CEO wounded; employee kills self

A man upset about a job demotion gravely wounded the chief executive of his company in a downtown Chicago office building and then fatally shot himself, police said Thursday.

Steven LaVoie, 54, CEO of the Chicago software company ArrowStream, is in critical condition with gunshot wounds to his stomach and head, police and hospital officials said. The dead gunman was identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office as Anthony DeFrances, 60, of Barrington. He was the company’s chief technology officer and had been with ArrowStream virtually since its founding in 2000, according to the company Web site.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy described the shooting at the LaSalle Street office as an isolated workplace incident. The company is downsizing and a number of people were demoted, he said.

Police were interviewing 10 witnesses who were on the 17th floor of the Bank of America building where the shooting happened before 10 a.m., he said.

LaVoie is also the founder and chairman of ArrowStream and is married with three daughters, according to the company’s Web site. DeFrances also was married with three children, the Web site said.


Ban on therapy to convert gays stands

For the second time in nine months, a federal judge in New Jersey has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on gay-conversion therapy.

The ruling filed Thursday by U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson rejected the claims of a New Jersey couple who said their constitutional rights were being violated because the law prevents them from seeking treatment for their 15-year-old son.

Last November, Wolfson dismissed another challenge to the law filed by a group of plaintiffs that included two licensed therapists who practice what are called “sexual orientation change efforts.”

Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed a law last year banning the therapy. New Jersey was the second state to pass such a law; California passed a similar law in 2012, and the U.S. Supreme Court turned aside a challenge to that law in June.

— Associated Press

Ex-mayor sentenced in corruption case

A former mayor of the scandal-ridden city of Bell who could not read or write English was sentenced to serve a year in the Los Angeles County jail and five years of probation.

Oscar Hernandez was ordered Thursday to pay $241,000 in restitution to the city, which was driven close to bankruptcy by a scheme to vastly inflate official salaries.

Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy also ordered Hernandez to perform 1,000 hours of community service, but she suspended a four-year prison term.

Kennedy said the former official should not have run for office because he couldn’t read English and wound up rubber-stamping documents for the corrupt city manager, Robert Rizzo. Hernandez came to the United States from Mexico as a teenager.

Hernandez expressed remorse and said he should have asked more questions of Rizzo, who was collecting $800,000 a year for running the tiny blue-collar town of 35,000 people.

— Associated Press

Yosemite sequoias safe from wildfire

The section of a wildfire burning close to one of Yosemite National Park’s treasured giant-
sequoia groves died down and got no closer to the grove, park officials said Thursday morning.

Revised estimates put the fire about two miles away from the Merced Grove, not 10 as initially thought, park spokeswoman Kari Cobb said. Still, she said the fire had died down in the area, and the grove was not under any imminent threat.

The fire had burned more than six square miles and destroyed a home and a duplex. It was 34 percent contained. About 50 homes remained evacuated.

— Associated Press

Man wanted in La. caught in Mexico: A man on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list suspected of raping and murdering a woman in her mobile home in 2008 was captured in Mexico and sent earlier this week to Louisiana to face prosecution, an FBI spokeswoman said Thursday. Jose Manuel Garcia Guevara, a Mexican laborer, stands accused of breaking into the trailer of 26-year-old Wanda Barton, raping her and then stabbing her to death in the presence of her 4-year-old stepson. Guevara lived in the same mobile home park in Lake Charles, 200 miles west of New Orleans.

Once-coveted Atlantic City home sells at auction: An unidentified Atlantic City-area real estate figure has bought at auction a property that earned its owner near-folk-hero status for resisting decades of overtures from developers including Donald Trump. Joshua Olshin of AuctionAdvisors said Vera Coking’s modest three-story boardinghouse sold Thursday afternoon for $530,000 plus 10 percent commission. Coking, 86, has moved to California to be near family. She rebuffed repeated offers from Trump and an attempted state takeover of her property. Trump said earlier this week that he had once offered Coking millions of dollars and housing for life if she would sell.

— From news services