Gunman left suicide note before deadly shooting

KIRKWOOD, Mo. - A gunman carrying a grudge against City Hall left a suicide note on his bed warning 'the truth will come out in the end,' before he went on a deadly shooting spree at a council meeting, his brother told The Associated Press on Friday.

Arthur Thornton, 42, said in an interview at the family's home he knew when he read the one-line note that Charles Lee 'Cookie' Thornton was the man who stormed the meeting Thursday night and killed five people before police shot him dead.

'I want to say for my family that I'm am truly, truly sorry,' Arthur Thornton said, breaking into tears. 'I'm so sorry. This didn't have to happen.'

Friends and relatives said the dead gunman had a long-standing feud with the city, and he had lost a federal free-speech lawsuit against the St. Louis suburb just 10 days earlier.

Poll: Public has dimmest view of Bush, Congress

WASHINGTON - It's almost as if people can barely stand the thought of President Bush and Congress anymore.

Bush reached his lowest approval rating in The Associated Press-Ipsos poll on Friday as only 30 percent said they like the job he is doing, including an all-time low in his support by Republicans. Congress' approval fell to just 22 percent, equaling its poorest grade in the survey. Both marks dropped by 4 percentage points since early January.

The dour public mood seems to chiefly reflect distress over the doddering economy, which has seen job cuts, financial market slides and real estate losses stoke recession fears. Bush's approval for handling the economy dove to 29 percent, a slide of 4 percentage points in a month and matching his low on that issue, with noticeable slumps among middle-income people, Southerners and city residents.

Astronauts check Atlantis for damage

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Atlantis' astronauts spent their first full day in orbit Friday scrupulously checking their ship for any launch day damage, as they steered ever closer to the international space station.

The shuttle was brimming with birthday presents for the station's scientific skipper, Peggy Whitson: a $2 billion European lab that she'll help set up and all kinds of spicy salsas.

Atlantis is due at the space station today, Whitson's 48th birthday.

Ex-Oral Roberts accountant alleges $1B funneled through school

TULSA, Okla. - A former senior accountant at Oral Roberts University alleges that more than $1 billion annually was inappropriately funneled through the school.

Trent Huddleston claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that he discovered an 'unrestricted' account used to funnel 'unusually large' sums of money through the university each month - which would exceed $1 billion on an annual basis - that wasn't used for any legitimate university purpose.

University spokesman Jeremy Burton dismissed any wrongdoing, saying the allegations had 'no basis in fact.' John Tucker, an attorney for the university, said the petition appeared to be 'grounded in fantasy.'

Miss. attorney asks federal judge to dismiss contempt case

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Attorneys for prominent Mississippi attorney Richard 'Dickie' Scruggs asked a federal judge Friday to dismiss criminal contempt charges alleging he ignored a court order to turn over documents related to insurance claims after Hurricane Katrina.

A defense lawyer told U.S. District Judge C. Roger Vinson that Scruggs hopes to put the Alabama case to rest and concentrate on unrelated federal charges filed in Oxford, Miss., where Scruggs is accused of conspiring to bribe a judge in a dispute over $26.5 million in legal fees.

L.A. police try to piece together attack that left family, officer dead

LOS ANGELES - Police on Friday were trying to piece together the motives of a gunman who went on an hours-long rampage and engaged police in an 11-hour standoff a day earlier.

When the ordeal finally ended Thursday morning, a veteran SWAT officer and three others believed to be the gunman's relatives were dead. So was the gunman. Another officer was seriously wounded.

The slain officer was Randal Simmons, 51. His colleague, James Veenstra, also 51, was in stable condition after surgery, said Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell. Two other SWAT officers received minor wounds.

The name of the gunman was not released, but a friend identified him as Edwin Rivera, 20.

- From wire reports