people left. Police in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., reported that Irving Rosenberg, 74, died when he fell and hit his head on the sidewalk after being punched by Seymour Schuss, 68. Witnesses said that Schuss's wife complained that Rosenberg was taking too long to buy movie tickets. Rosenberg told her to shut up, and Seymour Schuss attacked him.

Police in St. Paul, Minn., who arrested Richard Brian Bruestle, 38, for murdering his 50-year-old aunt said that he told them he shot and stabbed the woman after an argument over the way her chili tasted. When he complained, she ordered him to leave and tried to call 911. He stopped her, then chased her to a neighbor's house, where he stabbed her about 15 times in the back, chest and stomach with a butcher's knife. According to the criminal complaint, Bruestle told police "he decided to 'finish this right,' so he went back to the house and got the gun and went back to the neighbor's house and fired it repeatedly at the victim."

Career Move

Koko, the 31-year-old lowland gorilla who is famous for using sign language to communicate with humans, has written lyrics for a musical album. According to Koko's keepers, the album, titled "Fine Animal Gorilla" after Koko's term for herself, runs the musical gamut, from lullabies to rap to reggae. Producer Skip Haynes explained that although Koko doesn't perform on the album, she approves the lyrics sung by human vocalists and "actually listens to different mixes and tells us what mix she likes."

The Price of Free Speech

Two years ago, the town of Virgin, Utah, passed a law requiring every home to have a gun for self-defense. The ordinance was later declared a violation of state law. Last year, Virgin Mayor Jay Lee decided that Town Council meetings were too long, so he began charging residents that wanted to speak at them $25. In October, dozens of people packed the council chamber for a meeting, only to have Lee announce that this time he was canceling the public comment period to save time.

Homeland Security

Richard H. Barnes Jr. bolted a trailer with a 100-gallon fuel tank to his Mazda sedan, then set off from San Antonio, Texas, determined to make it to New York City without refueling in honor of Veterans Day. On the way, Barnes stopped in Washington, D.C., where Capitol police spotted his rig in a no-parking zone outside the U.S. Capitol. After seeing the sign on the trailer, "One 100 gal tank on all way to NYC," and noticing decals mentioning the Fire Department of New York and the World Trade Center, officers summoned fire department officials, who declared it a "potentially very dangerous situation." Police confiscated the trailer and ticketed Barnes for operating an unsafe vehicle.

Thanks for Nothing

New Orleans police accused Herbert Toney, 36, and Latisha Washington, 29, of instructing their 8-year-old son to steal groceries and beer from a supermarket, then when he was caught denied knowing him. The boy set off a security scanner alarm when he tried to leave the store with a shopping cart containing the stolen items, but he said his father, who was outside the store, had a receipt. Toney and Washington told store security officers they didn't know the child and walked away. Sheriff's deputies brought them back to the store, where they said they recognized the boy from their neighborhood. After more questioning, the mother admitted he was their son.

Siren Song

Government Acquisitions LLC of Charlotte, N.C., has begun selling advertising space on patrol cars owned by cash-strapped police departments around the country. Departments that agree to put ads on its patrol cars, usually on the hood or on the side and rear, receive new patrol cars for $1 from the company, which replaces them every three years and keeps the ad revenue. So far, 20 mostly smaller municipalities have signed up. "Due to a lack of government funding and tight budgets, police departments across America don't have the equipment they need," Ken Allison, president of Government Acquisitions, said. "If you're home at night with your wife and kids, and some maniac breaks into your house, you call 911 and you want a police car there. You don't care if there's Burger King logo on the trunk.

Lesson Learned

When an armed man broke into the home of Theodore and Marion Golden of Chatham, Mass., he demanded $10,000 in cash. The couple, both in their 80s, told him they only had $450 but offered to write a check for the balance. Police said Theodore Golden deliberately filled out the check wrong, listing the payee as "Ten thousand dollars" and never filling in an individual's name. Vadin S. Kharichkov, 21, was arrested the next day when he tried to cash the check. The Russian citizen told Detective David R. Hagstrom that he wasn't familiar with U.S. banking procedures.

Instant Karma

Two days after Evelyn Krzeminski, 82, of Adams, Mass., was convicted of vehicular homicide for running down a 61-year-old woman in a pedestrian crosswalk, she was knocked to the ground in a parking lot by a car driven by a 74-year-old man who had stopped to close his trunk but neglected to put the transmission in park. The fall seriously injured Krzeminski's left hand.


Louisiana oyster distributor Leroy "Lee Lee" Chauvin, 70, received complaints after he perfected a process for purifying oysters and began advertising them as "Certified Kosher." Shellfish, he learned, cannot be kosher. Chauvin explained that he labeled his oysters because he remembered a Jewish cook he met in the 1950s telling him that kosher meant food was pure.

Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to POB 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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