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RUMORS LINK ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS TO KILLINGS

RUMORS LINK ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS TO KILLINGS

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Police nationwide were alerted last week to rumors that militant animal rights activists might be planning to kill a veterinarian school dean each month for a year, authorities said.

Homicide Detective Lt. Larry Johnson of the Knox County sheriff's office, lead investigator in the Feb. 8 ambush slaying of University of Tennessee veterinary school dean Hyram Kitchen, said the information was released as a precaution, however.Kitchen, 57, was gunned down outside his home in north Knox County as he was leaving for a work-related breakfast meeting.

The alert was sent nationwide Wednesday on the National Crime Information Center computer to law enforcement agencies with veterinary schools in their districts, Johnson said.

He described the information as ``gossip that's come back to us.'

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