State briefs

Police: Friend ‘fooling around’ with gun killed girl, 16

ARNOLD (AP) — A teen who was reportedly “fooling around” with a handgun has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of his 16-year-old friend.

Cashaan Williams, of Arnold, is charged as an adult although he was just 17 when Akira Waters was shot in the basement of her boyfriend’s home on Monday afternoon. Williams turned 18 on Wednesday and remained in the Westmoreland County jail.

Williams, Waters and her boyfriend, 19-year-old Brandon Jackson, were in the basement of Jackson’s Arnold home when she was shot. County Detective Jim Williams, who isn’t related to the defendant, says the teens were all friends and that Cashaan was “fooling around” when he fired the fatal shot.

Defense attorney Duke George says the case amounts to manslaughter, not murder, “if it’s even that.”

Natural gas that cleared

schools blamed on passing truck

MURRYSVILLE (AP) — Peoples Natural Gas says an odor that prompted three western Pennsylvania schools to evacuate was likely caused by a passing tanker truck.

Emergency officials asked Franklin Regional Middle School and two of the district’s elementary schools to evacuate shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday. The schools are in Murrysville, about 15 miles east of Pittsburgh.

The district says students at Heritage and Newlonsburg elementary schools were first cleared to return though the middle school remained closed longer as its students were housed at nearby Franklin Regional High School.

The schools and several other businesses that reported the smell are located along U.S. Route 22, a heavily traveled highway in Pittsburgh’s eastern suburbs.

Four students were treated at a nearby hospital because of the fumes, but weren’t believed to be seriously ill.