Guard, Inmate Killed In La. Prison Rebellion

ANGOLA, La.--A guard and a prisoner were killed late yesterday when a group of inmates took hostages at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, the warden said.

The guard was beaten to death with a hammer when up to seven inmates tried to take his keys in an attempted escape, Warden Burl Cain said.

The inmate, who was holding a knife, was shot to death as he charged out from a prison classroom where the standoff occurred, Cain said.

The incident began at 8:30 p.m. CST when the prisoners overpowered the guards in a classroom. The warden said the inmates held the other guards hostage as he spoke with them.

Correction officers used stun grenades to end the standoff after discovering the dead guard's body in a nearby bathroom. The two other guards in the room were not injured.

The deaths came days after a group of Cuban inmates released a warden they held hostage for a week at another Louisiana jail. That incident ended peacefully when the Cuban government agreed to allow the inmates to return home.

La. Drug Test Plan Rejected

NEW ORLEANS--Louisiana's law requiring random drug tests for elected officials is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday, rejecting arguments that citizens need protection from drug-abusing lawmakers.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal district judge who struck down the law last year, calling Judge Eldon Fallon's decision "complete and well-crafted."

Fallon said the law violated the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure.

He also said state officials failed to show a special need to test elected officials for drug use.

Gov. Mike Foster (R), who supports the law, will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, said his spokeswoman, Marsanne Golsby.

The law required 10 percent of state and local officials to be randomly tested each year. Officials who refused would have faced $10,000 fines and censure.

Under the law, results of a first round of drug tests would have been kept private. When drugs were detected, second tests would have been administered within six months. If they showed signs of drugs, the officials' identities would have become public.

Wildfire Fought in California

ARCADIA, Calif.--Homeowners used hoses to soak their roofs and firetrucks were positioned in driveways as a wildfire burned into back yards in this Los Angeles suburb.

No structures had been burned, but authorities said about 100 people had evacuated an area of about 260 homes.

About 1,000 firefighters and a fleet of water-dropping aircraft were tackling the wildfire, which had burned more than 750 acres in the steep San Gabriel Mountains by late yesterday. The fire was 40 percent contained, and firefighters expected to have it fully surrounded by this afternoon.

Two firefighters were struck by tumbling rocks and suffered minor injuries.