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Three teenagers charged with shooting one another

MOUNT VISION (AP) -- Three teenagers have been charged with second-degree assault after shooting one another in the leg in what they considered "a test of courage," according to police.

The teens, students at Morris Central School, were arrested Friday, State Police said, after they sought treatment from the school nurse for the wounds on the calf of their legs, which troopers said were inflicted with a .22-caliber rifle Monday.

Kenneth Stabler, 16, of Mount Vision, was shot three times, Christopher Ruke, 16, of Morris, was shot twice, and James Fisher, 17, also of Morris, was shot once, according to police.

"They held the barrel of the rifle at an angle where grazing-type wounds would result," said Capt. Kevin Molinari.

The rifle belongs to the Stabler family, and the shootings occurred at their residence, he said.

Giuliani backs Bloomberg in N.Y. City mayoral race

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani endorsed Republican mayoral hopeful Michael Bloomberg on Saturday.

"I'm very very confident that the city would be in absolutely wonderful hands in the hands of Mike Bloomberg," Giuliani told reporters at City Hall. "Mike is far and away the most qualified candidate for this job."

Bloomberg responded by pledging that, if elected, he would follow in Giuliani's footsteps and build on his accomplishments as mayor.

Joe DePlasco, spokesman for Democratic mayoral candidate Mark Green, said the endorsement was expected: "He is the Republican mayor, and Mr. Bloomberg is the Republican nominee."

Media mogul Bloomberg has spent $41 million of his own money on the campaign so far, spokesman Ed Skyler said, while Green has spent about $9 million, according to the latest campaign finance report.

Former official and others charged with taking bribes

CENTRAL ISLIP (AP) -- The former top deputy to Republican Nassau County Executive Thomas Gulotta and six others have been charged with accepting bribes to persuade the county to switch to a health insurance plan that ended up costing the county millions, according to a federal indictment.

Robert McDonald and five of his co-defendants pleaded not guilty. A seventh defendant was out of town but said he would surrender upon his return. The six men were released on bail ranging from $150,000 to $1 million.

The indictment charges McDonald with conspiring with businessmen to switch Nassau's health insurance plan to a company that deceptively promised to save big sums but ended up costing far more.

Democratic legislators say the scandal cost the county $60 million to $65 million, partly offset by $20 million in restitution.

Gulotta, who hired McDonald, said that if the charges are proved, "I would be deeply disappointed in the betrayal of my trust by former Deputy County Executive Robert McDonald."

Officer on shooting call struck by bullet fragment

NEW YORK (AP) -- A police officer investigating a shooting was hit in the face with a bullet fragment early Saturday, after the alleged gunman shot himself in the head, police said.

The 35-year-old officer, who was not identified, was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition, police said.

Police received a call at 1:30 a.m. that a woman had been shot in an apartment on West 152nd Street. As officers entered the apartment they found a woman with a gunshot wound to her neck. Shortly afterward, a man apparently shot himself in the head, and a fragment from the bullet hit the officer beneath the eye.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene. The woman was taken to Harlem Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition.

Minor quake alarms some, but most keep sleeping

NEW YORK (AP) -- Most people slept through a minor earthquake that rocked New York City and several surrounding communities early Saturday, but others, still nervous after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, flooded the police department with frantic calls.

No injuries or damage were reported. The earthquake measured 2.6 in magnitude and occurred around 1:42 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was located 10 miles east of Newark, N.J.

"That's a small earthquake," said John Ebel, director of the Weston Observatory at Boston College, which monitors seismic activity in the Northeast.

Police did not have an exact number of 911 calls placed about the earthquake, but it was numerous, said Sgt. Brian Burke, a police spokesman. The majority of calls came in from Long Island City, Queens and Manhattan's Upper East Side, he said.

The last significant natural seismic event to strike the city was a magnitude-2.4 earthquake Jan. 17.

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