NATION: Officer stopped rampage suspect day of shooting

Officer stopped rampage suspect day of shooting

TUCSON, Ariz. — A wildlife officer pulled over the suspect in the assassination attempt against an Arizona congresswoman less than three hours before the deadly attack, authorities said Wednesday as they pieced together more details of a frenzied morning.

Jared Loughner ran a red light but was let off with a warning at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, the Arizona Game and Fish Department said. The officer took Loughner’s driver’s license and vehicle registration information but found no outstanding warrants on Loughner or his vehicle.

Wildlife officers don’t usually make traffic stops unless public safety is at risk, such as running a red light. The stop was on an access road that connects to Interstate 10, well away from the grocery store, said Game and Parks spokesman Jim Paxon.

‘‘He had a valid license, the car was registered, he had insurance,’’ Paxon said. ‘‘He was warned and released because we had no probable cause to hold, or do an extensive search.’’

Slain dancer’s sister curses defendant

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The older sister of a Las Vegas Strip dancer who was strangled and dismembered stood up in a Nevada courtroom and cursed the woman’s former boyfriend at his arraignment.

Jason Griffith didn’t respond to the outburst from Celeste Flores Narvaez after his arraignment Wednesday before a North Las Vegas judge on charges of felony murder, battery domestic violence and destroying evidence.

The 32-year-old could face the death penalty in the slaying of 31-year-old Debora Flores Narvaez.

Griffith was assigned a public defender and wasn’t asked to enter a plea. The judge set a Feb. 15 hearing.

Debra Flores Narvaez was a dancer in the ‘‘Fantasy’’ show at the Luxor hotel-casino.

Oil rises above $92 a barrel as supplies drop

Oil prices rose Wednesday after the government reported a larger-than-expected drop in crude oil supplies and stock markets climbed on Europe’s improving financial picture.

Benchmark oil for February delivery rose $1.05 to $92.16 a barrel in midday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oil prices have hovered between $88 a barrel and just above $92 a barrel since the new year began on expectations that the U.S. economy was getting stronger. Demand for oil has remained robust in emerging markets, particularly in Asia.

Fire kills 17,000 chickens at Va. poultry plant

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Fire officials in northern Virginia say an electrical short caused a blaze at a poultry house that killed 17,000 young chickens.

Media outlets report that the fire occurred outside Harrisonburg Monday night at a poultry house.

Rockingham County Fire and Rescue assistant fire marshal Mike Armstrong says most of the 4-week-old chickens died from smoke inhalation.

Armstrong said the fire inside the steel-framed structure was mostly out when firefighters arrived.

Mace to plead guilty to storing hazardous waste

BENNINGTON, Vt. — Mace, the company that makes tear gas and pepper spray products, says it will plead guilty to a federal charge of storing hazardous waste at its Vermont plant without a permit and will pay a $100,000 fine.

Mace Security International Inc. announced the intended settlement Monday.

Mace and founder John Goodrich were charged with keeping hazardous waste in buildings at its Bennington plant and in shipping containers outside it. The company says it has spent more than $785,000 cleaning up the site.

Haley takes oath as S. Carolina’s 1st female gov.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Nikki Haley has taken the oath of office, becoming South Carolina’s 90th governor and the first woman to run the state.

South Carolina Chief Justice Jean Toal administered the oath under sunny skies but in near-freezing temperatures on the Statehouse steps.

Dressed in a bright, white overcoat and with husband Michael and their two children by her side, the 38-year-old Republican became the nation’s second Indian-American governor.