Originally created 05/05/04

Across Georgia



9-year-old carries gun onto school bus

MOULTRIE - A third-grade boy was found with a loaded gun on a school bus.

The 9-year-old boy apparently had the gun all day at Odom Elementary School before it was found Monday afternoon, investigative reports said.

The gun belonged to the boy's parents, who reportedly kept it hidden in their home.

The child did not seem as though he planned to hurt anyone with the gun and did not exhibit any unruly behavior, authorities said.

Police standoff ends when suspect is shot

COLUMBUS - A three-hour standoff ended when Columbus police shot a suspect.

Officers were called to the scene at about 6:30 p.m. Monday after someone reported shots being fired, authorities said.

Officers arrived to find a man walking down the street. He fired at them, hitting an officer's police car, authorities said. The man then went into a home.

Additional officers were then called in, including the hostage negotiation and the special weapons teams.

The suspect fired more shots while inside the house, some in the direction of police officers, Police Chief Willie Dozier said.

Eventually, the suspect came out of the house naked and "with a weapon in hand," Chief Dozier said.

The man was shot once in the lower abdomen shortly after 9:30 p.m. and was taken to the hospital.

The extent of the man's injuries were not immediately known.

House panel approves indigent defense bill

ATLANTA - During a ho-hum special session Tuesday, a House committee approved a bill to raise about $57 million for indigent defense, setting up a vote today on the only bill being considered.

The House Special Judiciary Committee approved the measure with little debate.

The bill would raise court fees and fines to pay for a new central system of providing legal defense for poor people accused of crimes.

Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue called the special session - which started Monday and should be done by the end of the week - because he said the state budget would not balance without that court fees bill.

Democrats, however, called the special session unnecessary as soon as Mr. Perdue called it and continued the drumbeat Tuesday.

Explosion destroys residence, kills two

CARROLLTON - Two people died Tuesday when an apparent natural gas leak at a Carroll County home ignited, destroying the residence.

Glenn Allen, a spokesman for the state Fire and Insurance Commission, confirmed there were two fatalities in the explosion.

Atlanta Gas Light spokesman Nick Gold, who was on his way to the scene Tuesday afternoon, said there apparently was an independent contractor at the home working on the gas line.

Carrollton firefighters shut down Cherry Lane after the explosion.

Gorilla at Zoo Atlanta dies unexpectedly

ATLANTA - Caesar the silverback gorilla, who came to Zoo Atlanta from Los Angeles last year, died unexpectedly Tuesday.

Caesar, 26, had a gastrointestinal problem during the past week, but zoo spokeswoman Helen Bioty said the illness had been treated and seemed under control. He was not on public display when he died at about 2 p.m.

No other health problems had been detected. An official cause of death was to be determined by a necropsy.

Known as the first gorilla born by Caesarian section, hence his name, Caesar was an overweight lowland gorilla, in excess of 600 pounds, when he arrived on loan from the Los Angeles Zoo on Aug. 28.

Zoo officials hoped he would mate with females in the family of popular Zoo Atlanta mascot Willie B., who died in 2000 at age 42.