Originally created 12/18/06

Across the Southeast



Use of battering ram in raid is questioned

WILMINGTON, N.C. - Two experts on SWAT team missions question the use of a battering ram by New Hanover County deputies to knock down a door in a raid that led to the shooting death of a college student suspected of stealing PlayStation 3 video game systems.

Such a "dynamic entry" tactic is commonly employed during life-threatening hostage situations or drug raids as a way to seize narcotics before they can easily be dumped down a toilet or drain.

"They can't flush a PlayStation," said David Klinger, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. "Why not just surround the place and give 'em a shout?"

Peyton Strickland, 18, and two friends, Braden Riley, 21, and Ryan Mills, 20, were suspected of beating a University of North Carolina at Wilmington student and robbing him of two PlayStation 3 consoles worth more than $600 each. Both face charges including armed robbery and assault.

According to search warrants, authorities believed the raid would be a high risk because of pictures on the Internet that showed Mr. Mills posing with guns. UNC Wilmington police said they had received information he was known to carry a weapon.

Deputy Christopher Long mistook the sound of the battering ram striking the door for hostile gunfire and unleashed a string of bullets at Mr. Strickland through the door.

Mr. Strickland was killed, and Deputy Long is being criminally investigated in his death.

Virginia's governor in England to mark sail

NORFOLK, VA. - Gov. Timothy M. Kaine will be in England this week to help mark the date three ships set sail across the Atlantic to the Virginia colony 400 years ago.

Six months later, England's Queen Elizabeth II will head to Virginia to recognize the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, America's first permanent English settlement. The ships arrived in May 1607 - 13 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts.

Although it's not known yet whether the queen will visit Jamestown during the actual anniversary in May or some other time that month, Mr. Kaine said her trip will add luster to the commemoration and already is piquing interest.

"If the people who have been angling with me to get invitations to things are any indication," Mr. Kaine said with a chuckle, "that dramatically increased" since the queen last month announced she will make a state visit to Virginia in May.

She also visited Jamestown in 1957, the year of its 350th anniversary.

Woman helps Malawi conquer its drought

BIRMINGHAM, ALA. - Colleen Burroughs was worried about the people of Malawi long before Madonna created an international sensation by adopting a child from the African nation.

Ms. Burroughs, the daughter of Baptist missionaries from Alabama, was born in Malawi. A year ago, she was stunned to see a news report about a terrible drought ravaging the country, where as many as 5 million people are at risk of starvation.

She started a nonprofit organization called Watering Malawi to raise money for irrigating the country. Teenage summer campers, churches and other groups have since donated more than $150,000 to be used mainly for buying and installing hand pumps that will draw water from deep wells.

The organization is working through the Christian humanitarian group World Vision. For $6,000, World Vision can install a pump in a village and teach people to use it, maintain it and water their gardens with it.