The nation in brief

Posted: April 21, 2017 at 2:30 a.m.
Updated: April 21, 2017 at 2:30 a.m.

St. Louis police and Laclede Gas Co. workers gather after a fatal shooting Thursday.

Gunman slays 2 St. Louis utility workers

ST. LOUIS -- A gunman opened fire on two utility workers in a residential St. Louis neighborhood Thursday, killing both before fatally shooting himself.

The shooting happened about 11:15 a.m. on the western edge of the city. Police say the gunman walked up to the two men, who worked for Laclede Gas Co., and began shooting before turning the gun on himself.

The reason for the shooting was a mystery. Both Laclede Gas and another utility, the electric company Ameren Missouri, said they pulled workers from the streets for the rest of the day as a precaution.

Police described the St. Louis shooter as black, and both victims as white, but there was no indication the shooting was racially motivated.

Names of the victims and the shooter have not been released.

Tennessee girl found, teacher arrested

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A 15-year-old Tennessee girl was rescued near a cabin in a remote part of northern California on Thursday, more than a month after her 50-year-old teacher reportedly kidnapped her and set off a nationwide manhunt, authorities said.

Health sciences teacher Tad Cummins surrendered to sheriff's deputies in Cecilville, Calif., hours after they had set up surveillance on his vehicle, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said. The girl was apparently healthy and unharmed, and authorities said their main concern was her emotional and mental state.

Cummins faces state charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor as well as a federal charge of taking a minor across state lines to have sex.

Authorities declined to answer a question on whether the girl went willingly, saying it didn't matter.

The pair's disappearance March 13 came after Cummins was investigated by the school system when another student reported seeing the then-married teacher kiss the girl at school in Culleoka, a community about 60 miles south of Nashville.

Court papers filed recently in the girl's disappearance said she was afraid of the teacher and thought she would face repercussions at school if she resisted him.

Ad tied to S.C. killings called distasteful

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The pastor of the South Carolina church where nine worshippers were killed said that a political ad published by a candidate for a U.S. House seat is distasteful.

The Internet ad by Republican Sheri Few suggests the state's decision to take down the Confederate battle flag after the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in June 2015 was made by weak politicians who panicked.

Few, one of seven Republicans running for the seat left vacant when Mick Mulvaney became director of the federal Office of Management and Budget earlier this year, speaks while standing in front of an American flag and holding a semi-automatic rifle.

On Thursday, Emanuel AME's pastor, Eric Manning, said that the killings should never be used for political gain.

The shooter, Dylann Roof, 22, was sentenced to death by a federal jury on charges including hate crimes and obstruction of the practice of religion.

However, Few said she won't pull the ad. She said that instead of blaming the flag, lawmakers should have blamed the deranged man with the gun.

Boston charter teacher is nation's best

BOSTON -- A Massachusetts high school teacher who was named National Teacher of the Year on Thursday is believed to be the first from a charter school to win the award.

Sydney Chaffee, who teaches at the Codman Academy Charter Public School in Boston, was selected for the honor by the Council of Chief State School Officers. Last year, she became the first charter school teacher to be named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, and the council believes she is the first national award winner.

Chaffee, 34, teaches ninth-grade humanities at Codman Academy, which serves inner-city students in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. Her class teaches history and language arts by examining moments of injustice in the past, she said, ranging from decades of racial segregation in South Africa to the Haitian revolution.

She also leads the school's partnership with the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston, which provides acting classes to all freshmen and sophomores at the school.

A Section on 04/21/2017