Hot Links: ASU Downtown, Drag Racing, and Shootings

Phoenix City Council members have approved a $6 million proposal to expand Arizona State University's downtown campus. The city plans to purchase the old Ramada Inn at 401 N. 1st Street with surplus bond money and spend roughly $1.3 million for renovations. The $6 million ASU expansion plan was approved on the heels of a 2 percent tax on food to avoid further layoffs and budget cuts...A helicopter crash in Cave Creek killed three people on Sunday, including a child. The helicopter, a Eurocopter EC135 registered to a local food-service and real estate firm, Services Group of America, burst into flames about 3 p.m.and crashed into a wash between two homes. The accident is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board...

Police say drag racing was to blame in the death of two people Saturday night. One of the victims, a 33-year-old woman, was driving a Nissan Sentra southbound on 43rd Avenue, preparing to turn left on McDowell Road, when a 1990 Honda Civic t-boned her car. The driver of the Honda, 18-year-old Julio Rodriguez, was also killed in the collision. Police are looking for the driver of the car they believe Rodriguez was racing, described as a black car that might have been an Acura...A 15-year-old male was shot by police Friday night near 13th Avenue and Cocopah Street, after allegedly approaching the officers' unmarked van and offering to sell drugs. According to police, the suspect and two other teenagers attempted to sell plain-clothed officers cocaine, and when the cops identified themselves, the 15-year-old suspect pulled a gun. Officers fired their weapons, and the teen is now hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. The other two suspects with the teen fled, but were apprehended after a short manhunt...Mesa resident Tracy Branham is accused of attacking the mother of another student outside the Academy with Community Partners charter school in Mesa. Branham's 16-year-old son was reportedly harassed by three other teens, and she confronted them. The mother of the teens got involved, and Branham reportedly hit the woman. She now faces assault charges...Phoenix police are looking for a suspect they say shot a homeowner outside his house late Sunday. According to reports, a man living near 32nd Avenue and Dunlap was walking to his door when a man on a bicycle approached him. The two got into an argument, and the bicyclist shot the homeowner before fleeing the scene. The homeowner is expected to be okay. Police have not released a description of the suspect.   

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea