CALIFORNIA

Grand jury indicts shooter's friend

A friend of one of the shooters in the San Bernardino massacre that killed 14 people was indicted Wednesday on charges that include conspiring in a pair of previous planned attacks and making false statements when he bought the guns used in this month's shootings, authorities said.

The indictment by a federal grand jury avoids the need for a probable cause hearing before a judge to determine whether 24-year-old Enrique Marquez Jr. should stand trial on the five counts. The charges include conspiring with shooter Syed Farook to carry out attacks in 2011 and 2012.

Prosecutors said in court documents that Marquez and Farook planned to use pipe bombs and guns to kill people at the college they attended and others stuck in rush-hour traffic on a California freeway. The plots fizzled, and they never acted. Marquez is also charged with two counts for saying in paperwork that two assault rifles he later gave to Farook were only for himself or his immediate family.

Two other counts accuse him of immigration fraud for a sham marriage with a Russian woman who was the sister of Farook's wife.

- AP
WYOMING

2015 was tough year for grizzlies

The number of grizzly bear deaths or removals in the Yellowstone region climbed to an all-time high in 2015, but biologists say they're not worried about the animal's long-term survival in the area.

The known or suspected deaths of 55 bears shouldn't interfere with plans to remove the region's grizzlies from protection under the Endangered Species Act, Frank van Manen, leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, said Wednesday.

The team of state and federal scientists and biologists estimates more than 700 grizzlies live in the Yellowstone region spanning parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. That's up from about 600 in 2010 and around 200 in the early 1980s.

One reason for this year's high number of deaths: Poor production of wild berries, possibly because of late high country frosts and snow, caused bears to wander far in search of food and putting them in harm's way.

- AP
ALASKA

FBI investigating downtown air crash

Authorities are refusing to comment on any connection between a deadly plane crash in downtown Anchorage and the fact that the pilot's wife worked in one of the buildings the plane hit.

The FBI is investigating Tuesday morning's crash that killed 42-year-old Doug Demarest during an unauthorized flight of a Cessna 172 owned by the Civil Air Patrol.

Two buildings were struck in the crash. No one on the ground was hurt, but the pilot's wife works at a law firm in one of the buildings.

FBI spokeswoman Staci Feger-Pellessier said in a statement Wednesday that FBI policy prevents commenting on an active investigation, and the agency does not expect to provide any updates for at least two weeks.

- AP