Fight erupts in gunfire
A fight between two people erupted in gunfire at a Houston-area community college, leaving three people wounded, including a maintenance worker caught in the crossfire. No one was killed, but the volley of gunshots just after noon on Tuesday on the Lone Star College campus sent students and others scrambling for safety and sparked fears of another campus massacre slightly more than a month after 26 people were killed at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Harris County sheriff’s officials said late on Tuesday that Carlton Berry, 22, had been charged with aggravated assault in the shooting. Berry remained hospitalized, the officials said. The conditions of the other person involved in the shooting and the maintenance worker were not available. Authorities offered no details about what led to the fight.
Art ‘dealers’ sent to prison
A federal court handed down prison terms on Tuesday to a US man and a Mexican woman for trying to sell a US$3 million Henri Matisse painting stolen from a Venezuelan museum. Pedro Antonio Marcuello Guzman, a 46-year-old resident of Miami, was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison, while 50-year-old Maria Martha Elisa Ornelas Lazo of Mexico City got one year and nine months. The pair had initially denied in court that they conspired to transport and sell Odalisque in Red Pants, but then changed their story and pleaded guilty in October. Venezuelan authorities realized in 2003 that the painting hanging at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the capital Caracas was a fake. The exact date of the theft is unknown, though December 2002 has been suggested. The indictment accused Marcuello of negotiating the sale of the Matisse for approximately US$740,000 with undercover FBI agents. The painting has been valued at US$3 million.
Stuart Hall faces 15 charges
Police on Tuesday charged veteran BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall with one offence of rape and 14 of indecent assault committed between 1967 and 1986. The assaults involve 10 girls aged between nine and 16 years old, and the rape charge concerns a woman aged 22 when the alleged offence took place in 1976. Hall was bailed to appear before magistrates in Preston, northwest England, on Feb. 7. Hall has been a familiar face and voice in British broadcasting for half a century and was last year awarded an Order of the British Empire. His eccentric and distinctive soccer match summaries have made him a cult figure on BBC radio.
Art-theft suspects arrested
Authorities have arrested three men suspected of stealing paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Monet from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum in October last year, news agency Mediafax said on Tuesday. Thieves made off with seven paintings, which also included a Gauguin, a Lucian Freud and a Meyer de Haan, thought to be worth tens of millions of dollars in a brazen and meticulously planned operation. A Bucharest district court made a ruling late on Monday allowing authorities to hold three men for 29 days. The court made the ruling in response to a request from Romania’s DIICOT government prosecuting office, which investigates organized crime and terrorism. The theft was one of the art world’s most dramatic in recent years and one of the biggest ever in the Netherlands.