Cops: Man charged in attack on Pennsylvania Mennonites

2012-12-16T16:32:00Z 2012-12-16T17:50:08Z Cops: Man charged in attack on Pennsylvania Mennonites nwitimes.com
December 16, 2012 4:32 pm

Cops: Man charged in attack on Pennsylvania Mennonites

LANCASTER, Pa. | A 22-year-old man attacked three elderly Mennonite sisters because of their faith, shocking them with a stun gun and vandalizing their home during an hours-long ordeal, police said Sunday.

Dereck Taylor Holt was charged with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, burglary and other offenses for the assault in rural central Pennsylvania that sent all three women to the hospital, according to police.

Holt did not know the women, but it appears he targeted them because they were Mennonite, said Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Chief David Steffen.

Holt railed against the religion during the attack, reading various passages from their Bible and then damaging it, police said. Holt, who has no fixed address, was arrested Saturday under circumstances that have not been disclosed. He was being held on $1 million bail and it was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

The women, who are between 84 and 90 years old, were punched, shocked and tied up, according to police. Holt also allegedly ransacked the house and poured household chemicals on floors and furniture. He fled the brick, ranch-style house about three hours after he arrived, police said; the victims were discovered by a relative a few hours after that.

Gunman fires dozens of shots in Calif. mall's lot, surrenders

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. | A suspect who fired about 50 shots in the parking lot of a crowded Southern California shopping mall, sending shoppers sprinting for safety, was cooperative when officers took him into custody, authorities said Sunday.

Witnesses said people ran, screaming and ducking for cover, when Marcos Gurrola, 42, fired into the air and onto the ground Saturday afternoon near the Macy's department store at the open-air Fashion Island mall in Newport Beach.

Then Gurrola put the gun down and offered no resistance when bicycle officers arrested him around 4:30 p.m., said Lt. John Lewis. Investigators have no motive, Lewis said.

Gurrola, of Garden Grove, was charged with shooting at an inhabited dwelling. He was being held Sunday on $250,000 bail. Gurrola is a licensed security guard whose firearm permit expired in 2001, according to the Orange County Register, which cited state records.

R.I. man and wife charged with DUI on same evening

LINCOLN, R.I. | Rhode Island State Police say a husband and wife both face charges of driving under the influence after they were stopped separately on the same night.

Police say Stephanie Souza, 43, of Warwick, was stopped in Cranston on Friday, and a chemical test on her at the Lincoln barracks indicated she'd been driving under the influence.

They say Michael Souza, 44, was pulled over for a motor vehicle violation in Lincoln while driving to get his wife, then taken into custody. They say a chemical test on him at the Lincoln barracks indicated he was also driving under the influence.

The  Souzas could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Alabama officer improving after chase and wounding

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. | Authorities said an east Alabama police officer shot and seriously wounded in an exchange of gunfire with a homicide suspect was improving Sunday as investigators tried to verify the identities of three people whose slayings sparked a two-county pursuit.

Heflin police officer Jackie Stovall was removed from a breathing machine and remained hospitalized in stable condition in Anniston a day after Saturday's shootings. Stovall was progressing faster than expected, police said.

Stovall was seriously wounded during a chase that began in Cleburne County and ended in Calhoun County with officers shooting and killing Romero Roberto Moya, 33, of Heflin.

Court records show Moya was arrested by the Calhoun-Cleburne County Drug Task Force last year on charges of cocaine trafficking, drug possession and illegal possession of a pistol. Authorities said officers shot and killed Moya after he emerged from a vehicle with an assault rifle in Calhoun County, about 25 miles west of the trailer where the bodies were found.

Stovall was shot earlier when the man exchanged gunfire with officers near an Interstate 20 exit in Oxford. Heflin police said Stovall, who was wounded in a leg, was struck in a main artery and probably would not have survived without State Trooper John Lewis applying pressure to slow the bleeding.

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