Gunman at large after deadly Calif quarry shooting

Posted Oct. 05, 2011, at 10:06 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 06, 2011, at 5:24 a.m.

CUPERTINO, Calif. — The search for a disgruntled employee accused of killing three co-workers and injuring six others at a Northern California limestone quarry brought SWAT teams in armored vehicles to the normally quiet streets of Silicon Valley on Wednesday.

The hunt for Shareef Allman of San Jose began after authorities said he opened fire at a routine safety meeting at Permanente Quarry around 4:15 a.m. and later wounded a woman in a failed carjacking.

Schools were closed or on lockdown in Cupertino, home of Apple Inc., and in neighboring communities as authorities went door to door with guns drawn and residents were warned to stay indoors.

Meanwhile, friends and neighbors expressed disbelief and sadness at the possibility the man they knew as an outgoing, engaged member of the community could have committed such horrific acts of violence.

Allman became upset and left the meeting then returned with a handgun and rifle and started shooting people, Santa Clara County sheriff’s Lt. Rick Sung said. About 15 workers were at the meeting during the shooting, which authorities said lasted about two minutes.

Sheriff Laurie Smith said two people were pronounced dead at Permanente Quarry in the foothills outside Cupertino, and a third person died later at a hospital.

Six others at the quarry were wounded and taken to hospitals, where some remained in critical condition, Smith said.

Poll: 1 in 3 vets sees Iraq, Afghan wars as wastes

WASHINGTON — One in three U.S. veterans of the post-9/11 military believes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting, and a majority think that after 10 years of combat America should be focusing less on foreign affairs and more on its own problems, according to an opinion survey released Wednesday.

The findings highlight a dilemma for the Obama administration and Congress as they struggle to shrink the government’s huge budget deficits and reconsider defense priorities while trying to keep public support for remaining involved in Iraq and Afghanistan for the longer term.

Nearly 4,500 U.S. troops have died in Iraq and about 1,700 in Afghanistan. Combined war costs since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have topped $1 trillion.

The poll results presented by the Pew Research Center portray post-9/11 veterans as proud of their work, scarred by warfare and convinced that the American public has little understanding of the problems that wartime service has created for military members and their families.

The survey also showed that post-9/11 veterans are more likely than Americans as a whole to call themselves Republicans and to disapprove of President Barack Obama’s performance as commander in chief. They also are more likely than earlier generations of veterans to have no religious affiliation.

The Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan organization that studies attitudes and trends, called the study the first of its kind. The results were based on two surveys conducted between late July and mid-September. One polled 1,853 veterans, including 712 who had served in the military after 9/11 but are no longer on active duty. Of the 712 post-9/11 veterans, 336 served in Iraq or Afghanis tan. The other polled 2,003 adults who had not served in the military.

Panel takes first step to allow sea lion killing

WASHINGTON — Wildlife officials have tried shooting them with rubber bullets, chasing them with boats and scaring them with flares. Nothing has worked for long. Now federal lawmakers took the first step Wednesday toward making it easier for states and Indian tribes to kill some of the California sea lions that feast on endangered and threatened salmon in the Columbia River.

The population of California sea lions has steadily grown over the past three decades and now numbers nearly 250,000. About 75 of them make their way nearly 140 miles up the Columbia River to feed on smelt and salmon. They congregate near the Bonneville Dam on the border of Washington and Oregon where fish gather and pass through a series of ladders on their way to spawning grounds.

By a vote of 29-13, a House committee passed a bill that would speed up the application process that states and Indian tribes undertake when obtaining a permit to kill sea lions. Under the legislation, a single permit would allow applicants to kill up to 10 sea lions in a single year.

Supporters of the legislation argue that the sea lions are not indigenous to that portion of the Columbia River. The sea lions have adapted to the easy supply of food at the dam and are removing a precious resource that state and federal governments have spent billions of dollars to protect.

“With all other methods exhausted, lethal removal of the most aggressive sea lions is the only option left to deter predation, help protect endangered salmon and recoup more of our region’s substantial investment in salmon recovery,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Doc Hastings, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

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