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Escape slowed by hole in leg

Stranger Than Fiction



Curses, foiled again

Police responding to a drug complaint in Richmond, Virginia, spotted two men, who began running away. One of the fleeing men, later identified as Darnell Elliotte, 20, fired several shots at the officers. He missed them but shot himself in the leg, allowing his pursuers to apprehend him. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

A subcontractor told police he was working in a subdivision in San Antonio, Texas, when a man approached him, showed a black semi-automatic handgun and asked, "Can I rob the house?" The sub said he replied, "It is not my house," and later saw the man exit the house carrying a microwave. He snapped a photo of the man putting the microwave into an auto, whose license plate led authorities to Danny Acosta, 30. (San Antonio's KSAT-TV)

School daze

German student Simon Schräder, 17, filed a freedom of information request asking the education ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia for the questions to standardized senior exams. The ministry acknowledged that it had received the request, which "is being processed." (Britain's The Guardian)

Cheating on statewide secondary school exams is common in Bihar, India, where students routinely smuggle in textbooks and notes, but this year local newspapers published photos of parents and relatives scaling walls of exam centers to pass on answers to test takers. Some even showed police officers posted outside the centers accepting bribes. "What can the government do to stop cheating if parents and relatives are not ready to cooperate," Bihar Education Minister P.K. Shahi said. "Should the government give orders to shoot them?" (BBC News)

Smoking hazards

A Nevada man inspecting a gasoline can for a leak while smoking a cigarette ignited a flash fire that sent him to the hospital with serious burns. Tim Szymanski of Las Vegas Fire & Rescue said the man's wife suffered burns to her hands after she heard her husband scream and then tried to put out the fire by patting him down. (Las Vegas Sun)

After an explosion singed the eyebrows, eyelashes and hair of Joseph T. Brennan Jr., and burned his face in Quincy, Massachusetts, he jumped out of his car and told a bystander rushing to his aid, "I'm an idiot. I lit a cigarette with the gunpowder in the front seat." Police who searched the car found 14 liquids and powders, some of which could be combined to create a destructive device. Brennan explained he had gotten the materials from a friend to tinker with but insisted, "I wasn't going to do anything malicious." He was arraigned anyway. (Boston Globe)

Game of drones

A drone delivering asparagus to a Dutch restaurant crashed on a country road and burst into flames. The delivery had been arranged as a publicity stunt by the De Zwann restaurant in Etten-Leur, North Brabant, to celebrate the beginning of asparagus season. A second batch was later delivered by traditional means. (International Business Times)

A drone carrying mistletoe and a kiss cam at a TGI Friday's restaurant in New York City crashed into a woman's face, cutting open her nose. "It was like I couldn't get it off because I guess the mistletoe part had fishing wire on it — that's how it was attached — and it got caught in my hair, and it kept twirling and twirling and twirling while this thing is on my nose," Georgine Benvenuto said. (Britain's The Independent)

A drone marked with a radioactive warning sign was found on the roof of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office. Authorities don't know when the drone landed but said it tested positive for only "minuscule" amounts of radiation and posed no threat to humans. It also carried a small camera and a water bottle. (Reuters)

Great escape

Kimberly Hope Hatfield, 27, was being processed for release from the Birmingham, Alabama, city jail but had to wait while corrections officers checked to see if she had any outstanding warrants from other jurisdictions. Knowing that she did, Hatfield ducked behind another inmate being released and snuck out of the building, according to police Lt. Sean Edwards. (

Strange encounters

Guards at a National Security Agency security checkpoint outside Washington, D.C., opened fire on a stolen SUV containing two men dressed as women after the driver refused orders to stop. One died, the other was hospitalized. Authorities said they believe the driver approached the checkpoint by mistake while the two were fleeing from a motel after robbing a 60-year-old man who had paid the transgender sex workers for an overnight tryst. "This was not a planned attack," a law enforcement official said. (The Washington Post)

French police said a 22-year-old man called emergency services to report a person at a shipyard in Brittany wasn't responsive and needed an ambulance. When rescuers arrived, they found the caller "underneath a boat, on his knees, trying to resuscitate a rubber dinghy." (Britain's The Telegraph)

Incompetent du jour

A heavily armed Islamic extremist was unable to carry out his mission to open fire on churchgoers in Paris, French officials said, because he accidentally shot himself in the leg. (Associated Press)

The Devil, you say

Citing an increase in demonic activity, the Vatican convened a team of experts, including practicing exorcists, to equip doctors, psychologists and teachers with the skills needed to recognize and cope with demonic possession. Organizers said one of the main purposes of the exercise is to teach apprentice exorcists the difference between demonic possession and psychological or medical conditions. "Living in an increasingly secularized society than in the past, there is more tendency to open the door to the occult," warned Father Pedro Barrajon, director of the Sacerdos Institute, organizer of the 10th annual "Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation" course. "Demonic activity is increased by the practice of magic and visiting fortune tellers which can increase the likelihood of demonic possession." Last year, the International Association of Exorcists referred to the trend as "a pastoral emergency." (Caribbean360)

Facing the death penalty for a 2013 killing spree in Nebraska, Nikko Jenkins claims that he acted under orders from a serpent god and is mentally ill. After a Douglas County judge declared him competent to stand trial, Jenkins carved "666" into his forehead, the number of the Beast in the New Testament book of Revelation. But because he mutilated himself while looking into a mirror, the numbers are backward, according to court officials. (Omaha's The World-Herald)

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