News of the Night 9/9/99 (type it with me, it's fun!)
Saturday, September 3:
Six Killed in School Bus Assault
Austin joined the ranks of cities stricken with school violence today as six students from West Ridge Middle School were killed and five injured on their way home. The students were members of the West Ridge band and were practicing on the weekend.
Reporters have not been able to get a clear picture of the crime. Two of the survivors said that the bus stopped to avoid hitting a pedestrian on the rural roads west of Austin; after he dodged out of the way, one witness said, he drew a gun on the bus driver and shot his way into the bus. The trenchcoated assailant then let two more gunmen and several savage dogs on the bus, witnesses say, and methodically began killing passengers. The killing continued until the gunners' dogs apparently turned on him. Two students are listed in critical condition; several more witnesses were recovering from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder and would not comment. The bus itself was seriously damaged as well, portions of the roof escape hatch were destroyed and several steel bolts were driven into the bus.
Saturday, September 3:
Renaissance Festival Deaths Continue
In a gory reenactment of last week's tragedy, the Forever Knights Renaissance Faire closed its gates at another battle--again, to the death. Nine people attacked each other in front of Lady Diamond's Tapestry Booth, for the second time in as many weeks. None of the nine people survived the battle. The coroner cannot be reached for comments.
Merideth Yssandra, proprietress of Lady Diamond's, says the event was a terrifying repeat of the last week's battle--the attackers gathered together in front of her store. One of them threw a beer bottle. Yssandra left her stall to get the police that were on duty at the festival following the previous incidents of violence, but when she returned, all nine had died apparently from blood loss, knife and axe wounds and trauma.
Forever Knights manager Glen Cooper says this incident will probably destroy the faire. "The artists'll carry on," Cooper said, "But the blood on our soil is just too much for the fair itself to survive."
Yssandra disagreed. "I can't do this again. There was a girl's life spilled on my display. It's too much. I'm not going to the Texas Festival this year--no money's worth it."
9/7/99: Housewife Murders Continue
Wednesday: South Austin had a grisly reminder of last Spring today when the body of Monica Binks, age 37, was found in the woods near South Lamar and Riverside by police [more exact streets given]. The corpse had been disemboweled and portions of the body were found in the trees nearby. The killer or killers removed most of the blood from the body.
Binks was last seen at her trailer home by neighbors. Her family said Binks never went out at night; police found no evidence of a break-in. Typically the Housewife Killer would knock at his victim's doors; housewives who are alone at night are advised not to open their doors unless they know or were expecting visitors.
9/9/99: Austin Interfaith Network holds Candlelight Convocation
Friday, September 10: the Austin Convention Center will be home to "CandleCon," the Austin Interfaith Network's first major public event. Over 3500 Christians from across the state will be travelling to the capital city this Friday to meet and pray for Austin and surrounding areas in what Interfaith Network spokesperson Rev. Kurt Anderson says, is hoped to be a major turning point for Austin, a city at war.
The Austin Interfaith Network was formed in March of 1999 in response to a series of church vandalisms, and has served Austin's community ever since, uniting first the Lutheran, Baptist and Catholic churches to protect the homeless during this year's bitter winter and has continued to bring other Christian churches into the Network.
CandleCon will be running noon to 10 Friday, September 9, and features such keynote speakers as Jason Peck, widely read Christian author and rector of the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Fort Worth, who will be giving the dinner presentation: "Grace under Firestorm: Prayer and Faith in a City Under Attack." CandleCon will also feature a "True Love Waits" concert from 6-8, an authors' and dealers' room, and groups and presentations on prayer and spirituality.
Jacob Williamson 9802-157, ADST