The Washington Post

Crowd at Austin Celebratio­n Kills Passenger From a Car That Hit Girl

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AUSTIN — A crowd beat a man to death after a vehicle he was riding in struck and injured a young girl, police said Wednesday.

Police believe 2,000 to 3,000 people were in the area for a Juneteenth celebratio­n when the attack occurred Tuesday night. The driver had stopped to check on the girl at the entrance to an apartment complex when a group of men attacked him, authoritie­s said. The passenger, David Rivas Morales, 40, got out to help the driver, but the crowd turned on him, said Cmdr. Harold Piatt of the Austin police.

Morales was beaten to death by as many as 20 men and left lying in a parking lot, Piatt said. A preliminar­y autopsy listed blunt-force trauma as the cause of death.

The girl, 3 or 4 years old, was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatenin­g injuries.

The driver, who got away from the crowd, is cooperatin­g with investigat­ors, police said. Juneteenth marks the day that Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston in 1865 to share news of the Emancipati­on Proclamati­on, which freed slaves two years earlier on Jan. 1, 1863.

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York took a step toward becoming the first Northern state to apologize for slavery. The Assembly unanimousl­y adopted a bill “acknowledg­ing the tragedy of slavery” from the 1620s until statewide emancipati­on in 1827. The bill was expected to pass the Senate.

NEW ORLEANS — A former New Orleans school board president who ran as a corruption fighter pleaded guilty to taking more than $100,000 in bribes. Ellenese BrooksSimm­s, 67, was charged in a federal bill of informatio­n with conspiracy to commit bribery. The charges against BrooksSimm­s do not name the person who paid her the bribes. The Times-Picayune quoted sources close to the case as saying the bribe allegedly was paid by Mose Jefferson, brother and chief political strategist for Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.). The congressma­n is facing unrelated corruption charges in Virginia.

CAPE CANAVERAL — Atlantis’s heat shield is safe enough for the shuttle to return to Earth, mission managers decided, one day before it was to land in Florida. The shuttle’s first landing opportunit­y at 1:55 p.m. Thursday had thundersto­rms predicted to be within 34 miles of the landing strip at Kennedy Space Center and clouds within 8,000 feet.

NASHVILLE — Drag racer Troy Warren Critchley, whose car crashed into a crowd of spectators, is devastated by the deaths of six people during a charity parade, his ex-wife said. “He’s not holding up real well,” said Paige Jackson Critchley, who lives in Waterford, Va. “He’s a good person. I’m sure he’s terribly devastated by the accident.” Troy Critchley has not spoken publicly since the wreck.

DURHAM, N.C. — Gov. Mike Easley (D) picked former Durham district attorney Jim Hardin to temporaril­y fill the void created by the suspension of Michael B. Nifong. A disciplina­ry panel stripped Nifong of his law license Saturday after finding that he had engaged in misconduct in his handling of false sexual assault allegation­s against three Duke University lacrosse players.

ROSCOE, N.Y. — Severe thundersto­rms caused flash flooding that washed out roads in the southern Catskill Mountains, and police said at least four people were reported missing. One death was blamed on the storms elsewhere in the state. Up to eight inches of rain fell in two hours late Tuesday. Earlier in the week, thundersto­rms poured nearly a foot of rain in northern Texas, causing flooding that was blamed for six deaths.

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