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Published: Monday, January 5, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 5, 2004 at 12:36 a.m.

STATE: Miami boy, 9, killed by stray bullet in gunfight

  • MIAMI - A 9-year-old boy was killed by a stray bullet from a nearby gunfight while he was sitting with friends in front of his home, police said.
    Jaroby Brooks suddenly collapsed after he was shot in the chest Saturday night in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood, causing his friends to yell for help, Miami-Dade police said.
    Brooks was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he died.
    Witnesses told police that they heard several shots being fired at the time Brooks was shot. Others said they saw several men fleeing in different directions on foot and bicycles while exchanging gunfire.
    No arrests have been made.

    STATE: Animal rights group questions Scripps tests

  • FORT LAUDERDALE - A South Florida animal rights organization is demanding to know how researchers at the Scripps Research Institute will use animals in scientific experiments.
    The state is investing $310 million to attract the biotech giant, and Animal Rights Foundation of Florida believes residents should know whether their tax money is going toward scientific research that includes harming or killing animals.
    Scripps is slated to start work in 10,000 square feet of leased laboratory space at the Boca Raton campus of Florida Atlantic University as soon as June or July.
    The Animal Rights Foundation wrote to Palm Beach County commissioners to request details on Scripps' plans - including what animals researchers will use, what kind of research they will be used for, and how they will be housed at biomedical labs.
    At its San Diego headquarters, Scripps researchers have used dogs, cats, monkeys, rats, pigs and rabbits in experiments. Last year, for example, researchers studied the impact of the drug Ecstasy on the brains of rhesus monkeys.
    Scripps President Richard A. Lerner said the institute has never been targeted by animal rights activists, and animal testing is critical to improving the understanding and treatment of human conditions.

    STATE: Columnist honored for addressing depression

  • BRADENTON - Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Art Buchwald is best known for his humor, yet the 78-year-old will be honored later this month for his work combating the darker side of his personality.
    Buchwald will be honored Jan. 12 by the National Association for Research on Depression and Schizophrenia at a gala in Sarasota, for his contribution to help raise awareness for those who suffer from depression by publicly revealing his own battles.
    Humor, he said, is a common mask for depression among comics and humorists. In his case, it hid a side so dark that he says he entertained thoughts of suicide.
    "I could fight it, but then I became suicidal. I just couldn't handle it anymore," Buchwald said. "It was so bad that I planned to check into the Plaza Hotel (in New York) and jump from the 16th floor."
    Buchwald revealed his battles with depression on CNN's "Larry King Live" nearly eight years ago. He said at the time that he had two "bad periods" that required hospitalization, one in 1963 and the other in 1987.
    "I wouldn't wish them on anybody, but I got better which is my biggest message for the people out there," Buchwald said at the time. "You get better, and the thing that happened with me is that I became a better person and I became a better writer and I was released with all of these skeletons on my back."
    In an interview with The Bradenton Herald, Buchwald predicted that the Sarasota event will prompt more people to step forward.
    Buchwald was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1982. For many years, he was a columnist for the Herald Tribune in Paris.

    STATE: Longtime circuit judge dies in West Palm at 71

  • WEST PALM BEACH - Retired Circuit Judge Marvin U. Mounts Jr., one of the state's longest serving judges and the first to sentence a man to death after Florida restored the death penalty, has died. He was 71.
    Mounts was diagnosed in December with aggressive lung cancer and died Saturday.
    He began his career in public service as an elected county prosecutor 44 years ago. Mounts was credited with hiring the office's first black, female, Hispanic and Jewish prosecutors.
    Mounts served as a judge for 30 years and was the first to sentence a defendant to death after Florida reinstated the death penalty in 1978.
    He also kept a folder in his chambers of photos from the most gruesome cases of his career, including the motorcycle gang that nailed a woman to a tree, the butcher knife lodged in a skull, severed limbs and bloated corpses from crime scenes. Every year, he led judges, lawyers, police officers and politicians on a tour of the state prison system to give them insight into Florida's criminal justice system.
    He retired a year ago because a state law prevents judges 70 and older from seeking re-election.
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