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The State

December 30, 1985

What officials thought was a sniper firing up to 75 shots in a dense fog near Santa Clara may have been only a popping Pacific Gas & Electric Co. transformer. Pole-mounted capacitors, used to store electricity, sometimes crackle and spark from static electricity in fog or rain, PG&E spokesman Bill Leonard said. San Jose police said noises which could be mistaken for gunfire might have come from a transformer. Police closed part of California 237 near Alviso and about 60 officers, aided by dogs and a helicopter, searched the area but failed to turn up a single bullet or spent cartridge case.

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