Good Friday morning, and a lot happened in the Boston Marathon bombing case while you slept…
Weather: Storms were a dud. The forecast of strong to severe thunderstorms overnight largely fizzled out, as our area got only a brief round of moderate rain. Now temperatures take a big drop today, with highs near 60 and lows tonight in the middle to upper 30s; some areas might see light frost. It will warm up a bit Saturday and Sunday, but it will stay chilly both nights.
One bombing suspect killed, the other on the loose. Hours after the FBI issued photos of the two men suspected of planting the bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, one of them is already dead. Now we have learned that the two men are brothers from Chechnya who have been in the United States for several years, possibly attending a school in Massachusetts. Overnight, the brothers were involved in a major gun battle that resulted in the death of a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and another policeman with the area transit authority seriously injured. Those occurred after the brothers allegedly stole a car at gunpoint, then went on a rampage through Boston suburbs where they threw explosives at police. The car was finally stopped in Watertown where one suspect was fatally wounded. Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, remains at large and the Boston region is virtually shut down as authorities conduct a manhunt; Gov. Deval Patrick has asked residents to shelter in place while they try to track down the second suspect. We will have more on this story throughout the day.
Mt. Olive man killed in wreck. Randy Walton, 45, died early Thursday morning after his motorcycle collided with a pedestrian on Interstate 65 near Daniel Payne Drive. That pedestrian was also killed, but the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office hasn’t released his name because next of kin haven’t been notified; they did say he is a white male with possible ties to north Jefferson County.
“Part of that community is gone.” That’s the description of an official as recovery operations continue in the farming town of West, Texas after the explosion of a fertilizer plant there Wednesday night. There is still no official death toll, but so far eight to 10 bodies have been found, with about 160 injured, and a large part of the town around the plant flattened and reduced to rubble. Most of those killed were first responders who were trying to put out the fire that led to the blast.
Sports: Baseball playoffs begin. Assuming no rainouts, play starts today in the AHSAA first round of playoffs, with five local teams involved. All best-of-three series begin with doubleheaders this afternoon, with if-necessary games to be played Saturday. Mortimer Jordan hosts Springville, No. 10 (5A) Pinson Valley hosts Walker, Corner hosts Jemison, Gardendale travels to Vestavia Hills and Fultondale heads to No. 2 (2A) Randolph County… Softball: In a battle of two Class 5A ranked teams, fourth-ranked Hayden took the upper hand in the Area 12 race with a 2-0 win over visiting No. 7 Curry. Leadoff hitter Meleah Hargett scored when she walked, moved to third on two ground-outs and came home on an error; Katie Parr got the other run after she singled, and then scored on an overthrow on another ground-out.