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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

   NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal official has confirmed that a fire has broken out on a blown-out Gulf of Mexico gas well.

   Eileen Angelico of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement confirmed to The Associated Press that the evacuated rig caught fire late Tuesday. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

   The drilling rig involved was evacuated early Tuesday when the blowout occurred.

   Angelico says it wasn't immediately clear what caused the gas to ignite. And it wasn't known what efforts to extinguish the blaze were being made early Wednesday.

   Personnel with Wild Well Control Inc. were at the site to assess how and when to try to bring the well under control.

   

   STEELVILLE, Mo. (AP) - An eastern Missouri man is charged with second-degree murder, accused of shooting another man following an argument along the Meramec River.

   The shooting happened Saturday afternoon. The suspect, 59 year old James Crocker of Steelville, is jailed on $650,000 cash-only bond.

   Court records allege that Crocker, a property owner along the river, was angry that a man on a float trip stopped to urinate on a gravel bar. Crocker is accused of shooting the man's traveling companion, 48 year old Paul Dart, Jr. of Robertsville.

  Dart's widow, Loretta Dart says her husband had tried to intervene to keep the peace.

   "My husband was trying to solve the situation without anyone getting hurt," she said.  "And it wound up taking his life." 

   Dart was shot in the head. Crawford County Sheriff Randy Martin says Crocker then went to a neighboring home and asked a woman to call 911.

   Dart's widow says he was on his annual float trip with about 50 others.

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A U.S. Supreme Court decision about federal benefits for gay couples has prompted the Missouri Supreme Court to take a second look at a pending case.

   The state's high court heard arguments in February on a challenge to a Missouri law that denied survivor benefits to the same-sex partner of a Highway Patrol officer who died in the line of duty.

   In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law that that barred legally married same-sex couples from receiving benefits from the federal government.

   The Missouri Supreme Court has asked attorneys involved in the Highway Patrol officer's case to submit additional written arguments in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. That could further delay a decision in the Missouri case.

   

 

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