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Police: 4 arrests in killing of USC student

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Police say two adults and two teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of murder in the killing of a Chinese foreign exchange student from the University of Southern California.

Los Angeles police spokesman Andy Smith said Monday the suspects are being held for investigation of murder with special circumstances and other charges.

Police say a fifth suspect was arrested on suspicion of robbery and is thought to be connected to the other four.

Police say 24-year-old Xinran (SHING'-rahn) Ji was found dead Thursday morning in his off-campus apartment. Officials say the graduate engineering student was walking home from a study group when he was attacked.

In 2012, two Chinese graduate students were shot during a robbery near campus. One of two men charged with those killings has pleaded guilty to murder.


Rare storm at California beach hard to see coming

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Although lightning does strike Southern California frequently, it rarely hits the beach.

When it does, the consequences can be chaotic and deadly, as they were Sunday when a huge lightning bolt descended on Los Angeles' bohemian Venice Beach, killing 21-year-old Nick Fagnano and injuring 12 others.

Climatologist Bill Patzert says the storm that materialized did so rapidly and was so isolated that he couldn't say anyone was to blame for not seeing it coming despite lightning striking a man on a golf course on nearby Santa Catalina Island earlier in the day.

The chances of being struck by lightning in California are one in 7 to 10 million, much rarer than other parts of the country. The phenomenon is so rare that lifeguards lack an emergency warning system.


Friends, family mourn death in LA lightning strike

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Friends and family are mourning the death of 21-year-old Nick Fagnano (Fahn-YANN'-Oh), who died after lightning struck off the coast of Los Angeles' popular Venice Beach.

Fagnano's uncle Dennis Shanahan said Monday his nephew was "a kid that lit up the room wherever he went."

Some witnesses said Fagnano had been in the water when the lightning hit Sunday. He was unresponsive as he was rushed to a hospital and later died.

He grew up in Los Angeles and played pitcher on the baseball team at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks.

Fagnano attended Santa Barbara City College and had been accepted as a transfer student to the University of Southern California, where he planned to pursue urban policy and development.

A funeral is scheduled for Thursday.


Conservation group appeals San Diego power plant

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A conservation group is challenging a proposed natural gas power plant in San Diego.

The Protect Our Communities Foundation filed a petition with the 4th District Court of Appeal on Monday asking it to overturn the California Public Utilities Commission's approval of the plant.

The state commission voted unanimously earlier this year to approve it despite concerns from environmentalists.

The plant's supporters say it is particularly needed because the San Onofre Nuclear power plant went offline last year.

Opponents say the approval undermines the state's commitment to green energy and will cost taxpayers $1.6 billion during its first 25 years.

The plant would be in Otay Mesa, about 20 miles southeast of downtown San Diego.

The CPUC says it hasn't seen the petition and can't comment.


Suspect's mom also charged in California burglary

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) - The mother of a man facing a murder charge in a California robbery that ended in a second suspect's fatal shooting has also been charged in the case.

Prosecutors said Monday that 49-year-old Ruby Adams is charged with first-degree residential burglary and first-degree residential robbery for acting as a lookout for her son and another female suspect.

That female suspect, 28-year-old Andrea Miller, died after the 80-year-old homeowner shot her as she fled down an alley.

Gus Adams was charged last week with murder, burglary, robbery and weapons charges in the July 22 Long Beach case.

Authorities say the 26-year-old can be charged with murder because he participated in a crime that resulted in someone's death though he did not fire the weapon.

Police continue to investigate the shooting.


Police seek driver in fatal Los Angeles crash

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles police are searching for the driver of a pickup that crashed west of downtown, killing a pedestrian and injuring two others.

Officer Joel Morales says a preliminary investigation finds the truck went through a red light, collided with a Toyota Camry, and then hit the pedestrians. A BMW also was involved in the crash.

Coroner's officials say a man in his 40s died at the scene. City News Service says a man and a woman also in their 40s were taken to a hospital, where they were reported to have stable vital signs.

Morales says the drivers of the two cars remained at the scene, but the driver of the pickup truck ran.


Cattle auction boss gets probation in cruelty case

ONTARIO, Calif. (AP) - The owner of a Southern California livestock auction house will serve probation for his role in an animal cruelty case that came to light after an undercover investigation by an animal rights organization.

Horacio Santorsola entered a plea of no contest Monday in San Bernardino County Superior Court to a misdemeanor count of receiving improperly held non-ambulatory animals.

He also must pay $1,000 in fines and fees to the Inland Valley Humane Society.

Other charges were dismissed in a plea deal.

The Los Angeles-based group Mercy for Animals secretly filmed workers kicking and stomping on pigs, hitting emus with a baton and slinging baby goats by the neck and hind legs.

Santorsola and seven employees at his company, Ontario Livestock Sales Inc., were charged in 2012.


Groups seek probe into pepper spray use

SAN DIEGO (AP) - California civil rights organizations have filed a complaint with the Justice Department asking for a federal investigation into the use of pepper spray in San Diego County's juvenile detention facilities.

The complaint filed Monday alleges that pepper spray use is rampant against youth offenders, including those at risk of suicide or self-harm. It also says officials have used it against youth who failed to follow verbal instructions and on minors with sensitive medical conditions.

The San Francisco-based Youth Law Center, the California Rural Legal Assistance Inc. and a San Diego-area coalition of community organizations, including the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, jointly filed the complaint.

Justice Department and county officials could not be immediately reached for comment.


LAX museum finds itself up for possible relocation

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Supporters of the Flight Path museum at Los Angeles International Airport are not happy with plans under consideration to move the popular learning center to a site off the LAX complex.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that a possible new location for the museum would be the site of the aviation-themed Proud Bird restaurant on Aviation Boulevard.

Airport officials are seeking proposals for development of the Proud Bird property. If the winning bidder includes moving the museum in its plans, the winner would be eligible to extend an 11-year lease by an additional 10 years.

Museum officials say that the Proud Bird property is unsuitable and that they were never consulted by airport officials about moving.

Flight Path includes an aviation museum, aerospace library and education center.

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