Dennis Hopper’s death follows battle with cancer

From CNN:

Actor Dennis Hopper died at his home in Venice, California, Saturday morning, his wife said. He was 74.

Hopper, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October 2009, was surrounded by his children when he died, Victoria Hopper told CNN.

While funeral arrangements have not been decided, Hopper’s wish was to be buried in Taos, New Mexico, his wife said. She said Taos was “his heart home.”

Hopper and his wife were involved in a highly public and bitter divorce fight in the last months of his life.

The actor made his last public appearance on March 26, when his star was dedicated on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

“I just want to thank you,” Hopper said, as he smiled broadly.”That’s all I can do.”

With his 6-year-old daughter, Galen, by his side, Hopper waved and bowed to hundreds of fans lining a barricade along Hollywood Boulevard.

Read entire article


Jeffry Picower Dead: Madoff Friend Found At Bottom Of Pool

I remember Robin Leech’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” He could come back with a new show: “Deaths of the Rich and Famous.”

From The Huffington Post:

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Jeffry Picower, a philanthropist accused of profiting more than $7 billion from the investment schemes of his longtime friend Bernard Madoff, was found at the bottom of the pool at his oceanside mansion and died Sunday, police said. He was 67.

Picower’s wife, Barbara, discovered his body and pulled him from the water with help from a housekeeper, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Medical Center at about 1:30 p.m.

Palm Beach police are investigating the death as a drowning, but have not ruled out anything on the cause of death.

Picower suffered from Parkinson’s disease and had “heart-related issues,” said family attorney William D. Zabel. He described Picower’s health as “poor.”

Picower’s body showed no visible injuries, said Joseph Sekula, spokesman for the Palm Beach Fire Department. Continue reading

British nuclear expert falls 120ft to his death in Vienna

Just a coincidence, nothing to see here, move along.

From The Telegraph (U.K.):
A British nuclear expert has fallen to his death from the 17th floor of the United Nations offices in Vienna.
The 47-year-old man, who has not been named, died after falling more than 120ft to the bottom of a stairwell.

He worked for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, an international agency charged with uncovering illicit nuclear tests.

A UN spokesman in the Austrian capital said there were no “suspicious circumstances” surrounding the man’s death, while a police spokesman said that no other person was believed to have been involved.

No suicide note has been found.

The incident happened on Tuesday as the United States, France, Russia and Iran held talks close by aimed at cooling tensions over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Investigators refused to reveal any further background information on the official but confirmed an autopsy will be held.

Four months ago another UN worker also believed to be British fell a similar distance at the same building, according to other staff working there.

Pensacola cop ran over, killed man during chase, witnesses say


A Pensacola police officer was placed on administrative leave Saturday after his cruiser ran over and killed a young male in Brownsville.

Pensacola Police Department Chief John W. Mathis said Officer Jerald Ard, 35, had been placed on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“It’s obviously a very tragic and unfortunate incident,” Mathis said. “My heart goes out to the subject in this case and his family. We’ll just have to see how this plays out.”

According to a Saturday afternoon news release, Ard saw a suspicious man in a construction site about 1:50 a.m. Saturday, while he was on routine patrol near Cervantes and T streets.

The man left the scene on a bicycle and Ard pursued, attempting to stop him using verbal commands and blue police lights, the release said.

The officer also tried unsuccessfully to shock the fleeing man with a Taser stun gun, according to the release.

After the Taser was fired, the man turned into the parking lot of a vacant business near R Street, crashed his bicycle, and was run over by the pursuing police car, according to the release.

The man, who remained unidentified Saturday afternoon, was pinned beneath the car during the crash, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kristen Perezluha, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said investigators were not ready to release any additional details about the crash.

“We are investigating, but we’re not releasing any details at this point,” Perezluha said.

Perezluha said her agency will handle the “use of force” aspect of the case and the Florida Highway Patrol will investigate the crash.

“We’re handling it the same way we handle officer-involved shootings,” she said. “Generally we complete our investigation and turn the information over to the State Attorney’s Office.”

Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille said his office was contacted Saturday morning and will await the results of the investigation before deciding whether charges will be filed against Ard.

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For more than four hours Saturday morning, investigators took photographs and measurements and placed small cones along the road and the grass to mark the trajectory of the bicyclist and the police cruiser.

As many as a half dozen patrons attending a concert across the street at the music venue Sluggo’s, said they saw Ard pursuing a young black male with dreadlocks on a bicycle eastbound on Cervantes Street shortly before 2 a.m.

Witnesses said they saw Ard fire a stun gun out the window of his moving cruiser at the fleeing suspect immediately before the crash.

Jamison Boler was seated outside with at least seven friends when they saw the blue lights of the police car, then noticed the male on a bike heading east, toward the Pace Boulevard intersection.

“The man on the bike was on the sidewalk, boogeying down, trying to get away,” Boler said. “The policeman fired a Taser out the window. The guy (on the bike) made a U-turn and ditched the bicycle and kind of did a somersault on the ground.
“Not two seconds later, the cop car just ran over him,” Boler said. “The cop ran up on the curb and hopped out of the car and said, ‘Where are you at?’ The guy was still underneath his car. You can still see his red shoe sticking out.”

Another witness, David Taylor, 25, said the male, who appeared to be a teenager, was dragged after being stuck beneath the police car.

“The kid fell off the bike (after being shocked with a stun gun) and then was stumbling because of the momentum,” Taylor said. “It was probably about 10 to 15 feet that the man was drug.”

The police car came to a stop about 35 feet from the male’s bicycle. The man remained pinned beneath the car for more than three hours before the car was removed and his body was taken away.

Police cordoned off the block of Cervantes as a crowd of concertgoers and passersby looked on.

The police later moved the crime scene tape farther from the street because they said the onlookers were hampering the investigation.

Staff writers Travis Griggs and Jamie Secola contributed to this report.

UPDATE: Georgia man dies after Taser ‘drive stun’

Individual was using crack just before incident, police say
October 03, 2009 12:01:00 AM

PANAMA CITY — A Georgia man who was stunned by a Taser during a law enforcement BADGES investigation was taken to a hospital shortly after the tasing Friday and later died, Panama City Police said in a news release.

Two Panama City Police officers and two Bay County Sheriff’s deputies, all of whom are part of the Bay Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Squad (BADGES), stopped a vehicle Friday afternoon in the area of the Turtle Lake Apartments, which is just off West 20th Street. Officers saw that one of the vehicle’s occupants was “consuming an unknown amount of what appeared to be narcotics,” officials said in a news release.

The two Panama City police officers attempted to prevent the man from “consuming or destroying” what turned out to be a large amount of crack cocaine, and they began to struggle, officials said late Friday.

One of the Panama City officers pulled out his Taser X26 and used it to stun the man in what is known as a “drive stun,” the release said. In a drive stun, the probe cartridge is removed from the Taser before use; the device is then pressed against the subject and used, according to the release.

By design, the Taser can be used in 5-second blasts only; however, officials said late Friday they did not yet know if the man was stunned more than once. After the altercation ended, officers realized the man was in need of medical attention and rushed him to the hospital, officials said. He later died.

The medical examiner’s office will perform an autopsy as early as today to determine the cause of death. The man’s name was not released Friday night pending notification of his family, officials said. The names of the officers involved in the incident were not released Friday night.

The two Panama City officers were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, officials said. Panama City officials have asked Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the death, said Deputy Chief Robert Colbert.

“I think everyone involved would agree that this is an unfortunate sequence of events that, if it were at all possible, we would liked to have avoided,” Colbert said. “However, you do have an individual that became combative with law enforcement, and officers are required to react.”

Two other men inside the vehicle were arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. The men have been identified as Bernard Crapps, 30, of Panama City, and Jarell Lacoute Daniels, 25, of Albany, Ga. Another man is in custody and faces weapons and drug charges, but officers did not yet know the man’s identity late Friday, officials said

FDA Delays Ruling on Glaxo Cervical Cancer Vaccine

From CNSNews:

Washington (AP) – The Food and Drug Administration has delayed a decision on GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine for cervical cancer, according to the British drugmaker.

The FDA was scheduled to announce its ruling Tuesday on whether to approve Cervarix, but a Glaxo spokeswoman said the review will continue.

The announcement came one day after British health officials reported a 14-year-old girl died a few hours after receiving the vaccine.

Britain’s National Health Service began offering Cervarix to teenage girls last year, and more than 1.4 million doses of the vaccine have been given out under the program.

Glaxo spokeswoman Sarah Alspach said the death did not influence the FDA’s decision to extend its review.

“The FDA has not indicated the extended review is related to any safety concern,” Alspach said in a statement.

An FDA spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on pending product reviews.

Earlier this month, an outside panel of health experts voted that Cervarix appears safe and effective for girls and women ages 10 to 25. The FDA is not required to follow the group’s advice, though it usually does.

Cervarix already is approved in nearly 100 other countries, but has been delayed in the U.S. since 2007, when the FDA said it needed additional data. The vaccine blocks the two main viruses that cause most cases of cervical cancer.

An approval from FDA would allow London-based Glaxo to compete against Merck’s blockbuster vaccine Gardasil, which has been on the market here since 2006.

The human papilloma virus, or HPV, infects about 6 million people in the U.S. each year, and is spread mainly through sexual contact. It usually causes no symptoms and goes away within two years, although rare cases can develop into warts and cancer in both men and women.

Last year, nearly 4,000 women died of cervical cancer in the U.S., fewer than 1 percent of all deaths from cancer.

Hedge Fund Executive Falls to Death From Escalator


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – A hedge fund executive fell to his death from an escalator at the Pier Shops at Caesars.

James Vellanti died early Sunday morning and police continue to investigate.

Police were called to the mall, which is connected to the casino by a sky bridge, at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

Vellanti lived in Clinton and was chief operating officer for the hedge fund JNF Asset Management LLC in New York. His age was not available.

It is the second time someone has died in a fall from the escalator.

In the first death, Frank Gilbert Jr, 25, of Galloway Township, fell about 40 feet after witnesses said the 25-year-old sat on the escalator’s handrail on Aug. 9, 2008. He died of head injuries later that day.

The mall features more than 75 stores and seven restaurants.  There are three levels to the mall that are open and a fourth is planned.