Beyond the county: ZombiCon shooting kills 1, Six stabbed in Yolo County |

Beyond the county: ZombiCon shooting kills 1, Six stabbed in Yolo County

Police say 1 killed, 5 injured in shooting at ZombiCon

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A shooting at the annual ZombiCon gathering in Florida has left one person dead and five more injured, causing a chaotic scene that sent throngs of zombie-dressed revelers running through the streets, police said Sunday.

The shooting happened around 11:45 p.m. Saturday, just 15 minutes before the event officially ended. Large crowds were still in the streets and authorities quickly cleared out nearby bars and set up crime scene tape, while others patrolled the area with rifles searching for a suspect.

Fort Myers Police Lt. Victor Medico said Expavious Tyrell Taylor, a 20-year-old who played football at a local junior college, died at the scene, but no other details about his death were released. Four others were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and one additional victim refused medical attention, authorities said.

Authorities said the suspect or suspects are still at large and did not release any information about a possible motive.

“There were a lot of witnesses down here, there were a lot of people taking pictures, videos with their cellphone,” Medico told the News-Press ( “Anything that could help with this investigation would be greatly appreciated.”

Police did not immediately return email and phone call messages on Sunday seeking more details. Medico told reporters the agency had been inundated with national media requests and would not be making any comments “as we tirelessly investigate this incident and gather as many facts as possible.”

The annual festival had been expected to draw more than 20,000 fans dressed as zombies, the newspaper said. Medico said the scene was described as “shoulder to shoulder.”

Jill Stancel said she heard the shots and then saw people running from the downtown barbershop owned by her family. She and her family let several frightened witnesses inside the shop, where they quickly locked the door.

“I was right here,” she said. “A mass of people ran screaming and trying to get in the shop.”

Stancel was raised in the area and said she doesn’t think the downtown area is dangerous, but said the shooting will be in the back of her mind at future events.

“There are people dressed up and some walking around with guns. How do you know they aren’t real? Any event I come to, this will be in the back of my mind.”

Authorities were reviewing surveillance videos from restaurants and shops to help them find the suspect or suspects.

A statement on the ZombiCon Facebook page said organizers were saddened by the news and the group takes the safety of its patrons very seriously.

ZombiCon has been a popular event for nearly a decade, but some local residents and business owners have not welcomed the crowd of costumed revelers in the street dressed as limping, bloated, degrading corpses. One restaurant posted signs warning visitors that ZombiCon participants were not welcome. “Quarantined. No Zombies allowed,” the signs read.

Several members from a religious group also picketed the event this weekend.

Mayor Randall P. Henderson Jr. said the shooting would speed up plans to install security cameras throughout downtown. The ZombiCon shooting is the latest of several shootings, which the mayor said are difficult to prevent because they are often random and late at night. Yet he said the cameras would make it easier to catch criminals quickly.

“Sadly, we’re moving in that direction. We need to be way more vigilant to keep citizens safe,” he said.

— Associated Press

Fresno Chaffee Zoo baby giraffe died from neck injury

FRESNO — Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s director says the baby giraffe that died during a special event died from a neck injury after it was unable to slow down and ran into a metal wire barrier.

The male giraffe born at the Chaffee Zoo died Oct. 8 during a preview event for the new African Adventure exhibit.

Fresno Chaffee’s director Scott Barton tells the Fresno Bee ( ) several animals moved into an area near the wire barrier and one started running, exciting the rest who also started running.

He says the baby giraffe, about 4 weeks old, was among the running group.

Barton says the youngster ran into the wire, got tangled up, injured his neck and then fell loose.

He says tests from a necropsy on the giraffe are not yet complete.

— Associated Press

Gov., lawmakers punt difficult tax questions

SACRAMENTO — While Gov. Jerry Brown approved high-profile legislation addressing social issues such as aid- in-dying, animal antibiotics and the gender wage gap this year, he kept a tight grip on California’s pocketbook by rejecting more than a dozen bills that sought to increase health care benefits and tax credits for the poor.

In exercising his veto pen, the Democratic governor expressed frustration with lawmakers who failed to address a funding shortfall in Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for the poor. Brown called the Legislature into a special session this summer to decide whether to extend a $1 billion tax on health plans or cut services in a $91 billion program that offers care to roughly 1 in 3 Californians.

“Given these financial uncertainties, I cannot support providing additional tax credits that will make balancing the state’s budget even more difficult,” Brown wrote in one message blocking nine bills that sought to help low-income families finance everything from homes to new appliances.

In his final term, Brown is focused on creating a legacy of fiscal prudence after inheriting a $26.6 billion state deficit when he returned to the governor’s office in 2011. But unlike social measures that can easily pass the state Legislature on a majority vote, finance issues are more complex. Tax increases require both Republican and Democratic support to reach a two-thirds vote.

Brown and the Democratic lawmakers who control a majority of the Legislature did not strike a compromise with Republicans before adjourning in September, punting decisions on health care financing, transportation spending and other big-ticket items to next year.

And in an election year, partisanship peaks.

As Democrats prepare to campaign for tax increases to fund health, education and other programs for the vulnerable, Republicans will play to their base in resisting additional burdens on individuals and businesses.

“I would just see it as a lot harder to get any sort of GOP support of a tax increase,” said Jeff Cummins, a political science professor at California State University, Fresno.

Cummins said if Brown is unable to broker a deal with the Legislature, the governor may have to go through the ballot box as he did in 2012 to persuade voters to pass temporary sales and income taxes in Proposition 30.

“That’s going to be a big decision for him to make,” he said. “As the revenue numbers are coming in, does he go out and endorse one of the tax measures on the ballot or not?”

Labor, health groups and children’s advocates are already working to place tax issues on the November 2016 ballot:

— The California Medical Association, American Lung Association and Service Employees International Union are joining wealthy Democratic donor Tom Steyer to ask voters to raise the cigarette tax by $2 a pack.

— Former Board of Equalization member Conway Collis and leaders of children nonprofit groups are proposing a property surcharge of up to 1 percent on real estate valued at more than $3 million. The money would be used to fund early childhood services, childcare and preschool programs.

— The California Hospital Association, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West and Common Sense Kids Action want to make permanent the Proposition 30 income tax increases on couples earning at least $580,000 annually. They also would create a new top tax rate for “super earners” making more than $2 million a year. The income tax hikes are due to expire in 2019.

— A coalition including the California Teachers Association and public employee unions is pitching an extension of Proposition 30 income taxes through 2030, dedicating the money to a public education account.

— Associated Press

6 hurt in Yolo County mass stabbing, teen suspect arrested

MADISON, Calif. — Authorities say six people were stabbed during a party at an event hall in the Northern California town of Madison.

The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office says the victims, all adults, have non-life-threatening injuries.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Don Harmon tells KCRA-TV the mass stabbing happened Saturday night during a private party at the Madison Town Hall, an event venue.

Harmon says an 18-year-old suspect was arrested near the site of the attacks.

He says investigators are still trying to determine a motive in the stabbings.

— Associated Press

Golovkin stops Lemieux in 8th round for middleweight title

NEW YORK — No big drama this time for Gennady Golovkin. Just a lot of big punches as he dominated his middleweight title fight with David Lemieux.

Golovkin battered Lemieux around the ring Saturday night on the big stage at Madison Square Garden, landing punch after punch before the referee mercifully stepped in and stopped the fight in the eighth round. He remained unbeaten in 34 fights, and stopped his opponent for the 21st straight time.

Fighting before a sold-out crowd of 20,548 cheering his every move, Golovkin was methodical as he knocked down Lemieux in the fifth round, bloodied his nose and dominated almost every second of the way.

“My goal is all the belts in the middleweight division,” said Golovkin, who said before the fight he would bring a “Big Drama Show” to the Garden.

Lemieux was on the ropes taking punch after punch when Steve Willis finally stepped in at 1:32 of the eighth round to call an end to the fight.

It was a coming out party of sorts for Golovkin, who was headlining his first pay-per-view fight, and he was at his best as he wore down Lemieux with his relentless punching.

“I told you this was a very important fight,” Golovkin said. “I give my fans and friends a big show. Thank you my fans. Thank you my people.”

With the crowd chanting “Triple G! Triple G!” Golovkin showed why he is the most feared man in the middleweight division with yet another impressive win against an opponent who was supposed to be his best yet. He won every round on all three ringside scorecards, pitching a shutout in his biggest fight to date.

Lemieux brought a 160 pound title of his own into the ring, but was no match for Golovkin, the former amateur star from Kazakhstan who now lives in Los Angeles. Lemieux fought gamely, but his punches were mostly wild and he was forced to take punishment in return.

“I’ll keep my mouth shut tonight,” said Lemieux, whose face was marked and red. “But I’ll see him in the future.”

With Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump watching from ringside, Golovkin took control of the fight early, with his precise punches finding the mark with regularity.

Gennady Golovkin, left, hits David Lemieux in the eighth round of a world middleweight title fight at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday. Golovkin won by a TKO in the eighth round.

— Associated Press

Kaepernick throws 2 TDs as 49ers snap four-game skid

SANTA CLARA — Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith know a little bit about Baltimore’s defense and how the Ravens take their chances going 1-on-1 outside.

They also know their share about Shareece Wright, a San Francisco teammate less than two weeks ago.

Boldin and Smith took it to the team they helped win the Super Bowl nearly three years ago, while Wright’s embarrassing outing helped out his former 49ers on a day Baltimore missed chances in every phase in a 25-20 loss to San Francisco on Sunday.

“When you have a guy on your team for that long and get to see him every day in practice, you understand his weaknesses, as well as his strengths,” Boldin said. “That was one of the things that we wanted to attack.”

Colin Kaepernick completed a 76-yard touchdown pass to Smith, Joe Flacco threw two interceptions and the Niners stopped a four-game losing streak.

Phil Dawson kicked four field goals, including a 53-yarder, in the first win since Week 1 for San Francisco (2-4). Boldin — a Super Bowl star for the Ravens against San Francisco following the 2012 season — had a late 51-yard catch that set up Quinton Patton’s 21-yard reception for the first touchdown of his career.

Flacco’s desperation pass to the end zone on the final play went incomplete to Steve Smith, and the quarterback wound up 33 of 53 for 343 yards. Smith dropped two balls in the end zone before catching one.

Not only did the Ravens fail to pounce on Jarryd Hayne’s fumbled punt return, kicker Justin Tucker shanked a 45-yard field goal off the right upright after he awkwardly slipped on the turf.

Kaepernick went 16 of 27 for 340 yards, and Boldin made five catches for 102 yards. Torrey Smith had three receptions for 96 yards.

The rematch of the Super Bowl three seasons ago featured a pair of last-place teams trying to turn around their seasons, and it showed in some sloppy play.

Steve Smith caught a 34-yard TD pass in the third, but the Ravens (1-5) are reeling through the worst start in franchise history. Tough weekend for the Harbaugh brothers after Baltimore coach John Harbaugh’s little brother Jim’s Michigan team lost Saturday to Michigan State on a botched punt.

The 49ers won for the first time since Sept. 14 against Minnesota.

Now San Francisco must prepare in a hurry for a short week with rival Seattle coming to town Thursday night. The Seahawks have won five of the last six meetings, including the playoffs.

Kaepernick is sensing a shift.

“We’re a 2-4 football team that needs to get some more wins,” he said. “Our team is building where we’re gradually picking up momentum.”

Baltimore’s previous four losses featured second-half collapses. This time, it all but began from the opening kickoff.

The Ravens appeared a step behind all day. Their problems came in pairs, too: Steve Smith’s two end-zone drops, two drops by the defense on would-be interceptions and Flacco’s two picks.

“I don’t have the frustration gauge out. I don’t get frustrated. I don’t get down, just disappointed,” Harbaugh said. “I get determined is what I get. We have a bunch of guys that feel the same way. We have to get it done, and it starts with me.”

Wright, released by the 49ers on Oct. 10 without playing a game, then signed by the Ravens last week, was flagged for holding Boldin in the first quarter to set up Dawson’s second field goal. Torrey Smith burned the cornerback on his career-long TD, capping a 49-second, two-play drive that made it 13-3.

Wright yielded a 26-yard gain to Boldin on another drive that ended with a field goal by Dawson, and then fell down on Patton’s TD catch.

“It was a quick week, but I’ve got to be ready,” Wright said.

Early in the third with no intended receiver in sight, Flacco threw right to 49ers cornerback Kenneth Acker, who returned the interception 45 yards.

Baltimore, making its second Bay Area trip in less than a month after a loss at Oakland on Sept. 20, had won four straight against San Francisco, including that 34-31 Super Bowl victory at the Superdome.

49ers left tackle Joe Staley acknowledged during the week the offense prematurely spoke in the huddle late of having a victory parade.

Kamar Aiken added a 2-yard touchdown catch for the Ravens, who had won six in a row against NFC teams and dropped to 19-10 vs. the NFC under Harbaugh.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin stiff-arms Baltimore Ravens defensive back Kyle Arrington during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Sunday.

— Associated Press

Canceled California wedding leads to feast for homeless

SACRAMENTO — After a California couple called off their wedding, the bride-to-be’s family decided to turn the $35,000 extravagant event into a feast for the homeless.

The bride’s mother, Kari Duane, said Sunday that rather than cancel the reception, they invited Sacramento’s homeless for a once in a lifetime meal.

Duane said her 27-year-old daughter called her Monday to tell her she and her fiancée had decided not to go through with the wedding. Soon after, the family decided to share the nonrefundable event with the less fortunate.

She said they had already paid for a reception that would have hosted 120 guests. About 90 homeless single people, grandparents and whole families with newborns showed up and enjoyed a meal that included appetizers, salad, gnocchi, salmon, and tri-tip. Some even dressed up for the occasion.

— Associated Press

Private firms question California high-speed rail funding

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Businesses that might bid to build a high-speed rail network across California are questioning whether there will be enough government funding to complete the complex and ambitious project.

That picture emerged from documents the companies submitted to the state rail authority overseeing the project, which solicited ideas for how it should approach building a first segment of 300 miles of track by 2022.

Critics have cited the lack of private investors as a major flaw in planning what would be the nation’s largest transportation infrastructure project, with a cost estimated at $68 billion. So the California High-Speed Rail Authority asked firms to suggest how to reduce costs, speed up construction and attract outside money.

In response it received 36 submissions from firms including global construction and engineering giants AECOM, Siemens and Parsons. The rail authority released the documents to The Associated Press under a Public Records Act request.

The authority has planned an “initial operating segment” from Merced to Burbank, with the first service scheduled for 2022. On Friday, authority spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley said one purpose of the proposals was to see whether the route could be built sooner.

The target date to connect San Francisco with the Los Angeles area is 2029.

One common theme from the documents: Where will the money come from to make that happen?

“The total funding identified is still insufficient” to deliver an initial operating segment, Parsons wrote in its 17-page submission. “This shortfall, as well as the uncertainty around these sources, must be addressed.”

The state Legislature agreed last year to provide the first ongoing source of financial support to the project by tapping revenues from the state’s greenhouse gas emissions program in which companies buy and sell pollution credits. That amounted to $750 million over the last two fiscal years, with a promise of 25 percent of “cap and trade” revenues into the future. Voters in 2008 also approved nearly $10 billion in bonds, and the federal government has committed $3.5 billion in matching funds.

Because ticket fees are not expected to generate nearly enough revenue to cover debt from construction, “there must be significant government funding,” AECOM wrote in its 23-page submission.

One critic of the project doubts it can attract investments from outside government.

“No private investor will hand over the billions they are asking for and then allow the state to own and govern the use of that investment,” said William Grindley, a retired international business consultant who has closely followed — and consistently raised doubts about — the project.

In the documents, many firms suggested breaking the project up into smaller contracts, typically in the $3 billion to $5 billion range. Anything much larger could scare off even the world’s largest construction and financing firms, the respondents said.

“The market cannot absorb a single $20 billion contract,” a group led by ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc. wrote, arguing that the risk to a construction firm would be too high and that “financial institutions would not invest into a project of such unprecedented scale and cost.”

Officials with the rail authority called the receipt of 36 responses a sign that the private sector is very interested.

“Two years ago, we were calling them — and now they’re calling us,” Alley said. “This project is real for a lot of people, more so than before.”

The authority plans to interview respondents over the next few months and publicly discuss next steps in the new year, Alley said.

— Associated Press

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