Gunman kills 6 in Philadelphia suburbs; holed up in house
A gunman apparently targeting his ex-wife and family members killed six people in three towns in suburban Philadelphia on Monday before barricading himself in a house. A man believed to be Bradley William Stone, 35, broke into his ex-wife’s Harleysville apartment around 4 a.m., fired multiple shots and escaped with their two children, neighbors said. He then went to the nearby communities of Lansdale and Souderton, killing a total of six people, authorities said. Stone had a “familial relationship” to all the victims, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said. He also said the two children Stone took from his ex-wife’s house were safe. Evan Weron, a neighbor of Stone’s ex-wife, Nicole Stone, said, “She would tell anybody who would listen that he was going to kill her, and that she was really afraid for her life.” Police surrounded a home in Pennsburg yelling, “Bradley, this is the police department! Come to the front door with your hands up. You’re under arrest.” The Stones, who filed for divorce in 2009, had recently been fighting over custody of their children.
Gunman, two hostages killed in long standoff in Sydney
A 16-hour hostage standoff in Sydney, Australia, ended with two hostages and the gunman dead after police stormed the cafe where he was holding them. The gunman was identified as Man Haron Monis, an Iranian who was out on bail on charges of being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife and of sexual assault in 2002. He had also been charged with sending offensive letters to families of troops killed in Afghanistan. After a long standoff during which hostages could be seen in the windows of the Lindt Chocolat Cafe, police moved in when they heard shots fired. “They made the call because they believed that at that time, if they didn’t enter, there would have been many more lives lost,” he said. Police wouldn’t say whether the two hostages who died were killed by the gunman or died in crossfire. Monis’ former lawyer, Manny Conditsis, said, “This is a one-off random individual. It’s not a concerted terrorism event or act. It’s a damaged goods individual who’s done something outrageous. His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness.”
Sandy Hook victims’ families file suit against rifle makers, sellers
Families of nine people killed in the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn., on Monday sued the manufacturer and distributors of the Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle used in the shooting, claiming that because of the rifle’s power it should not have been sold to civilians. “In order to continue profiting from the sale of AR-15s, defendants chose to disregard the unreasonable risks the rifle posed outside of specialized, highly regulated institutions like the armed forces and law enforcement,” the complaint reads. The defendants — Bushmaster, firearm distributor Camfour and the now-closed Riverview Gun Sales in East Windsor — could not be reached for comment. A 2005 law shields gun manufacturers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products, but it has an exception for cases where companies should know a weapon is likely to be used in a way that could harm others. A lawyer for the Newtown families, Katie Mesner-Hage, said the lawsuit appears to be the first of its kind against a manufacturer to claim that exception.
China clears man of crime 18 years after executing him
A Chinese man was exonerated Monday in the 1996 rape and murder of a woman in a public toilet 18 years after he was executed for the crime. The Inner Mongolia Higher People’s Court announced that it had overturned the conviction of Huugjilt, who used only one name, after a convicted serial rapist and murderer confessed to the killing in 2005 after receiving a death sentence for other crimes. That man has not been tried in the toilet killing and has not yet been executed. Huugjilt, who was 18 at the time, became a suspect when he reported having found the woman’s body in a public toilet after hearing a cry for help. A court official offered his “sincere apologies” to the boy’s parents, who received $5,000 as an expression of the court’s sympathy and can file for an unspecified amount of compensation.
Spot may not have a spot in heaven after all
A widely disseminated story saying that Pope Francis comforted a boy whose dog died by telling him that he would see his dog in heaven turns out to be completely untrue. Or rather, something of the sort happened, but it was a different pope and it was decades ago. On Friday it was widely reported, including in “The Wire,” that Francis recently comforted a distraught boy by saying, “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.” But in fact, a version of that quote was spoken by Pope Paul VI, who died in 1978. Francis did not repeat the words during a public audience on Nov. 26, nor was he comforting a boy who lost his dog, Religion News Service reports. Francis was saying the end times are not “the annihilation of the cosmos and of everything around us, but the bringing of all things into the fulness of being.” From there, an Italian news report took up the question of whether animals would go to heaven, and it quoted Pius VI. Confusion ensued, and next thing you know the New York Times had a front-page story saying that according to Pope Francis our pets will go to heaven. The Times has since written a lengthy correction. Sorry, Spot.
The Wire, a summary of top national and world news stories from the Associated Press and other wire services, moves weekdays. Contact Karl Kahler at 408-920-5023; follow him at twitter.com/karl_kahler.