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Dallas County Warns Against Rumors In Police Shooting Case

The Dallas County Medical Examiner has ruled 31 year old James Harper died of gunshot wounds. He has also classified the police shooting of Harper a homicide – meaning the death was the result of a willful act by someone other than the victim.

Harper was shot by a police officer during a chase and fight that began at a known drug house in South Dallas Tuesday.

In a statement, the M-E’s office says it did NOT release information that James Harper was shot in the back, as rumored.

The office says detailed information about Harper’s gunshot wounds has not been released. It will be contained in the official autopsy report, which will be completed in a few weeks.

Officials in the ME’s office say partial information is detrimental to the public, the Harper family and the police department.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Statement James G Harper Inquest

West Nile Cases Climb In D-FW

Seventy one people in Dallas County have West Nile virus. Health officials say they added 7 more cases yesterday.

Tarrant County’s latest update adds a dozen more cases of the mosquito-transmitted illness for a total of 52.

Denton County also reports an increase – the count now 31.

And three reported West Nile cases in Allen bring the Collin County total to 8.

Health officials say people need to protect themselves against mosquito bites by using repellant, wearing long sleeves and pants, and avoiding outside activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

Also drain any standing water that could become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Construction To Close I-35 In Denton Overnight

I -35 in Denton will be closed both ways Friday night.

The highway will be shut down between West Oak and McCormick where construction crews are working on a pedestrian bridge. It will connect the main UNT campus to the new football stadium on the “other” side of I-35.

The freeway shut down is from 10pm Friday to 8am Saturday morning.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Love Field Renovation Closes Restaurants

Next week, Dallas Love Field’s concessions stands in the lobby will be permanently closed. That includes Chili’s, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s.

The closures are part of construction of the new Love Field terminal lobby – set to open in the spring of next year.

Smaller venues, Cinnabon and Hudson News will remain open in the adjacent Baggage Claim Hall.

Past security, along the concourse, concessions remain open.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Gas prices jump 7 cents this week across Texas

Retail gasoline prices have jumped 7 cents this week across Texas.

AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump has reached $3.36 per gallon. The nationwide cost of gasoline rose by a nickel to hit $3.49 per gallon.

The travel association says Dallas has the most expensive gasoline statewide, at $3.40 per gallon. El Paso has the cheapest gasoline this week, at $3.17 per gallon.

AAA says gasoline prices have gone up in recent weeks but Texas drivers are still paying about 25 cents less than a year ago.

Global crude oil prices have increased in the past month.


Man in Texas pipeline incident pleads not guilty

A North Texas man accused of trying to blow up a natural gas pipeline in suburban Dallas has pleaded not guilty.

Anson Chi of Plano entered the plea Wednesday in federal court in Sherman, where he was indicted this month.

Chi remains in custody without bond pending trial on a charge of possession of an unregistered firearm or explosive device.

Investigators say Chi was seriously hurt June 18 when a bomb he allegedly made exploded on a natural gas regulator in Plano. Authorities say the device went off prematurely and caused little damage.

Chi's next court hearing is set for early September.


2 injured in crash discharged, in federal custody

Two people hurt in a deadly Sunday pickup truck crash that killed 15 people have been discharged from a hospital and detained by immigration authorities.

The truck packed with 23 suspected illegal immigrants crashed Sunday evening near Goliad, about 90 miles southeast of San Antonio.

A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement tells the San Antonio Express-News that a juvenile and another person were discharged from hospitals and turned over to ICE. Six other people remain hospitalized.

ICE says those killed when the overloaded truck crashed into trees beside U.S. 59 were from Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.


Convicted Saudi student seeks new bomb plot trial

A former Texas Tech University student from Saudi Arabia convicted in a failed bomb plot has asked for a new trial.

Attorneys for Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari filed the request Wednesday in federal court in Lubbock.

Jurors convicted Aldawsari last month of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Prosecutors say Aldawsari, who was arrested in 2011, had researched possible targets, including power plants and the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush.

His lawyers are challenging prosecution statements that the 22-year-old Aldawsari plotted an attack since he was a child. Attorneys for Aldawsari also say there is no evidence that he possessed a weapon of mass destruction.

Sentencing is Oct. 9. Aldawsari faces up to life in prison.

The U.S. attorney's office declined comment Thursday.


Dewhurst: I focused on Texans, not tea party

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says he never felt the need to woo key tea party leaders nationwide. In his words, "I've been focused on Texans."

Dewhurst made the comments to The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and other tea party favorites are scheduled to visit Dallas and Houston this week to campaign for Ted Cruz, Dewhurst's Republican opponent for U.S. Senate.

Dewhurst says South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and other Cruz supporters are from smaller and less diverse states than Texas.

Dewhurst and Cruz meet Tuesday in a runoff election for the GOP nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.


Bastrop fire report: Homes need larger buffer zone

Texas Forest Service officials say last year's devastating Bastrop County wildfire has shown that the vegetation-free area around a home should extend beyond the long-accepted recommendation of 30 feet.

The Austin American Statesman reported Thursday that a study designed to help prepare for future wildfires found that 85 percent of homes consumed by the most destructive blaze in Texas history had a so-called defensible space of at least 30 feet.

Forest service researcher Karen Ridenour, author of the Bastrop Complex Wildfire Case Study, didn't provide a specific recommendation, but noted that California state law requires a 100-foot radius that's clear of vegetation.

The Bastrop wildfire that started on Labor Day weekend in 2011 burned 32,400 acres and destroyed 1,696 homes in Central Texas. Two people died.