Regional News: Dog Attack; Ala Weather Deaths, Hero; Jail Explosion; Police Dog Killed; Waffle House Pitchfork Robbery; Samurai Deaths

A pitchfork, similar to the one pictured here, was used in a Georgia Waffle House robbery.
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PHENIX CITY, Ala. (AP) -- Authorities say a woman attacked by dogs in the eastern Alabama community of Phenix City remained in critical condition at the start of the weekend at an Atlanta-area hospital.
Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said the woman, whose name wasn't released, lost a large amount of blood.
Jones said the woman was playing with four dogs and their owner in the home's backyard Monday afternoon in the Heather Brooke neighborhood of Phenix City. The sheriff said that when the woman knelt down to pick up an object, one of the dogs attacked her and two other dogs then joined in.
The Opelika-Auburn News reports that the three dogs that attacked the victim are pit bulls.
No charges were immediately filed.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- A network of community safe rooms and shelters built across Alabama has passed its biggest test yet since the tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011.
Hundreds of people filled the shelters Monday and Tuesday as forecasters issued one tornado warning after another during waves of severe storms.
In Tuscaloosa, Risha Prewitt and her family were the first people to show up at a reinforced concrete shelter. Prewitt says they didn't want to relive the terror of three years ago.
In Haleyville, Mayor Ken Sunseri says five shelters housed about 15 percent of the town's population during the worst of the weather.
The federal government set aside more than $65 million for construction of large community safe rooms in Alabama after 2011.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The federal government has approved aid for four Alabama counties hit by severe weather.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says individuals in Baldwin, Jefferson, Lee and Limestone counties can get grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other aid to help with the recovery.
Federal funding is also available to the state and eligible local government for debris removal and other emergency work.
The federal coordinating officer for Alabama, Albert Lewis, says damage surveys are continuing and more counties may be designated for assistance.
The severe weather claimed five lives. Two people died in Limestone County and one in Tuscaloosa County when tornadoes hit Monday. Two motorists died due to flooding problems in Baldwin County on Thursday and Friday.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- The girlfriend of a student killed by a tornado in Tuscaloosa said her boyfriend died while saving her life.
University of Alabama swimmer John Servati took shelter with his girlfriend in the basement of a Tuscaloosa home during an outbreak of severe weather on Monday. A retaining wall collapsed on them.
WBRC-TV reports that Servati held up the wall long enough for his girlfriend to escape. He was crushed under it.
His girlfriend, Lauren Swann, said that Servati saved her life. The couple had been dating for about two months.

FOLEY, Ala. (AP) -- Authorities say a motorist is dead after a car plunged into a flooded-out section of road in Baldwin County.
Officials say a driver was killed Friday after a vehicle fell into a hole created when floodwaters washed out part of Baldwin County 91 near the coast in Lillian.
The victim's name hasn't been released.
One other death is being linked to the flooding this week in the county.
Authorities say 67-year-old Sawyer Avery was found dead inside a car that been submerged in Baldwin County. The automobile was spotted near the Magnolia River, which flooded badly after more than 20 inches of rain fell in the area this week.
Officers had been looking for the man since a friend reported him missing Thursday morning.

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida jail crippled in an apparent gas explosion had a history of problems that prompted a five-year federal investigation.
Among them were so few guards that posts went unmanned. There was also troubling violence and a decades-long practice of segregating inmates by race.
The conditions at the Escambia County Jail were outlined in a Justice Department report last year and led to the facility being treated like a hot potato among local officials.
In the midst of turmoil and a rainstorm that flooded the basement, the jail was rocked by an explosion Wednesday. Two inmates died and nearly 200 inmates and prison guards were injured.
Investigators are now trying to figure out whether the blast was an accident or something that could have been prevented.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- A South Florida teen has been convicted of fatally shooting a police dog during a burglary.
A Palm Beach County jury found 17-year-old Ivins Rosier, who was tried as an adult, guilty Thursday of animal cruelty, armed burglary and shooting into an occupied building. He previously declined a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for 20 years.
Authorities say Rosier was one of three teens who broke into the home of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Robert Boody in November 2012. During the break-in, a 5-year-old German Shepherd who lived at the home was shot several times. The retired K-9 had to be euthanized five days later.
One of Rosier's co-defendants is still awaiting trial.

NORCROSS, Ga. (AP) -- Police are searching for a man who used a pitchfork to rob a Waffle House restaurant northeast of Atlanta.
Norcross police said 50-year-old Jeffery Wooten entered the diner in Norcross, Georgia, and forced people toward a backroom. He then grabbed the cash register.
WSB-TV reports that the suspect dropped the pitchfork while carrying that cash register back to his truck.
Two restaurant workers followed the robber outside, grabbed the abandoned pitchfork and used it to smash a window on the robber's truck as he escaped, possibly injuring the suspect.
Norcross Police Chief Warren Summers said investigators have secured a warrant charging Wooten with armed robbery. He has not yet been caught.

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) -- A 39-year-old man whose parents were found stabbed to death has been charged with two counts of murder.
Calvin Ray Jr. waived an initial court appearance set for Friday.
He's accused of killing his parents with samurai swords in their metro Atlanta home. The bodies were found Thursday by a relative who visited the house. DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander described it as a "horrific scene."
DeKalb County police spokesman Mekka Parish said detectives believe the victims and their son may have quarreled over money. The case remains under investigation.