New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 16, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
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SO-WEST hiOROPUBLI SU I NG 2627 E YANDELL DR
LL POGO, TX 79903
A. I I VJ
Vol. 148, No. 106
24 pages in 2 sections April 16, 1999
Serving Comal County since 1852
50 centsGunman opens fire in Mormon Library, 3 dead
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A 71-year-old man calmly walked into the Mormon church’s renowned genealogical library during an international convention on Thursday and methodically shot people with a small-caliber handgun.
Before it was over, the gunman had killed a church security officer and a library patron and wounded five others, including a police officer. He was fatally shot by police and died later in an ambulance.
Police knew of no motive for the gun
man, identified as Sergei Babarin of Salt Lake City. Mayor Deedee Corradini said at a news conference that the gunman was schizophrenic and had not been taking his medication.
“He didn’t say anything. He just came in and started shooting people,” said Margaret Kane, who was at the library, directly across the street from Temple Square.
“He just looked intent on what he was doing. He came to do what he was doing,” said Kane, who huddled under a desk in the
first-floor research area as the man roamed the lobby and adjacent classrooms, stopping at one point to reload.
“I did not hear him say anything. He didn’t call out, no names or anything. He just kept his hand held out pointing at people.”
Babarin, a married man with children, he was a Russian native often frustrated by his broken English, neighbors said.
Police Chief Ruben Ortega said Babarin was arrested after a 1995 fight at a depart
ment store in downtown Salt Lake. He had been carrying a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol and was charged with assault and carrying a concealed weapon.
The library, the largest center for genealogical research in the world, is directly across the street from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Salt Lake Temple and Tabernacle. It has more than 2 million rolls of microfilm copies of census and other records from more than IOO countries.
An international genealogical convention had attracted heavy traffic to the library, which has two floors below ground level and three above. Some 250 people — patrons and employees — are in the building on a typical (fry.
The church has been involved in genealogy since its founding nearly 170 years ago. The church amasses the records for what it calls the baptism of the dead. Mormons believe that such baptisms give the dead the opportunity to join in the afterlife.TxDOT battling deadline
Pollution levels could stop projects
Bv Chris Crews Staff Writer
Texas Department of Transportation officials are scrambling to get area highway programs planned, bid and let before possible federal sanctions take effect next summer.
“We’re trying to get the rest of 1-35 approved by July 2000,” TxDOT area engineer Greg Malatek said.
Federal funding for widening of Interstate 35, U.S. 281 and Texas 46 could dry up if San Antonio does not meet federal air quality standards, Malatek said. The federal government can suspend or even terminate transportation projects in areas not meeting Environmental Protection Agency standards.
The EPA is expected to announce the non-attainment areas in July 2000. Clean-air sanctions would take effect immediately if the areas did not have plans in place to meet federal clean air standards.
On March 2, a federal judge ruled the EPAk practice of allowing projects under way to receive federal funding was illegal. Malatek said the elimination of the “grandfather” clause complicated planning road projects.
TxDOT was moving ahead with acquiring right-of-way for the section of 1-35 between Texas 46 and Farm-to-Market Road 306, he said.
The work being done to get the 1-35 project in New Braunfels bid before the July 2000 date was two or three years ahead of its original schedule.
“TxDOT is working with the city, commissioners’ court and the chamber of commerce to get the work done,” Malatek said.
San Antonio, Austin and Tyler MSAsSee DEADUNE/5A
By Heather Togo Staff Writer
You could say Bulverde resident Jerry Biesenbach is a hands-on guy.
As owner and operator of C.B. Paving, Biesenbach works with road construction equipment every day, while spending his off days hunting, fishing and snow skiing.
As a family man who enjoys the outdoors, he doesn’t look much different than any other Comal County resident, except he has prosthetics on the ends of his arms.
Biesenbach lost both of his hands in a dynamite explosion when he was an 18-year old student at Smithson Valley High School.
Despite his traumatic accident, or
maybe in spite of it, Biesenbach, 36, has made his life a success story.
“There really isn’t anything I can’t do,” he said. “I can do anything I could do before. The time frame might be different, but there isn’t much I can’t accomplish.” Biesenbach said the biggest chal-See SUCCESS/5A
Jerry Biesenbach has prosthetics on the ends of both arms, but that hasnt prevented the 36-year-old Bulverde resident from living a normal life or owning and operating a successful business.
Roam CORNETT/ Haratt-ZaMung
Bulverde man lives, works with prosthetic handsConstable won’t face charge
Grand jury declines indictment on Mullins
By Chrs Crews Staff Writer
A Comal County grand jury declined to indict Precinct 4 Constable Ed Mullins Wednesday on an assault charge stemming from a January incident near Canyon Lake.
In its report to the 22nd District Judge Charles Ramsay, the grand jury said, “The grand jury did not wish the state to pursue criminal charges; however, Mullins* conduct was deemed highly unprofessional and inappropriate.”
Criminal District Attorney Dib Waldrip said the grand jury reviewed results of an investigation by Texas Ranger Tony Leal and heard testimony from Mullins.
Waldrip said the grand jury typically heard only from prosecuting officers, but in this case grand jurors
UC specifically asked for
MULLINS Mullins’ testimony.
Mullins said the grand jury’s decision brought a sense of both relief and concern.
“I’m really happy it’s over with,” he said Thursday evening. “I was really surprised that the grand jury made that statement.”
Waldrip said members of the grand jury told him they believed it was not worth the effort to pursue the case.
“The grand jury members expressed that it would be a long run for a short slide,” Waldrip said.
Waldrip, citing the possible impropriety of one elected official questioning another in a formal legal proceeding, said he excused himself from the proceedings and did not hear Mullins’ testimony.
Sheriff’s office dispatch records indicated a call came in at 9:10 p.m. on Jan. 8 from a woman claiming someone had assaulted her daughter. Two deputies arrived at a residence in the I IOO block of Eastview Drive within IO minutes.
The 38-year-old Canyon Lake woman who called said Mullins assaulted her 12-year-old daughter. She said her daughter was not injuredSee CHARGEJ5A
Grand jury indicts man responsible for grass fires
From STAPF REPORTS
A Comal County grand jury indicted a 35-year-old New Braunfels man Thursday in connection with a series of grass fires set along Interstate 35 in on Jan. 18.
On Monday, medical authorities had Carlos Munoz committed to the San Antonio State Hospital.
Munoz had been confined in the Comal County Jail in lieu of a $10,000 bond.
New Braunfels arson investigator Darren Brinkoetter said a cigarette lighter was used to set seven fires along the access road and private property along 1-35, just south of Midtex Oil. Munoz was arrested at the scene after being identified by a construction worker.
Firefighters battled the fires for more than three hours. There were no injuries and damage was limited to a few acres of grass.
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Key Cods TS
Comal River ready for recreation
From etape reports
Tubers looking to float the Comal River need not wait any longer.
Damage caused by the October 1998 flood was repaired and debris removed with help from the Natural Resources Conservation Commission.
New Braunfels city officials reported Thursday the tubing stretch of the Comal from Hillman Island to the tuber exit on Union Street would be open for
recreation this weekend.
“The tube chute has been cleared since last weekend,” city parks and recreation director Iris Neffendorf said. “The actual chute operations normally aren’t open until May I, but people should be able to get in at H Inman Island and get out at the last public tuber exit on Union Street.”
TCB Construction of Poplarville, Miss., has worked since March 16 to clean up debris
and remove sediment. The $212,500 project was funded with $159,375 from NRCS and $53,125 from the city.
City engineer CA. Bolner said Thursday contractors might be called to take care of a few items.
The city also plans to make new sidewalks and repair construction damage near the dam at the tube chute.
“But it won’t interfere with use of the river,” he said. “The tubers can still use the tube chute.”