Nation Briefs 01-16-14 Three are dead after shooting at grocery store in Elkhart, Ind.


ELKHART, Ind. -- A gunman walked into a northern Indiana grocery store and fatally shot two people Wednesday night before he was killed by police.

Elkhart police received a call about an active shooter at Martin's Super Market about 10 p.m. Wednesday, Indiana State Police Sgt. Trent Smith said at a news conference.

A gunman used a semi-automatic handgun to shoot and kill a woman, then walked to another aisle and shot and killed another woman, Smith said. One victim was an employee and appeared to be in her late teens or early 20s, and the other was a shopper who appeared to be in her 40s, he said. They were found about 12 aisles apart.

The shooter was pointing his gun at a third person when police arrived, Smith said. Elkhart police then shot and killed the gunman, who Smith said lived in the area and was in his early 20s. A large knife was also found near the man's body. The identities of the women and gunman were not released. Police do not know if the shooter knew the victims.

Nearly 400 kids removed: Nearly 400 children have been removed from Arizona homes identified through thousands of child abuse and neglect reports that were ignored in recent years, according to new figures released by a special team created by Gov. Jan Brewer after the reports came to light in November. The findings are from a team reviewing more than 6,500 reports that the state's Child Protective Services agency failed to investigate over the past four years. They show just how badly the state's child welfare authorities botched their reviews of incoming calls to an abuse hotline.

Ex-pastor convicted of rape: Michael Clare, a former New York minister, has pleaded guilty to raping two teenage girls, one of whom belonged to his congregation. Prosecutors said Clare was convicted of rape on Wednesday. Under the terms of the plea deal, he will be sentenced to five years in prison and will register as a sex offender. Clare was the pastor of the Harvest Worship Center International in the Bronx. He admitted performing the acts with a 13-year-old girl in 2007 at his home and with a 14-year-old girl later. Clare is from Jamaica and faces deportation.

DHS has lent border drones: Government records show that the Homeland Security Department has lent its border drones to other state, local and federal agencies nearly 700 times in the past three years. The Electronic Frontier Foundation said Customs and Border Protection flew its 10 drones 687 times for agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, the Navy and Coast Guard and local law enforcement agencies. The civil liberties group got the records through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The records do not name which sheriff's offices or local police departments were able to use the surveillance drones.

Challenge dismissed: U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman has dismissed a challenge to part of the new health care law, ruling that the IRS may provide tax credits to residents of states that have declined to establish their own health insurance exchanges. Friedman said the IRS regulation enabling people to buy competitively priced health insurance is consistent with the purpose of the Affordable Care Act. Some employers who filed suit argued that the law authorizes tax credits only for people who buy coverage through state-run exchanges. Friedman said there is no evidence that Congress intended to condition tax credits on whether a state ran its exchange. The federal government is running exchanges in 36 states that did not set up their own.

Congress wants more potatoes: Nutritionists say Americans don't need more white potatoes. Congress disagrees -- again. Lawmakers are encouraging the agriculture secretary to allow low-income pregnant and nursing mothers to buy white potatoes with the vouchers they receive as part of a government program. That goes against the advice of the Institute of Medicine, which advises the government on health issues. The institute has said that recipients of such aid already eat enough white potatoes. White potatoes are often used to make french fries, which are usually fried or baked in unhealthy fats and oils.

JCPenney to cut jobs, close 33 stores: Struggling department-store operator JCPenney announced it will cut 2,000 jobs and close 33 stores as it tries to get back on the path to profitability. The news raises concerns that Penney's holiday season sales were not what the company hoped for and that the chain needs to do even more to recover from a turnaround plan that has had disastrous results. The cuts announced Wednesday should save more than $65 million annually. The company will take $26 million in pretax charges in the third quarter and $17 million in future quarters. Penney has 116,000 staffers and operates more than 1,100 stores. All the job cuts are related to the store closings.

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