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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.


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.

Authorities allege Szychulski had sex three times with the 14-year-old and sent him lewd pictures via text message.

The investigation began last week after someone called in an anonymous tip to a child abuse hotline. Szychulski was suspended Friday from the Central Bucks district in Doylestown.

She and her attorney, William Goldman, didn't speak to reporters after Tuesday's arraignment. A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 6.


Man pleads guilty to shipping equipment to Syria

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania businessman has acknowledged conspiring to illegally export chemical warfare detection devices and lab equipment to Syria.

Harold Rinko pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Scranton. He faces up to five years in prison.

Sanctions imposed by the U.S. in 2004 banned all exports to Syria, except food and medicine. But authorities allege Rinko and two foreign citizens shipped goods to Syria through other countries for nine years.

Prosecutors say Rinko, of Hallstead, used his company as a front to acquire instruments that detect and classify chemical weapons.

The three men were charged in 2012. The status of the other two defendants was not immediately clear.

Investigators don't know who ultimately used the equipment in Syria, which is now engulfed in a multilayered civil war.


Man sentenced in bomb threat outside White House

WASHINGTON (AP) - A man has been sentenced to time served for parking his truck outside the White House and falsely saying that it contained a bomb.

Forty-five-year-old Krzysztof Wasik of Hazle Township in eastern Pennsylvania pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges of threatening and conveying false information concerning use of an explosive, The Washington Post reports.

Prosecutors say before dawn on April 10, 2013, Wasik approached an officer at the White House gates and warned that a bomb would detonate in a truck parked nearby.

Surrounding streets and the entrance to a nearby Metro rail station were shut down as the Secret Service inspected the vehicle for explosives.

Nothing dangerous was found inside the truck.


Woman sentenced to prison in crash that killed 6

SMETHPORT, Pa. (AP) - A northwestern Pennsylvania woman will serve between 11 years and 22 years in prison for a crash that killed six people, including her daughter and nephew.

The Bradford Era reports a McKean County judge sentenced Kathleen Douglas on Tuesday. She had pleaded guilty last week to six counts of vehicular homicide.

Police say the 38-year-old woman was under the influence of prescription medicine when the crash occurred in Kane in August 2013.

Authorities say Douglas' SUV crossed the center line and hit an approaching car. Four people in the other vehicle died.

Police allege Douglas had 12 times the prescribed daily dose of clonazepam in her blood. The drug treats seizures and panic disorders.

Douglas says she is "so ashamed," and that the crash will haunt her.


Ex-chief serving 11 years to get sentence lowered

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A former southwestern Pennsylvania police chief serving 11 years behind bars for extortion might get out earlier.

According to the Washington Observer-Reporter, a federal appeals court on Monday ordered a lower court to resentence Donald Solomon.

The ex-chief of East Washington had pleaded guilty to extorting about $8,000 from undercover FBI agents he thought were drug dealers. In exchange, Solomon allegedly offered protection during two staged drug deals and agreed to buy them police-issued stun guns.

Solomon was sentenced in June 2013. But the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the federal judge wrongly increased Solomon's punishment under guidelines for drug and extortion offenses.

A resentencing date has not yet been scheduled.


PA: Well-dressed group sought in gay attack

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia police hope a security video will help them identify a group of preppy-looking young adults sought in a violent attack on a gay couple.

Police say the group asked about the pair's sexual orientation, and then beat and punched them while holding them down.

The suspected hate crime Thursday left one man with deep facial lacerations and a wired jaw. Both victims are in their late 20s.

The video released Tuesday by the Philadelphia Police Department shows about a dozen young people strolling downtown.

Police describe them as clean-cut, well-dressed and in their early 20s.

The suspects include young men wearing golf shirts, khaki shorts and, in one case, an orange sweater vest.

Police say one person also took a bag one of the victims dropped.


Sandusky-founded charity seeks OK to sell Pa. land

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - The charity for young people founded by Jerry Sandusky is asking a judge for permission to sell a 60-acre parcel to a businessman who has discussed turning it into an indoor sports and recreation complex.

Second Mile head Dave Woodle said Tuesday developer Michael J. Lee has offered just over $1 million for the land, which Sandusky once envisioned as the site of a "Center for Excellence."

Gov. Tom Corbett put on hold a $3 million grant for the center, which Sandusky had described in 2008 as the charity's future permanent home.

The Centre Daily Times reported in May that township supervisors changed the parcel's zoning at Lee's request. Lee didn't return a phone message seeking comment.

Sandusky was convicted of child molestation and is serving a state prison sentence.


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.


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.


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.


Newspaper asks judge to stop state email deletion

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pennsylvania newspaper is asking a judge to prevent state agencies from deleting email five days after receiving it.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette filed a lawsuit Monday in Commonwealth Court asking that the correspondence be preserved for at least two years.

Newspaper lawyers say the destruction violates the due process rights of anyone seeking public records under Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law.

The complaint noted acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq's recent statement that she and other department employees "delete and cleanse" their email nightly.

The complaint names as defendants the Governor's Office of Administration and the state Department of Education.

Office of Administration spokesman Dan Egan says the lawsuit is being reviewed. The Education Department had no immediate comment.


Severe respiratory illness confirmed in 12 states

NEW YORK (AP) - Health officials say 12 states now have respiratory illnesses caused by an uncommon virus - enterovirus 68.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania together have 130 lab-confirmed cases. All are children.

The virus can cause mild to severe illness, with the worst cases needing life support for breathing difficulties. Kids with asthma have been especially vulnerable. No deaths have been reported.

The strain is not new but only a small number of labs can test for it. Since mid-August, there's been an unusual spike in identified cases. The CDC has tested more than 200 specimens from more than 30 states.

Investigators say it's not yet clear what triggered the outbreak or whether it's worsening.

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