Burned cabin searched for Dorner
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Police searched a burned-out California cabin Tuesday where they believed fugitive murder suspect Christopher Dorner made a last stand after a deadly gun fight.
A law enforcement source told the Los Angeles Times officers broke windows, fired tear gas and called to Dorner, the ex-Los Angeles police officer wanted for a total of four slayings and the wounding of three law enforcement officers, to surrender. The source said police used equipment to pull down the cabin walls "one by one, like peeling an onion" when Dorner failed to answer, and heard a single gunshot as they got to the last wall.
The fire that started during the operation burned out of control and was likely to blame for setting off other gunshots, the Times said.
Police were focusing on the basement area as they hunted for Dorner's body, the newspaper's source said.
CNN reported a source familiar with the operation said the fire was started when a SWAT team stormed the cabin and detonated smoke devices inside.
Heavy smoke and flames were seen pouring from the cabin for an hour. CNN said authorities made no move to put out the flames.
The Times said its law enforcement sources said one of two deputies wounded in the shootout with Dorner Tuesday was pronounced dead after being airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center. San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told reporters a second deputy who was wounded was in surgery "but he should be fine," CNN said.
Panel votes to recommend Hagel
WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- A Senate panel Tuesday voted along party lines 14-11 to recommend the full Senate approve Chuck Hagel's nomination as U.S. defense secretary.
The Senate Armed Services Committee vote was left open for 10 minutes to allow a Republican senator, David Vitter of Louisiana, who was not present and left no instructions, to return and make his views known. He did not return, but his vote would not have changed the outcome.
Democrats control 14 votes on the committee, including Sen. Angus King, Ind-Maine. Democrats also control a majority in the full Senate, 55.
The committee's ranking member, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., unsuccessfully asked that the vote be delayed until GOP questions are answered.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was one of Hagel's strongest opponents. "The next secretary of defense will have to deal with a world on fire," Graham said, "and I believe Sen. Hagel's [earlier] testimony was not reassuring."
Republicans have contended Hagel's past statements showed him as soft on Iran and antagonistic toward Israel.
Bill to legalize hemp advances in Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and former CIA Director James Woolsey testified in favor of a bill that would legalize growing industrial hemp in Kentucky.
The state Senate Agriculture Committee approved the measure unanimously Monday, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal reported.
Growing hemp is banned in the United States under federal law because the seeds contain THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The plant cultivated for industrial hemp -- used in cloth, rope, paper and other products -- has been bred to produce large quantities of fiber with low quantities of THC.
Paul wore a shirt he said was made from hemp produced in Canada.
"If I thought this was going to allow marijuana to take off in our state, I wouldn't be for it," he said.
Kentucky State Police Superintendent Rodney Brewer testified it is possible to get high from the seeds of industrial hemp. But Woolsey compared it to low-alcohol beer.
Woolsey said Brewer's statement "is pretty much exactly like saying you can get drunk on O'Douls. It's very difficult."
A number of states have already legalized hemp production. But they have not been granted waivers by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Senate reauthorizes VAWA
WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate Tuesday reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act and sent it to the House, which passed its own version last year.
The Senate vote was 78-22 to extend protection for victims of domestic violence. The new measure extends those protections to American Indians and lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender victims as well as immigrants, The Hill reported.
"Since its passage, the Violence Against Women Act has provided valuable and lifesaving assistance to ... hundreds of thousands of women in America," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in a statement. "Over the last 19 years, the rate of domestic violence against women has dropped by more than 50 percent, but there are many more who still need help."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated more than a third of women have been raped, stalked or suffered physical violence from an intimate partner.
Vice President Joe Biden, who championed the original measure, hailed the Senate action and urged the House to act "without delay."
"Delay isn't an option when three women are still killed by their husbands or boyfriends every day. Delay isn't an option when countless women still live in fear of abuse, and when one in five have been victims of rape. This issue should be beyond debate -- the House should follow the Senate's lead and pass the Violence Against Women Act right away. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue -- it's an issue of justice and compassion," Biden said.
Girl, 4, shoots self with family's gun
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- A North Carolina couple has been charged in the shooting of the woman's 4-year-old daughter, who shot herself with a gun kept in their home, police said.
Marsharier Littlejohn, 36, and her boyfriend, Leandre Budden, 30, each face one count of failure to store a firearm to protect minors after Littlejohn's daughter found a handgun apparently kept in the couple's bedroom and managed to shoot herself, The Charlotte Observer said Tuesday.
The girl was treated by doctors and is recovering in her mother's care, police said.