Nation roundup for February 12


3 gunned down in Delaware court

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Motivated by a yearslong custody dispute, a gunman opened fire Monday morning in a Delaware courthouse lobby just as the building was opening to the public for the day, exchanging shots with police and leaving three people — including the shooter — dead, authorities said.

“It happened so fast,” said Jose Beltran, 53, an employee at the New Castle County Courthouse who was entering the lobby when he heard two shots. He said he turned around and heard three or more shots as he ran.

Delaware State Police Sgt. Paul Shavack said the suspected gunman and two women are dead. Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams said in a phone interview that one of the women killed was the shooter’s estranged wife, but Shavack said police had not confirmed that was the case and cautioned against information from other sources.

Shavack did not say how the gunman died. He said two police officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said at an afternoon news conference that the shooting was not a random act of violence but the result of a custody dispute.

“It’s developed out of a long, over the course of many years, custody dispute in the courts of this state,” he said.

Northeast drivers slipping, sliding

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The workweek opened with a white-knuckle ride Monday in the snow-clobbered Northeast as drivers encountered unplowed streets, two-lane roads reduced to a single channel and snowbanks so high it was impossible see around corners.

Schools remained closed across much of New England and New York, and more than 130,000 homes and businesses were still waiting for the electricity to come back on after the epic storm swept through on Friday and Saturday with 1 to 3 feet of snow that entombed cars and sealed up driveways. The storm was blamed for at least 15 deaths in the U.S. and Canada, and officials warned of a new danger as rain and higher temperatures set in: roof collapses.

In hard-hit Connecticut, where some places were buried in more than 3 feet of snow, the National Guard used heavy equipment to clear roads in the state’s three biggest cities.

1 in 4 had error in credit report

WASHINGTON (AP) — One in four consumers found an error in a credit report issued by a major agency, according to a government study released Monday.

The Federal Trade Commission study also said that 5 percent of the consumers identified errors in their reports that could lead to them paying more for mortgages, auto loans or other financial products.

The study looked at reports for 1,001 consumers issued by the three major agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The FTC hired researchers to help consumers identify potential errors.

The study closely matches the results of a yearlong investigation by The Columbus Dispatch. The Ohio newspaper’s report last year said that thousands of consumers were denied loans because of errors on their credit reports.

The FTC says the findings underline the importance of consumers checking their credit reports.

Consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report each year from each of the three reporting agencies.

The FTC study also found that 20 percent of consumers had an error that was corrected by a reporting agency after the consumer disputed it. About 10 percent of consumers had their credit score changed after a reporting agency corrected errors in their reports.

The Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents the credit reporting agencies and other data companies, said the FTC study showed that the proportion of credit reports with errors that could increase the rates consumers would pay was small.

The study confirmed “that credit reports are highly accurate, and play a critical role in facilitating access to fair and affordable consumer credit,” the association said in a statement.

The new U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has the authority to write and enforce rules for the credit reporting industry. In September the agency began ongoing monitoring of the credit agencies’ compliance. It’s the first time they have faced such close federal oversight.

The CFPB hasn’t yet taken any public action against the agencies. However, it is accepting complaints from consumers who discover incorrect information on their reports or have trouble getting mistakes corrected. The agencies have 15 days to respond to the complaints with a plan for fixing the problem; consumers can dispute that response.

By contrast, the FTC can only take action if there is an earlier indication of wrongdoing. It cannot demand information from or investigate companies that appear to be following the law.

 

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