Nation & World Briefs 08-20-14 Official says four of six child hostages freed in Harvey, Ill.

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HARVEY, Ill. -- Negotiators worked late into the night in an effort to persuade two men barricaded in a home in the southern Chicago suburb of Harvey to end their standoff with police and release the last of six children and two adults they took hostage.

Four of the children had been released after hours of talks between the suspects and hostage negotiators.

Authorities said the two men took the captives after Harvey police responded to a call of a burglary in progress at a home about 12:50 p.m. Tuesday. There was an exchange of gunfire that left two officers wounded.

Harvey spokesman Sean Howard said after the shooting, the two suspects ran into a nearby home, where they barricaded themselves.

Police had initially said five children and one adult were taken captive. However, Howard said one of the children released revealed to police that there were actually six children and two adults being held. Howard would not say whether the suspects know the hostages or whether the hostages are related.

Pulls kids from reservoir: A New York City woman visiting her parents in Brookline, Mass., is being hailed as a hero for rescuing two children strapped in a stroller after they had fallen into a reservoir. The woman, who asked that only her first name, Rebecca, be used, was jogging at the Brookline Reservoir on Monday when she noticed the stroller rolling toward the water. The former lifeguard jumped in and flipped the stroller the right way, then helped haul the kids to safety.

Were willing to die: South Pasadena police on Tuesday said two teens arrested this week had developed a "huge plan" to carry out a mass school shooting in which they wanted to kill "as many people as possible." South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller told reporters at a news conference the two boys, ages 16 and 17, had researched weaponry, explosives and methods for disarming people. The teens, who have not been identified, "very cold-heartedly" discussed their plans with each other online. The teens, who were arrested Monday, also told investigators they were willing to die in a shootout with police, Miller added.

Mistakenly shoots grandson: A 7-year-old Florida boy is in critical condition after his grandmother mistakenly shot him, sheriff's deputies say. Linda Maddox, 63, was sleeping in her bedroom with her twin grandsons after their father had gone to work, said Cristal Bermudez Nunez of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Concerned about her safety, Maddox had placed a chair against the bedroom door handle for "extra protection" before going to bed at about 11:45 p.m., Bermudez Nunez said. A loaded .22-caliber revolver sat on the floor next to the mattress. Just before 1 a.m., sheriff's deputies say, Maddox heard the chair sliding against the hardwood floor. Believing there was an intruder, Maddox grabbed the gun and fired one shot toward the door. Seconds later, deputies said, she heard her grandson, Tyler Maddox, screaming. He had been shot once in the upper body, and was taken to a hospital, where he was listed in critical but stable condition.

Falls to death: The family of an avid mountain climber is grieving after the man fell hundreds of feet to his death in Yosemite National Park just hours after his girlfriend accepted his marriage proposal. Brad Parker, 36, died when he fell from the face of Matthes Crest in Tuolumne Meadows, where he was climbing alone without ropes Saturday, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported. Earlier that day, Parker and his fiancee had climbed the summit of Cathedral Peak, where he proposed, the paper reported.

Perry will fight charges: After a pre-booking gathering that doubled as a campaign-style rally, Texas Gov. Rick Perry strode into a criminal justice center in Austin on Tuesday to be booked on two felony counts that pose for him both legal and political peril. Before entering to be fingerprinted and photographed, Perry defiantly insisted that he would fight the charges against him "with every fiber of my being." As he has repeatedly since his indictment by a grand jury on Friday, Perry cast his legal fight as a struggle larger than him and centered on any citizen's constitutional rights.

Offers online recall check: The U.S. government is offering a free online service for drivers to find out if their vehicles have been recalled but not repaired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the service started Wednesday on its website, www.safercar.gov. Drivers can key in their vehicle identification number to get the results. The number can be found on the dashboard near the windshield or on the driver's door post near the latch.

Declares Ebola curfew: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a curfew and ordered security forces to quarantine a slum home to at least 50,000 people late Tuesday as the West African country battled to stop the spread of Ebola in the capital. At least 1,229 people have died of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the current outbreak, and more than 2,240 have been sickened, according to the World Health Organization. The fastest rising number of cases has been reported in Liberia, with at least 466 dead.

China chides U.S.: China, a country with its own ethnic tensions and record of excessive police action, remained quiet during the first week of clashes between protesters and law enforcement in Ferguson, Mo. That has changed in the last two days. On Monday and Tuesday, the state media of the world's largest country has stepped up coverage of the Ferguson violence and protests. It has published commentaries accusing the United States of hypocrisy in seeking to be a global guardian of human rights.

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