UW police adding semiautomatic rifles to arsenal

Herald news services

SEATTLE— The University of Washington Police Department is planning to buy semiautomatic weapons to give officers more firepower. While acknowledging that the campus is generally safe, Police Capt. Randy Slegmeier said, "We still feel our officers need to have the best available training and the best available equipment." The department is considering the purchase of 10 Colt AR-15s, the civilian counterpart for the military’s M-16. Campus police, who currently use shotguns, have been training to use AR-15s for six months. The semiautomatic rifle is expected to be added to the department’s arsenal sometime later this year. Shotguns will be used to fire beanbags as part of an effort to make more use of nonlethal weapons.

The department already uses 9mm handguns.

  • Turtle goes home: A green sea turtle named Chloe has been released back into the Pacific Ocean off Point Loma, Calif. She was found last December on a beach at Ocean Shores, cold and bruised. After four months of intensive therapy at the Seattle Aquarium, she was taken to SeaWorld San Diego for more treatment. Chloe, an East Pacific turtle, has been fitted with a satellite transmitter so biologists can follow her travels. All eight species of sea turtles are considered endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

  • Death investigated: Police here have turned to the public for help in their investigation of the death of a Bothell man. Scott Harry Kraus, 35, was found strangled Tuesday in a ditch off Southwest Dash Point Road. Detectives said they have few leads and are still looking for Kraus’s missing minivan, a burgundy 1988 Dodge Caravan.

  • Happy birthday, bridge: Send out for the helium balloons. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is 50 years old. A birthday bash planned todays will feature a six-foot, three-dimensional cake made in the bridge’s image. The noon celebration at the Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society Museum will spotlight the crucial role museum directors say the bridge played in Gig Harbor history. "It can easily be argued that the successful spanning of the Narrows Bridge is the single most significant event in the history of this community," said Chris Fiala Erlich, executive director of the historical society.

  • Colorado legislator dies in plane crash: Colorado state Rep. Gary McPherson, 37, a Washington state native, was one of three people killed in a plane crash in British Columbia, the governor’s office said Friday. Officials said McPherson, a native of Auburn, was piloting the single-engine plane when the accident occurred Thursday night, about 190 miles east of Vancouver. Also killed were McPherson’s aunt, Carol Elaine Pegar, 58, of Gladstone, Ore.; and Bruce Schnurr, 63, of Gadsby, Alberta, authorities said. The plane went down about 45 miles north of Rock Creek. The fourth person on the plane, McPherson’s cousin, Caroline Sukow, 39, of Westbridge, British Columbia, was in serious condition Friday. Schnurr is Sukow’s stepfather. McPherson received his bachelor of science degree in business administration from Union College. He got his law degree from the University of Nebraska in 1988. He was a licensed pilot, and enjoyed backpacking, skiing and scuba diving.

  • Deadly show-and-tell: A 16-year-old boy was arrested Friday morning after he brought a handgun to school in Beaverton, police said. Police were called to the scene after school officials found the .22 Smith &amp Wesson semiautomatic in the boy’s backpack. The weapon was in a gun case and was not loaded. A loaded clip was in the case with the gun. The boy told police he got the gun from a relative and wanted to show it to his friends. He didn’t threaten anyone with it or take it out of his bag, officials said. The boy will be evaluated before he is released. He is charged with unlawful possession of a weapon.

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