Judge issues gag order in Gary police killing case
CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) - A northwest Indiana judge has issued a gag order in the case against a man suspected of fatally shooting a Gary police officer.
The order imposed Friday by Lake Superior Court Judge Samuel Cappas prohibits lawyers and other officials involved from discussing outside of court the case against 24-year-old Carl Le'Ellis Blount Jr.
Blount, of Gary, is charged with murder in the July 6 shooting death of Officer Jeffrey Westerfield.
The Post-Tribune reports that Blount's public defender requested the gag order.
A magistrate entered a not guilty plea for Blount on Friday and warned him that he could face a death sentence if additional charges are filed against him.
Westerfield's fiancee says she believes the death penalty should be sought.
Blount's next court hearing is July 30.
Memorial service scheduled to honor crash victims
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP) - A memorial service will be held in the South Pacific for a 17-year-old Indiana pilot and his father whose plane crashed during their around-the-world flight attempt.
American Samoa's lieutenant governor is expected to lead the 2 p.m. Sunday service. It'll include throwing a wreath at sea to remember Haris Suleman and his father, Babar.
The service will be held at the site where searchers believe the plane may have gone down.
Haris Suleman's body was recovered shortly after Tuesday's crash. Crews are still searching for his father.
Haris Suleman had hoped to set the record for the fastest circumnavigation around the world in a single-engine airplane with the youngest pilot in command. His journey was also a fundraiser to help build schools in his father's native Pakistan.
Survivors of USS Indianapolis sinking hold reunion
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - About a dozen of the remaining 36 survivors of the World War II USS Indianapolis sinking are gathering in Indianapolis for a reunion over the weekend.
One of the survivors is the 89-year-old Edgar Harrell, a former Marine who has written about how he and others survived by floating without food or water in the shark-haunted waters of the Pacific.
Only 317 of the original crew of 1,196 sailors and Marines survived after they dived into the ocean when the ship was hit by two Japanese torpedoes July 30, 1945.
Harrell tells The Indianapolis Star he had just come off watch and was dozing when the ship was hit and split into three sections.
The sinking was the worst loss of life at sea in U.S. Navy history.
MUNCIE WAREHOUSE FIRE
Former piano factory burns down in Muncie
MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - An old warehouse that was the site of a former piano factory has burned down in Muncie.
Firefighters said the three-story brick building had a wood frame and burned out of control once the massive blaze started early Saturday morning. Smoke from the fire was visible for miles.
Deputy Fire Chief Bret Granger says the warehouse was previously a piano factory.
The Star Press reports that in recent years the building has been used by a pallet and skid manufacturer and as a chemical distributor.
A neighbor says he heard explosions inside the building. Firefighters monitored a nearby trailer they say contained oil products.
Property tax records identify the owner as Fochtman Brothers LLC, Berlin, Pennsylvania. A phone number in the company's name was disconnected.
DEADLY FIGHT-POLICE DOG
Man says he'll sue city over police dog attack
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A young man bitten by a police dog in an Indianapolis suburb says he will sue the city.
Nineteen-year-old Brandon Murphy of Fishers has filed a tort claim against the city saying a police dog bit him repeatedly while officers were investigating the fatal stabbing of another teen.
Another Fishers man was being held without bond on a charge of murder Saturday in the Hamilton County Jail.
The Indianapolis Star reports that Fishers police say Murphy was trying to flee the scene when the dog attacked him. Murphy wasn't charged.
Murphy says in the claim filed July 17 that he was severely injured in his groin and legs and required surgery.
A tort claim is the first stage before a lawsuit can be filed against a public institution
Questions raise concern about school takeover law
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Changes could be coming to the law allowing Indiana to take over consistently failing schools to resolve confusion over who has the ultimate authority over the facilities and their students.
The state took over five chronically failing schools in 2012 and turned them over to private operators. The move was hailed as an aggressive effort by former schools Superintendent Tony Bennett to hold schools accountable and improve performance.
But The Indianapolis Star reports all five schools are still failing. A drop in enrollment has led to funding issues that have prompted at least one operator to threaten to pull out.
State Rep. Robert Behning says he favors revising the law to address the issues. Four more schools could soon face takeovers.
Shortened summer cuts into tourism revenue
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Southern Indiana tourism sites are taking a hit this summer because of a harsh winter that pushed the school year into June and rainy weather to kick off the season.
Parks, caves and historic sites are reporting the number of visitors dropped from last year and think the late start to summer vacation is the main culprit.
Harrison County park director Rand Heazlitt tells the Courier-Journal the tourism landscape is changing because of balanced school calendars and snow days.
Harrison County parks have seen admissions drop 15 percent to 20 percent over last summer. Revenue also is down at the Indiana Caverns, Squire Boone and Marengo show caves and at four historic sites operated by the Indiana State Museum.
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