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NEWS BRIEFS: Amber Alert issued for unborn baby; man opens fire at Crystal Cathedral; judge approves candy cane pens

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A two-day old health baby was found in Kansas Friday, Dec. 17, after police received a telephone tip, according to afternoon news reports.

An Amber Alert, typically issued for missing children, had been in effect for an unborn baby who was cut from its mother’s womb after she was murdered at her home in Skidmore, Mo., Dec. 16.

The mother was eight months pregnant at the time of her death.

Details were minimal at press time, but authorities had said the suspect may have blonde hair and may be driving a red two-door vehicle, which neighbors say was parked outside the home around the time of the murder.

Bobbi Jo Stinnet was killed around 3 p.m. CT, police said, and her mother discovered her body about an hour later. Sheriff Bill Epsey told the Associated Press strangulation was being considered as a cause of death, and there were no visible signs of a struggle or signs of forced entry into the home. The victim’s husband was ruled out as a suspect because he was at work at the time.

“Someone was wanting a baby awful bad,” Epsey said.

The case is significant for the right to life movement because an Amber Alert was issued for an unborn child.

SHOOTING AT CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL — A church musical director with a history of mental illness opened fire inside the Crystal Cathedral in Orange County, Calif., Dec. 16 and killed himself after a nine-hour standoff with police. No one else was injured in the incident.

Authorities say Johnnie Wayne Carl, 57, began firing shots on the cathedral’s concourse level, where about 100 cast members were preparing for the first of two Glory of Christmas programs that night. He then went alone to an office and eventually barricaded himself inside a bathroom. Children in a day-care center at the church were rushed to safety, the Associated Press reported.

A SWAT team was called to the scene, and police attempted to negotiate with the gunman, who was a full-time employee of the church. Robert Schuller, the well-known pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, went to a police command post near the church and taped a personal message for the man, the AP said, but police did not have a chance to play that message or one from the man’s wife before he shot himself.

The Crystal Cathedral opened in 1980 and has more than 10,000 members and a sanctuary that seats 2,900 people. It is also known as an architectural icon with more than 10,000 windows of silver-colored glass.

JUDGE APPROVES CANDY CANE PENS AT SCHOOL — In a victory for pro-family groups, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against a Texas school district Dec. 16, thus allowing school children there to exchange Christian-themed gifts.

U.S. District Paul Brown’s order against the Plano Independent School District said that “there is substantial likelihood that Plaintiffs will prevail on the merits” when the case receives a full hearing. Attorneys for the Liberty Legal Institute and the Alliance Defense Fund – two pro-family legal groups – filed the lawsuit Dec. 15. They asked for the temporary restraining order because “winter break” parties were scheduled to take place Dec. 17 in the Dallas-area school district.

One year ago at the same party, Jonathan Morgan, a third-grade student, allegedly was prevented from handing out “goody bags” that included candy canes with a Christian message. That student, along with a handful of others, are involved in the lawsuit.

“The court finds that there is evidence that Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable injury if the court does not grant the Temporary Restraining Order and that the injury will occur immediately,” Brown wrote.

Attorneys for the children’s families praised the ruling.

“We are very pleased with Judge Brown’s decision to uphold the Constitution and grant the students the right to express their religious beliefs as they desire,” Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Legal Institute, said in a statement.

Doug Morgan, Jonathan’s father, told the AP that his son “really feels affirmed that exercising his right of religious expression in public is appropriate.”

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