National Roundup

New Jersey
Police: Easter bunny, father scuffle in mall

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — The Easter bunny has been involved in a mall brawl.

A mall Easter bunny and a father got into a scuffle Sunday after the man’s child slipped from a chair while getting her photo taken, Jersey City police said Monday.

A video posted on Twitter on Sunday evening shows a chaotic scene at the Newport Centre in Jersey City, New Jersey, near an area set up to take photos with the Easter bunny.

City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill says the father of the 1-year-old verbally and physically attacked the 22-year-old who was playing the role of Easter bunny after the girl slipped.

Morrill says both men were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

No charges have been filed as police continue investigating.

The video shows a man wearing the body suit of the bunny costume fighting and then being separated by security. A few seconds later, the man in the bunny costume appeared again, throws
off his white bunny gloves and exchanges more punches.

North Carolina
Man charged with murder in fellow soldier’s death

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Police have charged a Fort Bragg soldier with shooting and killing a fellow soldier.

Fayetteville police spokesman Antonie Kincade says in a statement that 24-year-old Ryan Daniel Walker of Hope Mills was arrested Sunday and charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 27-year-old Myles David Penix of Fayetteville.

Kincade says Walker and Penix were both members of the same company of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg.

Police say Penix was at home late Saturday night with someone he knew when he was shot in the chest. Penix was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Walker is in jail. It was not known whether he has an attorney to contact for comment on the case.

Prosecutors won’t file new charges against professor

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A lawyer for a Temple University professor who had been accused of scheming to provide secret U.S. technology to China says federal prosecutors won’t refile charges after they dropped the case against him last year.

Defense attorney Michael Schwartz tells The Philadelphia Inquirer federal prosecutors have informed Xi Xiaoxing’s (shee show-shing) defense team they won’t file new charges and will return his seized property.

Xi had contended that investigators misunderstood the science the case was based on when they charged him with wire fraud. Prosecutors dropped the case after receiving “additional information.”

Xi was chairman of the university’s physics department until his arrest. He remains a faculty member. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in China.

Applicant gets job at restaurant after foiled robbery

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A job interview was in progress when a thief grabbed cash from the till at a fast food restaurant. The manager conducting the interview then blocked the door, and the applicant grabbed the thief’s arms.

Eighteen-year-old Devin Washington got the robber — and the job — at a Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken restaurant in eastern New Orleans.

Manager Danyanna Metoyer said the robber asked the cashier to change a dollar Saturday afternoon, “and just reached over the counter and stuck his hand in the change drawer.”

Police said in a news release that assistant manager Domi­nique Griffin grabbed the man’s arm, but he broke away from her and headed for the door.

But Metoyer was there to block him. “My upper-body strength was stronger than his,” she said Sunday morning.

“We hadn’t made hardly any money, Metoyer said. “He wasn’t going to take the $300 to 400 we probably had made. We needed our money,” she added.

Washington said, “I got up and bent his arm back.” He said he didn’t know whether the man had a gun, but wasn’t scared.

Washington and cook Michael Ford held the thief until police arrived, said Metoyer.

Police said Pablo Ciscart, 50, was arrested on a simple robbery charge. It wasn’t clear whether he has an attorney who could speak for him.
Metoyer said she and Griffin already had decided to hire Washington, but hadn’t had a chance to tell him when the theft occurred. She said they told him afterward, “You’re hired. You earned it.”

FBI begins hate crime probe after gay men attacked

ATLANTA (AP) — The FBI has opened a hate-crime investigation after a man was accused of pouring boiled water on two gay men inside a suburban Atlanta apartment.

Steve Emmett of the FBI’s Atlanta office told WSB-AM on Friday that the agency is working with the College Park Police Department and the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in investigating the February incident.

Authorities say 48-year-old Martin Blackwell, the boyfriend of the mother of victim Anthony Gooden, told investigators he was disgusted with Gooden’s relationship with Marquez Tolbert and poured “a little hot water on them.”

Tolbert was hospitalized for 10 days and had to undergo surgery. Gooden was released from a hospital two weeks ago.

Blackwell has been charged with two counts of aggravated battery. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney.

Mother of ­missing kids tries to escape hospital

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — A mother suspected in the disappearance of her two children has repeatedly tried to escape from a maximum-security psychiatric hospital.

Citing court records filed in Montgomery District Court, the Washington Post reports that 29-year-old Catherine Hoggle has tried to escape at least eight times from Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup. Each time, Hoggle grabbed a staff member’s security badge and ran toward the door of her locked unit.

Hoggle is charged with neglect, abduction and hindering in the 2014 disappearance of her children.

Prosecutors say they believe Hoggle is faking incompetency so that the court can release her to the community after a period of time. Her attorney, David Felsen, says prosecutors should accept the psychiatric hospital’s opinion that Hoggle has a poor understanding of legal concepts.