Texas rescue workers search
site of twisters that killed 10
EAGLE PASS, Texas - Dozens of search and rescue crews scoured the mangled remains of houses and trailer homes yesterday for more victims of tornadoes that killed at least 10 people in this border community and its Mexican neighbor. An 11th victim died in Louisiana.
Twisters cut across a nearly 4-square-mile area in a rural community southeast of Eagle Pass on Tuesday night, destroying two empty elementary schools, a church, businesses and homes. Several mobile homes were still missing yesterday as searchers with dogs went lot to lot.
A family of five - a girl, her parents and two other relatives - was killed when the winds blew their mobile home across the street and slammed it into Rosita Valley Elementary School.
"It was a whole family, and they were all together, probably like they were huddling," said police Officer Ezekiel Navjas.
"I've never seen nothing like this," he said, shaking his head as he walked down a dirt road lined with homes cut in half like dollhouses and mesquite treetops torn from their trunks.
Iowa machinist arrested in case
of pipe bombs mailed to firms
CHICAGO - Authorities yesterday arrested an Iowa machinist who they say sent pipe bombs in January to two investment firms in an effort to drive up stock prices in two small companies he had invested in. Authorities said the bombs, which would have been live had a single wire been connected, came with threatening letters signed "The Bishop."
John P. Tomkins, 42, a former part-time postal carrier from Dubuque, Iowa, was arrested on his way to work, and federal agents began searching his home and a storage facility, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago.
Federal authorities said they searched for months for the identity of "The Bishop" before Securities and Exchange Commission experts pinpointed Tomkins because of his ownership of a combination of stocks and other securities in Navarre Corp. and 3COM Corp. Investigators also said a car in a photograph sent in one of the packages fit the type Tomkins drives, and that his handwriting matched that on some of the envelopes.
Tomkins, a husky man with a mop of dark hair and a mustache, appeared briefly yesterday afternoon before a federal magistrate who ordered him held pending a bond hearing next week.
Tomkins, a married father of three, said little aside from acknowledging to the judge that he was aware of his rights.
Tamil Tiger figure in U.S.
is held on fundraising charges
NEW YORK - The top U.S. representative of the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group designated as a foreign terrorist organization, orchestrated a covert campaign to finance its escalating conflict with military forces in Sri Lanka, federal prosecutors said yesterday.
Karunakaran Kandasamy, 50, was ordered held without bail in New York on charges of providing material support to terrorists.
In the past several years, the group has "covertly operated within the United States, drawing on America's financial resources and technological advances to further its war of terror in Sri Lanka and elsewhere," U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf said in a statement.
Last year, the group's emissaries were charged in Brooklyn with conspiring to buy surface-to-air missiles.
The Tamil Tigers have fought the Sri Lankan government since 1983, seeking independence from the ethnic Sinhalese-dominated country after decades of discrimination.
A 2002 truce temporarily halted the civil war there that had killed at least 65,000 people, but more than 4,000 people have died since late 2005.
Fugitive search leads to death
of N.Y. trooper, possibly suspect
MARGARETVILLE, N.Y. - Authorities recovered a body last night from the shell of a house destroyed by fire after police raided it in search of a man suspected of shooting three New York state troopers, one fatally.
Police could not immediately confirm the body was that of Travis D. Trim, a 23-year-old from northern New York whom police had been looking for since a trooper was shot during a routine traffic stop Tuesday in rural upstate New York.
However, "The body was slumped in a doorway holding a rifle," said Preston Felton, acting superintendent of the New York State Police.
The dead trooper was one of two shot early yesterday when they went to the house in response to a burglar alarm.
Felton said police fired a tear-gas canister into the home about 6 p.m. as troopers stormed in to search room by room. The fire started shortly after. A robot and cameras mounted on poles had been used to check every room but one where Trim was believed holed up during the day, he said.
Sharpshooters were in position but fired no shots, Felton said.
"I can't tell you whether he was dead or alive when the fire started," he said of the person found in the house.
It was unclear who owned the property.
The first shooting Trim was accused of occurred Tuesday, after a trooper stopped him in a stolen minivan for a minor traffic infraction in the Margaretville area.
When Trim failed to provide identification, Trooper Matthew Gombosi told him he was under arrest, said Felton. Then, Felton said, Trim pulled a handgun from his waistband and shot Gombosi. His body armor saved him from serious injury, but the suspect escaped, police said.
Yesterday morning, Troopers David C. Brinkerhoff and Richard Mattson were shot while searching the Arkville farm for Trim, Felton said.
"They had a good 20 shots going back and forth," said Chan Squires, of Margaretville, who witnessed the shootings. The wounded troopers were pulled from the house by two other officers.