3 dead in S.C. shootings

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Three people were killed and two were injured in multiple shootings in Myrtle Beach late Saturday.

The first shooting occurred at a city intersection about 9:30 p.m., Myrtle Beach Police spokesman Capt. David Knipes said. One man was shot and taken to a hospital.

Officers still were investigating the first shooting about 11 p.m. when another shooting occurred about seven blocks away, at the Bermuda Sands Resort.

About 20 people could be seen in the outdoor hallways of the upper floors of Bermuda Sands looking down on the second floor, where two of the people were shot and killed.

There were two homicides in Myrtle Beach in all of 2013, and Capt. Knipes said having three in one night was concerning.

Police could not say if the shootings were related.

Pfizer to shelve deal

NEW YORK -- Pfizer Inc. is on the verge of abandoning, for now, its effort to buy AstraZeneca Plc for 69.4 billion pounds ($117 billion) in what would have been the biggest deal ever in the drug industry.

The deadline for Pfizer to make a firm offer arrives today, and the New York-based drugmaker almost certainly will announce that it won't do so, said a person familiar with the plan who asked not to be identified because the process is confidential.

Under U.K. government rules, the two drugmakers face an at least three-month cooling off period before talks can restart, giving both time to figure out their next move. Pfizer is hoping that AstraZeneca investors will use that time to put pressure on the company's board to come back to the table, the person said, while AstraZeneca may seek a revenue-generating acquisition of its own to help it fend off the larger company.

IRS blocks employer credits

WASHINGTON -- Many employers had thought they could shift health costs to the government by sending their employees to a health insurance exchange with a tax-free contribution of cash to help pay premiums, but the Obama administration has squelched the idea in a new ruling. Such arrangements do not satisfy the health care law, the administration said, and employers may be subject to a tax penalty of $100 a day -- or $36,500 a year -- for each employee who goes into the individual marketplace.

The ruling this month, by the Internal Revenue Service, blocks any wholesale move by employers to dump employees into the exchanges.

Under a central provision of the health care law, larger employers are required to offer health coverage to full-time workers, or else the employers may be subject to penalties.

Calls for Justice to probe VA

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department should enter the investigation of whether Veterans Affairs employees have falsified records to cover up long waits at VA medical facilities, Democratic and Republican lawmakers said Sunday.

"Only the Department of Justice and the FBI have the resources, the expertise and the authority to do a prompt and effective criminal investigation of the secret waiting lists, potential destruction of documents, falsification of records, in effect, the cooking of books and covering up that may have occurred," Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, agreed. "Department of Justice needs to get involved," he said on the same program.

The VA inspector general is investigating 26 sites to determine whether employees covered up long waits for medical appointments.

-- Compiled from news services


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