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 V.13 No.20 | May 13 - 19, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Florida—A drug enforcement administration agent who was giving a gun safety demonstration to a group of children concluded the lecture by shooting himself in the leg. The agent, whose name was not released, was doing the presentation in front of about 50 students and adults at the Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association. According to witnesses, he drew his .40-caliber duty weapon, removed the magazine and pulled back the slide. A police report confirms that he then asked an audience member to confirm that the weapon was not loaded. Witnesses said the gun was pointed at the floor and when the agent released the slide, one shot fired into the top of his left thigh. “The kids screamed and started to cry,” Vivian Farmer, who attened the presentation with her 13-year-old nephew, told Local 6 News in Orlando. “Everyone was pretty shaken up, but the point of gun safety hit home. Unfortunately, the agent had to get shot.” The agent was treated at Orlando Regional Medical Center after the April 9 shooting and returned to work. Police ruled the shooting an accident, but the DEA in Washington is still investigating.

Dateline: Minnesotta—A tanker truck carrying monkey droppings from the Milwaukee County Zoo spilled its smelly contents across the junction of two busy highways last Tuesday, closing the roads and tying up midday traffic for nearly four hours. The accident happened when a latch broke on a tank holding the monkey mess, said Kim Brooks, a spokeswoman for the Milwaukee Sheriff's Department. The dark, sludge-like waste, a mixture of monkey poo and algae dredged from the moat at the zoo's Macaque Island, is trucked from the zoo twice a year. The droppings are “aged” for two days to destroy all viruses before being loaded into the truck. Zoo spokeswoman Jennifer Dilberti assured reporters that the material does not pose any health hazard. “I think it's comparable to any sort of sewage,” Dilberti said. One of the zookeepers said from a scale of one to 10, the smell's a nine.

Dateline: Missouri—Several members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at the University of Missouri-Columbia nearly caused an international incident when they stuffed an antique cannon on their front lawn with fireworks. The stunt ended up destroying the cannon, blowing out a window across the street and almost killing a group of visiting Chinese communists. An eight-inch portion of the cannon, which legend says dates back to the Civil War, crashed through the roof of a nearby apartment complex. It tore through the fifth floor before landing on a ping-pong table in the lounge on the building's fourth floor. Elaine Pohl, a teacher at Missouri, said she and visiting scholars from China had been playing a game of ping-Ppong at about 8 p.m. when the group heard two loud explosions. She said she then noticed a 12-inch hole in the ceiling and a piece of metal on the Ping-Pong table. About a dozen people were in the room at the time. The fraternity chapter has been suspended by its national office and the university, pending the outcome of an investigation. Columbia police confim that three members of the fraternity were arrested in connection with the one-gun salute.

Dateline: Texas—Dan Leach II made national headlines recently by tearfully confessing—following a screening of Mel Gibson's The Passion—to murdering a Fort Bend county woman. Leach allegedly strangled 19-year-old Ashley Nicole Wilson to death on Jan. 15. Leach's confession in March came as a surprise, as Wilson's death had been disguised as a suicide. Investigators said Leach told police one of the reasons he came forward was that he was moved emotionally after seeing the Mel Gibson movie The Passion of the Christ. Unfortunately, Leach's newfound love for Jesus didn't last very long. Despite his confession, Leach showed up in court last Monday and pleaded not guilty to the murder charges. Needless to say, Wilson's family was stunned by the turn of events. “We were most disappointed this morning,” Ashley Wilson's father told the Houston Chronicle. “He has admitted his guilt. That's what's upsetting to us as a family.” Leach is facing life in prison on the murder charges.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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