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News Quirks 4/29/15) 

Published April 29, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Police responding to a drug complaint in Richmond, Va., spotted two men, who began running away. One of the fleeing men, later identified as Darnell Elliotte, 20, fired several shots at the officers. He missed them but shot himself in the leg, allowing his pursuers to apprehend him. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

A subcontractor told police he was working in a subdivision in San Antonio, Texas, when a man approached him, showed a black semiautomatic handgun and asked, "Can I rob the house?" The sub said he replied, "It is not my house," and later saw the man exit the house carrying a microwave. He snapped a photo of the man putting the microwave into an auto, whose license plate led authorities to Danny Acosta, 30. (San Antonio's KSAT-TV)

School Daze

German student Simon Schräder, 17, filed a freedom of information request asking the education ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia for the questions to standardized senior exams. The ministry acknowledged that it had received the request, which "is being processed." (Britain's Guardian)

Cheating on statewide secondary school exams is common in Bihar, India, where students routinely smuggle in textbooks and notes, but this year local newspapers published photos of parents and relatives scaling walls of exam centers to pass on answers to test takers. Some even showed police officers posted outside the centers accepting bribes. "What can the government do to stop cheating if parents and relatives are not ready to cooperate?" Bihar Education Minister P.K. Shahi asked. "Should the government give orders to shoot them?" (BBC News) 

Smoking Hazards

A Nevada man inspecting a gasoline can for a leak while smoking a cigarette ignited a flash fire that sent him to the hospital with serious burns. Tim Szymanski of Las Vegas Fire & Rescue said the man's wife suffered burns to her hands after she heard her husband scream and then tried to put out the fire by patting him down. (Las Vegas Sun)

After an explosion singed the eyebrows, eyelashes and hair of Joseph T. Brennan Jr. and burned his face in Quincy, Mass., he jumped out of his car and told a bystander rushing to his aid, "I'm an idiot. I lit a cigarette with the gunpowder in the front seat." Police who searched the car found 14 liquids and powders, some of which could be combined to create a destructive device. Brennan explained he had gotten the materials from a friend to tinker with but insisted, "I wasn't going to do anything malicious." He was arraigned anyway. (Boston Globe)

Game of Drones

A drone delivering asparagus to a Dutch restaurant crashed on a country road and burst into flames. The delivery had been arranged as a publicity stunt by the De Zwann restaurant in Etten-Leur, North Brabant, to celebrate the beginning of asparagus season. A second batch was delivered by traditional means. (International Business Times)

A drone carrying mistletoe and a kiss cam at a TGI Friday's restaurant in New York City crashed into a woman's face, cutting open her nose. "It was like I couldn't get it off because I guess the mistletoe part had fishing wire on it — that's how it was attached — and it got caught in my hair, and it kept twirling and twirling and twirling while this thing is on my nose," Georgine Benvenuto said. (Britain's Independent)

The Devil, You Say

Facing the death penalty for a 2013 killing spree in Nebraska, Nikko Jenkins claims that he acted under orders from a serpent god and is mentally ill. After a Douglas County judge declared him competent to stand trial, Jenkins carved "666" into his forehead, the number of the Beast in the New Testament book of Revelation. But because he mutilated himself while looking into a mirror, the numbers are backward, according to court officials. (Omaha's World-Herald)

Strange Encounters

French police said a 22-year-old man called emergency services to report that a person at a shipyard in Brittany wasn't responsive and needed an ambulance. When rescuers arrived, they found the caller "underneath a boat, on his knees, trying to resuscitate a rubber dinghy." (Britain's Telegraph)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

Roland Sweet was the author of a syndicated column called "News Quirks," which appeared weekly in Seven Days.


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