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This Hour: Latest Pennsylvania news, sports, business and entertainment

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Police: Barracks ambush suspect sought mass murder

Pennsylvania State Police say the suspect in the killing of a trooper and the critical wounding of another outside a rural barracks is a survivalist who has expressed a desire to kill law enforcement officers and commit mass murder.

State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan identified the suspect as 31-year-old Eric Matthew Frein (freen), of Canadensis, Pennsylvania.

Noonan says about 200 law enforcement officials are looking for Frein, but his whereabouts are unknown.

Noonan says Frein is considered armed and "extremely dangerous."

An assailant killed 38-year-old Cpl. Bryon Dickson and critically wounded Trooper Alex Douglass outside a state police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania on Friday night, then slipped away.


Warrant issued in shooting of pregnant woman, baby

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Authorities in Philadelphia are seeking a 26-year-old man in the shooting death of a pregnant woman and her baby.

Police issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for city resident Devon Guisherd (GOOSH'-erd).

Police say he's responsible for the stray bullet that killed 25-year-old Megan Doto as she sat outside on Sunday.

Doto died a short time later at a hospital. Doctors were able to deliver her baby by emergency C-section, but the girl died just over 12 hours later.

Doto was eight months pregnant and had two other young children.

A listed number for Guisherd could not be found Tuesday. It was unclear whether he had an attorney.


IUP student charged in stabbing; says self-defense

INDIANA, Pa. (AP) - A student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania has been charged with stabbing another man, which the suspect's defense attorney contends was self-defense.

Defense attorney Robert Muir says his client, 21-year-old William Rivera, is withdrawing from school and will live with his parents in Reston, Virginia while the charges filed Tuesday play out.

Police in Indiana, a borough about 45 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, say Rivera was in the passenger seat of a car when he slashed and stabbed 21-year-old Giovanni Brown, about 5:45 p.m. Sunday.

Brown remained in fair condition at a Pittsburgh hospital Tuesday. Brown hasn't been charged with a crime, but Muir says Brown "assaulted" Rivera who was "in a situation in which he was trying to protect himself."

Police didn't immediately return a call for comment.

Rivera faces a preliminary hearing Oct. 2.


Band teacher suspended after teen sex allegations

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A high school band director in suburban Philadelphia has been suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct with a student.

Central Bucks High School South teacher Bridgett Szychulski (shuh-HOHL'-skee) was charged Tuesday with statutory sexual assault and related counts.

Superintendent David Weitzel says the 31-year-old teacher worked at Lenape Middle School in 2012 when she allegedly became involved with a male student.

The superintendent says the district received an anonymous tip last week and suspended Szychulski the following day.

Szychulski has taught in the Central Bucks district in Doylestown for seven years. She could not be reached for comment. Court documents didn't list an attorney.

A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 6.


Downed wires suspend DC-to-Philly Amtrak service

WASHINGTON (AP) - Amtrak says it has suspended service from Washington to Philadelphia.

Amtrak suspended service on the Acela Express and on the Northeast Regional lines Tuesday morning because of downed overhead wires on the tracks.

The company had said later in the morning that limited service had been restored, but it later corrected that and said service still was suspended.

The Northeast Regional takes passengers from Washington to Wilmington, while the Acela Express provides service to Wilmington. An Amtrak spokeswoman did not immediately know how many passengers were affected.

The company says engineers are working to fix the problem as quickly and safely as possible, but there's no estimate for full service restoration.

On its website, the Maryland Area Regional Commuter service says there's no service Tuesday at its Perryville and Aberdeen stations.


Treasury loan props up Pennsylvania operating fund

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's state treasurer says he's loaning money to the state government's main bank account after the balance hit a 10-year low and dropped below zero.

Treasurer Rob McCord said Tuesday the $700 million transfer borrows from other state funds at a low interest rate.

Gov. Tom Corbett's aides say the maneuver is a routine way to cover a short-term cash shortage and that Democrats are trying to use it as a political weapon against the Republican governor as he runs for re-election.

McCord and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, both Democrats, insist it is an alarming sign of the state's deteriorating financial situation.

Pennsylvania received its third bond downgrade in two years in July, after Corbett signed a $29 billion budget that is balanced with $2.5 billion in stopgaps.


Phila. cigarette tax back on Pa. lawmakers' agenda

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Philadelphia's school system drew nearer to a badly needed infusion of cash with a Pennsylvania House committee vote in favor of a $2-a-pack cigarette tax in the city.

The House Rules Committee on Tuesday voted unanimously for the bill after stripping out other unrelated provisions. House and Senate leaders have fought over the stripped-out provisions, and approval of the cigarette tax has awaited resolution of that fight.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says the vote shows a pathway for getting the tax enacted.

House Republican Leader Mike Turzai says a final vote in his chamber is expected Wednesday or Monday. If it passes, it'll still need approval by the state Senate.


Senate bill to kill school property tax takes step

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania state Senate panel is advancing a bill that would eventually eliminate school property taxes by increasing taxes on sales and income.

The Senate Finance Committee narrowly approved the bill Tuesday, 6-to-5. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Michael Brubaker says it would create a $13 billion tax shift.

The bill still has to go through the Senate Appropriations Committee before it can get to the Senate floor. A similar bill hasn't gained any traction in the House.

Instead, that chamber last year approved a bill that would empower Pennsylvania school boards to reduce or eliminate school property taxes and to make up the revenue from other tax increases.

That bill hasn't advanced in the Senate.


Cyanide murder trial delayed by experts' meeting

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The trial of a Pittsburgh medical researcher charged with fatally poisoning his neurologist wife with cyanide is being delayed by a national conference of toxicology experts.

The murder trial of 65-year-old Dr. Robert Ferrante was to have begun with jury selection on Oct. 14, but that will begin Oct. 21. The Allegheny County district attorney's office says expert witnesses for the prosecution and defense were both unavailable for the earlier trial date due to the conference.

Testimony is now expected to begin Oct. 23.

Ferrante is charged with lacing an energy drink with poison to kill his wife, Dr. Autumn Klein, in April 2013.

Ferrante has repeatedly denied that and has said he's devastated by her sudden death.


Response mixed on bill to let teachers carry guns

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A bill to allow Pennsylvania teachers and other school employees to carry guns at work is drawing a mixed reaction.

Republican Sen. Donald White, the prime sponsor, said Tuesday at a Senate Education Committee hearing the bill would give school boards more options for protecting students.

Indiana Area High School teacher Mark Zilinskas testifies that it would enable school employees licensed and trained to use guns to potentially prevent a mass shooting, rather than react to it. He cited the 2012 massacre of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and an April knife attack at a school near Pittsburgh that injured 21 people.

But Sen. Anthony Williams of Philadelphia says it's a bad idea to place such a grave responsibility on people whose principal interest is educating children.


Landmark fracking study finds no water pollution

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The final report from a landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has found no evidence that chemicals or brine water from the gas drilling process moved upward to contaminate drinking water at one site in western Pennsylvania.

The Department of Energy report was released Monday. It marks the first time an energy company allowed independent monitoring of a drilling site during the fracking process and for 18 months afterward.

Resarchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas stayed about 5,000 feet below drinking water supplies.

A separate study published this week by different researchers examined drilling sites in Pennsylvania and Texas using other methods. It found that faulty well construction can cause pollution, but not fracking itself.

The Energy Department study monitored six wells at one site. Other drilling locations could behave differently.


Store featured in 'Witness' to host distributor

INTERCOURSE, Pa. (AP) - A central Pennsylvania building that until recently housed a century-old grocery store featured in the Harrison Ford movie "Witness" will become the new home of a wholesale distributor of hardware and dry goods.

Lancaster Newspapers reports that Lestz & Company plans to move into the former W.L. Zimmerman & Sons grocery store in Intercourse in Lancaster County. The store, which had operated since 1909, closed in late March.

Lestz & Co. operator Fred Cook said many of the firm's customers are Amish stores. He said the Lancaster operation will close Monday and Lestz & Sons' inventory will be moved to the vacant Intercourse store.

The move was prompted after the owners of Maison restaurant offered to buy the Lancaster space so they can expand their small farm-to-table restaurant.


Pirates studio voice Tekulve has heart transplant

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Former Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Kent Tekulve (teh-KUL'-vee) is recovering from heart transplant surgery.

Allegheny General Hospital officials announced Tuesday that Tekulve was discharged on Friday after having the transplant on Sept. 5. The hospital released a statement from Tekulve and his doctors after the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review first reported the surgery in an interview with Tekulve Monday night.

Tekulve works for Root Sports Pittsburgh, regularly appearing on studio shows before and after Pirates games.

Tekulve's surgeon, Dr. Stephen Bailey, says Tekulve is doing "extremely well" and should be "resuming normal daily activities very soon."

Tekulve thanked his family and friends, the Pirates, Root Sports, and the medical staff and expressed "eternal gratitude for the gift of life that I received through organ donation."

Tekulve hopes to resume his TV duties by spring training.

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