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AP Top U.S. News At 5 p.m. EDT

Mom pleads for release of captive US journalist
MIAMI (AP) -- The mother of an American freelance journalist held hostage and threatened with death by Islamic militants pleaded for his release Wednesday in a video message aimed directly at his captors....

Q-and-A on Westerners who join the fight in Syria
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Douglas McAuthur McCain, an American killed in Syria while fighting alongside the Islamic State, was part of a growing number of foreign fighters recruited to fight alongside terror groups....

'Cops' crew member killed in Omaha police shooting
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Police officers who opened fire while disrupting a robbery at a fast-food restaurant in Omaha killed a crew member with the TV show "Cops" as well as the suspect, who was armed with a pellet gun that they thought was a real handgun, authorities said Wednesday....

Pilot's fate unknown in fighter jet crash
DEERFIELD, Va. (AP) -- An experienced pilot on a standard maintenance mission was missing Wednesday after the flier's fighter jet crashed in the mountains of western Virginia, shaking residents but causing no injuries on the ground, military and law enforcement officials said....

Shooting by 9-year-old girl stirs debate over guns
PHOENIX (AP) -- The accidental shooting death of a firing-range instructor by a 9-year-old girl with an Uzi has set off a powerful debate over youngsters and guns, with many people wondering what sort of parents would let a child handle a submachine gun....

Q&A: Few laws govern children at shooting range
A 39-year-old firing-range instructor was killed Monday while showing a 9-year-old girl how to use an Uzi submachine gun. Charles Vacca's death at the Last Stop outdoor shooting range in White Hills, Arizona, has raised questions about allowing young children access to such weapons at firing ranges....

Police: Man kills wife at hospital; 2nd body found
STRATFORD, N.J. (AP) -- A New Jersey man shot and killed his hospitalized wife, then tried to kill himself Wednesday, prompting investigators to search the couple's home where they found another person mortally wounded, authorities said....

Dad acquitted in slaying of driver who killed sons
ANGLETON, Texas (AP) -- A jury on Wednesday acquitted a southeast Texas man of murder in the fatal shooting of a drunken driver who had just caused an accident that killed the man's two sons....

Police: Deaths of 2 dumped in river drug-related
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Two men were found dead in a river Wednesday, bound and weighted down with makeshift anchors and their throats slit, in drug-related abductions and killings that authorities said may have also been gang-related. A third victim who was badly wounded also was tossed in the river but managed to swim ashore, police said....

Missouri governor names new public safety director
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday appointed a new state public safety director, giving his administration its only black Cabinet member nearly three weeks after the shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer led to violent protests in a St. Louis suburb....

US Video
Interactives
A year after the Gulf oil spill, problems remain
Local governments spent BP money with abandon
Civil War celebrations stir controversy
States' attempts to resist health care reform
A look at extremist attacks on the U.S. government
Gun law changes across the U.S.
A look inside the Statue of Liberty
A look around the Statue of Liberty
A look at Guantanamo's history
Up to the Minute
Police: Man kills wife at hospital; 2nd body found

Police: Deaths of 2 dumped in river drug-related

Boston Marathon bombing victim marries his nurse

Baltimore's 1st casino highlights national trend

Shooting by 9-year-old girl stirs debate over guns

Court overturns convictions in Amish hair attacks

Girl abducted from school testifies about ordeal

Donors give nearly $700K after police shooting

Pilot's fate unknown in fighter jet crash

Dad acquitted in slaying of driver who killed sons