NATION IN BRIEF: Man charged with murder in Va. attacks

Man charged with murder in Va. attacks

MANASSAS, Va. — A Salvadoran man who was ordered deported nearly a decade ago but never left has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in a series of shootings and a knife attack in a Virginia suburb of Washington, authorities said Friday.

Jose Oswaldo Reyes Alfaro, an illegal immigrant, was charged in the pair of attacks blocks apart Thursday night that left three people dead and three others injured, Manassas Police Chief Doug Keen said.

Reyes Alfaro knew all of the victims, he said, but police were still sorting out the exact relationships.

Brenda Ashcraft, 56, and her son William Ashcraft, 37, were shot and killed in the first attack called into police shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday. A 34-year-old woman was injured and remains hospitalized, and a 15-year-old girl was treated and released.

In the second attack, Keen said 48-year-old Julio Cesar Ulloa was shot and killed, and a 77-year-old woman suffered head wounds from a large knife.

Gas prices highest ever for this time of year

NEW YORK — U.S. gasoline prices have jumped to the highest levels ever for this time of year. The national average hit $3.127 per gallon on Friday, about 50 cents higher than a year ago.

The rise in gas pump prices has so far outpaced the increases seen in 2008. Gas prices began to soar in late February of that year, eventually hitting an all-time high of $4.11 per gallon in July.

While the dramatic price rise at the pump brings back memories of three years ago, when price spikes forced many drivers to join car pools and trade in gas-guzzling SUVs for more fuel-efficient cars, ‘‘it would be a mistake to think we’re going to have that all over again,’’ said OPIS chief oil analyst Tom Kloza.

Suspect in deadly crash had poor driving record

CERES, Calif. — A California man suspected of running his pickup truck into a group of girls, killing one and critically injuring another, has a history of traffic violations, public records show.

Witnesses said 45-year-old Larry Dale Duke drove through a stop sign in Ceres on Wednesday morning and hit the students as they walked to their junior high school.

Thirteen-year-old Danielle Tarancon-Leon, a seventh-grader at Mae Hensley Junior High School, died at the scene.

Eighth-grader Nancy Zavala remained in critical but stable condition Thursday after knee surgery, police said.

Would-be RI bank robber foiled with ‘We’re closing’

CRANSTON, R.I. — A would-be bank robber in Rhode Island was foiled after a teller shut the security door and told him the bank was closing.

Cranston police said it happened Thursday around 7 p.m., closing time at a Citizens Bank counter inside a Stop & Shop grocery store.

Major Robert W. Ryan said the man gave the teller a note written on a ripped paper plate that said, ‘‘This is a robbery.“

The teller put down the security curtain, told the man the branch was closing and closed the security screen door. Ryan said the man walked quickly away, empty-handed.

Police are looking for the man.

Official: NY fugitive killed in Fla. shootout

MIAMI — U.S. marshals in Florida fatally shot a fugitive wanted in New York City for mutilating a lawyer and stuffing him into the trunk of the attorney’s BMW, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Friday.

Barion Blake opened fire on the marshals after they tracked him to Jacksonville and tried to arrest him, the official said. The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to publicly speak about the case.

Blake had been on the run since he got into a fender-bender in Manhattan Jan. 26. Police responding to the accident noticed the BMW’s interior was bloody and found Akeem Ajimotokan in the trunk. He’d been stabbed in the head and body, and his ear was partially sliced off, police said. His hands were tied behind his back.