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Student takes hostages, kills self

A 17-year-old gunman who killed himself after a three-hour hostage standoff in his classroom was a somber, polite student who showed no warning signs of violence, his principal said Tuesday.

"I've had people I've expelled for threatening to kill people. It wasn't one of those who did it. It was a kid who never popped up on my radar," said Erl Nordstrom, principal of the Caro Learning Center, an alternative high school for troubled students.

Chris Buschbacher was upset over a breakup with his girlfriend two days before Monday's standoff, Tuscola County Undersheriff Jim Jashinske said. The teen hid a .22-caliber rifle, a 20-gauge shotgun and a tube of gunpowder in a locker room shower stall sometime Monday.

The girl, who wasn't named by police, was in a classroom with a teacher and two other girls when Buschbacher walked in with the guns Monday afternoon, Jashinske said.

She and another girl ran to Nordstrom's office, saying Buschbacher was firing a cap gun. Audrea Jackson, 15, and science teacher Joseph Gottler were taken hostage.

After negotiations with sheriff's Lt. James Giroux, Buschbacher released Jackson in exchange for a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, and freed Gottler about an hour and a half later. Neither was injured.

The teen's mother came to the scene, but he refused to speak with her, Jashinske said.

Buschbacher shot himself in the head while a state police emergency response team was preparing to enter the building.

Mistrial for rabbi accused of arranging wife's death

CAMDEN, N.J. _ A judge declared a mistrial Tuesday in the trial of a rabbi accused of arranging his wife's murder after the jury said they had reached a standstill on all three counts.

Jurors deliberated for more than 40 hours over seven days before sending Superior Court Judge Linda G. Baxter a note Tuesday saying they could not reach a decision in the case against Rabbi Fred J. Neulander.

Neulander, 60, could have faced the death penalty if convicted on the most serious charges.

Camden County Prosecutor Lee Solomon said he intends to retry the case.

First recipient of artificial heart suffers setback

LOUISVILLE, Ky. _ The first recipient of a self-contained artificial heart has suffered a "major setback," doctors said Tuesday.

In a statement from Jewish Hospital, doctors said Robert Tools' setback "began with the onset of weakness in the right side of his body." The hospital did not provide details.

Drs. Laman Gray and Robert Dowling, the surgeons who implanted the plastic-and-titanium AbioCor on July 2, were expected to give more information today.

TENNESSEE WILDFIRES: A Tennessee Department of Forestry worker watches part of the 2,500-acre fire burn in Wilder, Tenn. More than 300 individual fires have swept across 25,000 acres of woodlands since the end of October. Blazes also have been triggered in Maryland, the Virginias and the Carolinas.

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