MACON, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a brush fire burning in the Macon area is expected to smolder until the next significant rainfall.
The Telegraph reports that Macon-Bibb County firefighters early Wednesday morning were called to the area off Tucker Valley Road. The newspaper reports that the orange glow of the fire can be seen by motorists on nearby Interstate 475.
Authorities planned to continue to monitor the blaze as there are some homes and buildings nearby. No injuries were reported.
Macon-Bibb County Fire Chief James Wallace tells WMAZ-TV that officials aren't sure how the fire started.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who authorities are now calling a serial killer opened fire on Los Angeles-area streets for five straight days until he was finally arrested, police said.
By then, three people and two dogs were dead, four people were critically injured and 34-year-old Alexander Hernandez was in police custody, Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said at a Tuesday night news conference.
Prosecutors have charged Hernandez with one count of capital murder, two counts of attempted murder and three counts of animal cruelty. He's expected to be arraigned Wednesday, and charges in the other shootings were expected.
"This man is and was a serial killer," said Bill McSweeney, Los Angeles County sheriff's chief of detectives.
Police gave a chronological outline of the shootings investigators believe Hernandez is responsible for. They were apparently random and there was no known link between the victims or motives
— On Aug. 20 at 6 a.m., a 42-year-old woman was shot and wounded in northeast Los Angeles by a lone man in an SUV as she exited a freeway.
— On Aug. 21 at 5 a.m., 48-year-old Gildardo Morales was shot and killed by a man alone in an SUV in the Pacoima area. It's the only death with which Hernandez has been charged so far.
— On Aug. 22 at 11 p.m., a man fired at a couple in a pickup truck in West Hollywood. They escaped without injury.
— On Aug. 23 at 11:30 a.m., a lone man shot three dogs in Pacoima, injuring two of them.
— On Aug. 24 at 5:50 a.m. a man in an SUV fired on five family members, killing a 23-year-old woman. Within an hour, another 29-year-old man and a 59-year-old woman were each shot and killed before Hernandez was arrested by SWAT officers.
Police said Hernandez had a pistol-grip shotgun in his possession that investigators believe was used in the attacks. He has not been cooperative with officers, Albanese said.
Prosecutors didn't know if Hernandez had retained an attorney.
Police believe Hernandez worked alone and is the sole suspect in the shootings. Detectives pieced together the incidents because of the timing, weapon used and descriptions of the vehicle, McSweeney said. Investigators will be reviewing unsolved shootings dating back several years that involve similar descriptions of a tan or gold SUV and shotgun.
Hernandez has served prison time and has four prior convictions, including possession for sale of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a felon, authorities said.
The charges against Hernandez carry a potential death penalty, and prosecutors plan to ask that he be held without bail.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — If there were any doubts that former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist would be accepted by Florida Democrats, they were cast aside as he overwhelmingly earned the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Rick Scott on a day when four states chose candidates for statewide office.
Crist easily defeated former state Sen. Nan Rich on Tuesday, while Scott coasted in his own primary toward a general election matching the state's last two Republican governors. It's a contest that's already been brutally negative with Scott spending millions on ads attacking Crist since he announced in November that he was seeking his old job with his new party.
"It's unbelievable! What is it, $30 million in trash talk? Oh my gosh!" Crist said after he was declared the primary winner. "Floridians are smart and fortunately we know each other. I've been their governor before, I've been their attorney general, their commissioner of education, a state senator from Tampa Bay. We have a relationship and this new guy who came in from Texas a few years ago is trying to say things about me that aren't true."
In Arizona, State Treasurer and former CEO Doug Ducey won the Republican gubernatorial primary, riding to victory with a campaign that focused on his blend of government and business experience in serving as a state official and building an ice cream company into a national brand.
The race to replace Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, began as a fairly quiet contest focused on health care and jobs before shifting abruptly when thousands of immigrant children began pouring into the country and some settled in the state.
In the quest for right-leaning Republican primary voters, the six candidates quickly staked out hard-line positions on immigration and repeatedly attacked the Obama administration for failing to secure the border.
The crowded primary was a test of Brewer's strength. She endorsed former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith. Democrat Fred DuVal was unopposed in his primary and will face Ducey in November.
Vermont Republicans nominated businessman Scott Milne over three other candidates to face Democratic incumbent Peter Shumlin, who also leads the Democratic Governors Association. Other statewide offices, including an at-large House seat, also are on the ballot.
Oklahoma Democrats chose state Sen. Connie Johnson as their Senate nominee over perennial candidate Jim Rogers. Johnson will be a general election underdog against Rep. James Lankford for the seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Tom Coburn.
Unofficial returns in Florida, with 99.9 precincts reporting, showed Crist with a nearly 3-to-1 lead over Rich, who had been campaigning for governor longer than Crist has been a Democrat. Crist was heavily favored, but it was important for him to post a wide margin to demonstrate that his new party has embraced him four years after he lost a Senate race to Republican Marco Rubio. Crist was an independent then.
His partisan whipsawing in the past, Crist was immediately praised Tuesday night by the leader of his new party. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman, led a chant of "Charlie! Charlie!" during his victory party.
"Voters can see that there's only one candidate for Florida who shares their priorities and it is the next governor of the great state of Florida — Charlie Crist!" Wasserman Schultz told a packed room. "Elect the people's governor! On to victory for Charlie Crist!"
Democrats view the seat as a key pickup opportunity in a state President Barack Obama won twice.
Crist, 58, previously won three statewide races as a GOP candidate, and it wasn't that long ago that he called himself a Ronald Reagan/Jeb Bush Republican. He was once considered a potential running mate for 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain and had the backing of GOP leaders in a 2010 bid for Senate — until Rubio used an image of Crist hugging Obama to chase Crist from the primary. Crist then ran as an independent, but he ended up a distant second. In 2012, he endorsed Obama for a second term.
Scott, 61, who had minor primary opposition, has already spent millions of dollars on ads criticizing Crist and pointing out how he has changed from opposing to supporting same-sex marriage, gun control and Obama's health care plan.
A Crist vs. Scott general election matchup would be sure to feature a high-profile debate over Obama's health care overhaul. Pressured by Republican legislators, Scott abandoned an initial call to expand Medicaid under the Democratic law. Crist has blasted the decision and, unlike many Democrats on the ballot this year, is an unapologetic cheerleader for the Affordable Care Act.
Crist now has to make sure he locks in those Democrats who have been skeptical of his conversion. Even some of Crist's supporters indicated their vote was more about beating Scott than supporting Crist.
"I like Nan Rich, but I didn't want to waste my vote," 65-year-old Lavon Wright said outside a Gainesville precinct. "I think Crist can beat the current governor."
In Oklahoma, some Democratic voters said their Senate runoff was likely a futile exercise.
Phil Defree, 64, a retired civil servant in central Oklahoma, voted for Johnson but said he had no expectations that Democrats can defeat Lankford in a state where Obama failed to win a single county in either of his national victories.
"Oh, no! Not in Oklahoma. I'm a realist," Defree said.
Associated Press writers Bill Barrow in Atlanta, Jason Dearen in Gainesville, Florida; Kristi Eaton in Guthrie, Oklahoma; and Bob Christie in Phoenix contributed to this report.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — CrimeStoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information about thefts that heavily damaged the Montgomery apartment complex where Rosa Parks lived when she refused to give up her seat to a white person on a city bus.
CrimeStoppers Director Tony Garrett tells The Montgomery Advertiser that officials think someone probably saw copper items being taken from the apartments.
Parks' former apartment and several other now-vacant units are being renovated. Montgomery police said workers discovered the thefts Monday.
Parks' former apartment at 634 Cleveland Court is listed as her address in the 1955 police report following her arrest on the bus. Her refusal to give up her seat in defiance of a Montgomery law sparked a bus boycott and became an enduring symbol of the U.S. Civil Rights movement.
BOSTON (AP) — Journalist Peter Theo Curtis returned home to the United States on Tuesday, two days after being freed by a Syrian extremist group that held him hostage for 22 months, his family said.
Curtis family spokeswoman Betsy Sullivan said in a statement that Curtis arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport Tuesday afternoon after leaving Tel Aviv. By evening he had been reunited with his mother Nancy Curtis at Boston Logan International Airport.
"I have been so touched and moved, beyond all words, by the people who have come up to me today — strangers on the airplane, the flight attendants, and most of all my family — to say welcome home," Curtis said in the statement.
He also said he was "deeply indebted" to the U.S. officials who worked to get him released.
Curtis, 45, of Boston, was released by al-Nusra Front, a Sunni extremist group.
Last week, journalist James Foley, who also was kidnapped in 2012 while covering the Syrian uprising, was killed. The Islamic State group posted a Web video showing his beheading.
The extremists said they killed the Rochester, New Hampshire, resident in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes targeting Islamic State positions in northern Iraq.
Curtis' mother said she was "overwhelmed with relief" that her son had been returned to her. "But this is a sober occasion because of the events of the past week," she said. "My heart goes out to the other families who are suffering."
U.S. freelance journalist, Austin Tice of Houston, disappeared in Syria in August 2012. He is believed to be held by the Syrian government.
Major U.S. stock indexes edged higher in morning trading Wednesday, drifting slightly from the record highs the day before. Trading was light ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend as investors sifted through company earnings and deal news.