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Texas Officials: Spillover Violence Underreported & Midday Roundup

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By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – Texas officials testifying in Washington say crime rates along the border underreport the extent of spillover violence from the Mexican drug war.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw on Thursday told a congressional panel that statistics don't reflect "what's going on to the ground." Crimes rates in many Texas border cities are generally low and on the decline, but McCraw said that data doesn't take into account incidents such as extortion and attempted kidnappings.

Since January 2010, DPS has linked at least 22 murders and 24 assaults to what the agency considers spillover violence.

The testimony came during a U.S. House subcommittee hearing on homeland security. Federal officials and Democrats on the panel disputed the perception of the Texas border as violently unsafe and wrought with danger.

Officials: Ex-general to run for Senate in Texas

Former Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who oversaw coalition forces in Iraq before retiring in the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, is running for the Senate in Texas as a Democrat.

Two Democratic sources say Sanchez will announce his run Wednesday on Facebook and then file paperwork in San Antonio. The sources would speak only on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement.

The 59-year-old Sanchez is from Rio Grande Valley and lives in San Antonio. He is the only Democrat to declare for the race to replace outgoing Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Republicans expect a crowded primary on their side.

Sanchez was exonerated of wrongdoing in an Army report about Abu Ghraib but has said the scandal effectively forced him to retire.

Dalai Lama donates constitution to Bush institute

The Dalai Lama has donated an early draft of what became the 1963 Tibetan Constitution to the George W. Bush Institute.

The spiritual leader of Tibet and 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner donated the document to the former president and former first lady Laura Bush during a meeting Tuesday. It includes handwritten comments and suggestions from the Dalai Lama.

The document is the first contribution to the institute's "Freedom Collection," which will be a compilation of significant materials from democracy movements around the world.

The institute is part of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which is being built on the campus of Southern Methodist University and is set to be completed in 2013.

On Monday, the Dalai Lama received an honorary degree and delivered a guest lecture at SMU.

Robber kills security guard, wounds store manager

A security guard was shot to death and a Wing Stop employee was wounded in a robbery in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas.

Police say the shooting happened late Tuesday night at a strip shopping center. A masked gunman entered the restaurant at closing time.

When officers arrived, the guard was found dead in the restaurant. The restaurant's night manager was also shot. He was taken to Baylor University Medical Center with injuries that were not thought to be life threatening.

The suspect has not been located.

Texas border city ending yearlong library drought

No longer is Laredo the nation's largest city without a bookstore.

The Texas border city of 250,000 people Thursday will celebrate the opening of a Books-a-Million, more than a year after losing its only bookstore and giving Laredo the dubious distinction of being the largest city in the U.S. without a single bookseller.

A spokeswoman for the city says the new store will occupy the same space abandoned last year when Barnes & Noble Inc. acquired B. Dalton Bookseller and closed 49 stores nationally.

Officials with Books-a-Million didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.