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Dallas Gunman Licensed In Law Enforcement & Midday Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – Patrick Sharp's shootout with authorities Tuesday morning came after he towed a trailer filled with explosives into the parking lot of the McKinney police station and set his pickup truck on fire, police said. Sharp retreated to a field across a road and fired more than 100 rounds at police headquarters, McKinney police Chief Bob Kowalski said.

Nobody else was injured in the attack, and Kowalski says police don't have a motive.

The Collin County Medical Examiner on Wednesday said Sharp died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Records show that Patrick Gray Sharp of Anna was licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety to work as a security guard in 2004. Three years earlier, he was licensed as a jailer by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.

Sharp worked as a security guard for building wire manufacturer Encore Wire Corp. in McKinney, said Cheryl Cox, the mother of a man Sharp shared a home with in Anna, about 15 miles north of McKinney. Cox said she thought of Sharp as a son and was "shocked" by the attack. Cox said she had no idea why Sharp would target police.

Cox and her husband, Bobby Cox, live in a home just behind the house Sharp shared with Eric McClellan. Bobby Cox said Sharp showed no sign of trouble Saturday, the last time they saw him.

McClellan told the AP he was on vacation outside Texas when he received calls from state troopers and Bobby Cox, his stepfather, telling him what happened. He said Sharp was "fine and dandy" when McClellan left Texas earlier this week.

A spokesman for Encore Wire told The Dallas Morning News that Sharp resigned a few days ago. An Encore official wasn't immediately available to comment to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

ACT scores dip, but more students college-ready

Average scores on the ACT college entrance exam inched downward this year nationally, while Texas scores held steady.

A report Wednesday indicates last spring's high-school seniors averaged a composite score of 21.0 on the scale of 1 to 36, down slightly from 21.1 last year and the lowest score in five years.

In Texas, the average composite score of 20.8 remained the same since the previous year.

At the same time, 24 percent of ACT-tested students met or surpassed all four of the test's benchmarks measuring their preparedness for college English, reading, math and science. That is up from 23 percent last year and 21 percent in 2006. The number of Texas seniors who met or surpassed the ACT benchmarks improved to 24 percent, up from 22 percent in 2009 and 18 percent in 2006.

Garland youths facing charges in woman's death

Police say murder and aggravated assault charges are being filed against a 13-year-old boy and his 12-year-old girlfriend after a shooting that left a suburban Dallas woman dead and her husband wounded.

Garland police said Wednesday the youths were taken into custody soon after 46-year-old Darlene Nevil's body was found in her home.

Her husband, 48-year-old Alan Nevil, was in a neighbor's front yard and told police who shot him. Police say he underwent surgery at a Dallas hospital and is in stable condition.

Authorities say they found a handgun they believe was used in the attack.

Police won't reveal the nature of the children's relationship to the Nevils. The youths are being held in a juvenile detention center.

American Airlines to charge for front-row seats

American airlines will now charge between $19 and $39 dollars for "Express Seats" - those spots in the first few rows of coach.

The carrier's parent AMR Corp. said Wednesday that the price of the seats includes getting on the plane in the first "general boarding" group of passengers.

The seats can only be purchased at airport kiosks between 24 hours to 50 minutes prior to the flight for travel within the U.S. American still provides travelers with the option to pre-reserve other seats in the coach cabin at no charge.

Several other major airlines, including UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and Continental Airlines, also charge for the best seats in coach.

Texas deer breeder sentenced for smuggling

A licensed deer breeder from Austin must serve three years of probation for illegally transporting wildlife in east Texas. U.S. Attorney John Bales says 41-year-old Lance Clawson was sentenced Wednesday in Tyler.

Clawson on April 14 pleaded guilty to smuggling whitetail deer from Oklahoma into Texas. He also was fined $15,000 and must pay $7,250 in restitution to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

Investigators say Clawson, who operates a ranch and deer breeding facility near Goldthwaite, traveled to Muskogee, Okla., on Oct. 15, 2008, to buy fawns from a breeder. Clawson's vehicle was stopped the following day by Texas game wardens as he returned with eight fawns.

Texas law bans importing live whitetail or mule deer due to the threat of transmittable diseases.