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Denis Jr. Tangney/iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- A step has been taken toward removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state capitol grounds with the Senate voting in favor of its removal.

The flag isn't coming down quite yet, however, as the bill now has to go to the state's House of Representatives for more debate and approval, before it then is sent back to the Senate.

Many state representatives made their opinions about the flag known, with repeated references to the shooting in a Charleston church that left nine dead, which renewed calls for the flag's removal.

State Sen. Larry Martin said that race relations in South Carolina have improved since he was in fourth grade and schools were integrated.

"[The] flag is part of our history, not our future," he said, noting that it "does not represent all of the people of South Carolina."

Removing the flag would require a two-thirds majority in both chambers under the terms of the 2000 deal that moved a version of the flag from the top of the Statehouse dome to an area on the grounds that has a monument to Confederate soldiers.

The local paper, The Post and Courier, the South Carolina Press Association and the Associated Press surveyed lawmakers and found that the necessary two-thirds needed to vote to remove the flag have spoken out in favor of its removal.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has already publicly stated that she wants the flag removed, and while she has no legislative power to do so, her support for the removal has helped push the issue forward.

Supporters of both sides of the cause have been demonstrating at the capitol in Columbia in recent weeks, ever since the man who allegedly shot and killed nine people in a historic black church in Charleston was found to have pictures of himself with the Confederate flag.

On June 27, one woman took the matter into her own hands and scaled the flag pole and removed the flag, only to be arrested and have the flag put back up.

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zabelin/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A day after a purported high-profile Western member of ISIS posted an ominous message on Twitter saying this Fourth of July would be a “day to remember,” U.S.-led coalition missiles may have kept the promise for him – just probably not the way he meant.

On Monday, other Twitter accounts associated with suspected ISIS members mourned the death of Abu Rahin Aziz, also known as Abu Abduallah Britani, who the other accounts said was killed in an American drone strike on the fourth – the same day the U.S. military announced more than a dozen airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria.

U.S. officials declined to confirm or deny Aziz’s death, and extremists have faked death online before. A representative for the British Home Office said that in general, the office does not comment on individual cases.

Anjem Choudary, a controversial London-based Islamic figure and former associate of Aziz, told ABC News he understood Aziz’s death to be confirmed and asked that “Allah accept him in paradise.”

Aziz was prolific in ISIS’s social media outreach, allegedly luring recruits and inspiring attacks on the West online from a number of Twitter accounts.

“America likes hitting people,” said a Twitter account attributed to Aziz recently, “but doesn’t like getting hit back… Oh well, every action has a reaction.”

Lorenzo Vidino, Director of the Program on Extremism at the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, said that if Aziz’s death is confirmed, it would be a “victory” for the anti-ISIS coalition.

“Obviously he is a person, definitely of interest to authorities because of the influence that he has online and the fact that he has been in contact with people in the West ready to carry out attacks,” Vidino said. “He was one of the key people inciting attacks in the West, calling people in the West through social media to carry out attacks.”

Late Monday, President Obama announced the U.S. is taking off the gloves when it comes to hitting ISIS targets in Syria.

“We’re going after ISIL [ISIS] leadership and infrastructure in Syria, the heart of [ISIS] that pumps funds and propaganda to people around the world,” he said.

The President cited the attack on a Mohammed cartoon contest in Texas in May as the sort of threat the U.S. now faces. The men behind that attack were inspired by Aziz, among others.

The Telegraph
reported Aziz traveled to Syria after he was convicted of stabbing a soccer fan in the eye in London. Vidino said that before he left, Aziz was a known member of the “radical scene” in the U.K.

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Sandra McClary is seen in this undated mugshot posted to Facebook by Anne Arundel County Police Department. (Anne Arundel County Police Department/Facebook)(PASADENA, Md.) -- The Maryland mother charged with abandoning her infant on the side of a road Sunday morning is being held on $500,000 bail and faces a separate indictment for armed robbery, court records indicate.

Sandra Clara McClary was charged on Sunday with child neglect and reckless endangerment after allegedly taking her infant daughter out of her car and leaving her on the side of the road, Anne Arundel County police said.

The child neglect case is not her first brush with the law.

The 26-year-old faces a 26-count indictment for two connected robberies allegedly committed in the summer of 2014, including two counts of armed robbery, two counts of first degree assault, two counts of second degree assault and two counts of use of a firearm to commit a felony or violent crime.

The details of those cases were not immediately available.

The trial has been postponed at least three times and now is scheduled for Sept. 29, records show. She has changed lawyers repeatedly in the case and it is not clear if she has entered a plea.

The most recent lawyer listed for this case, Kelly Poma, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Charges in three other cases, including an assault in 2010 and an order of protection charge in 2007 have been dropped..

Anne Arundel County Police reported that McClary called their office at around 10 a.m. on Sunday, identifying herself as the mother of the abandoned child. She initially said that the child's father was supposed to have the child but police later say they found that her vehicle was used to drop the baby off.

Social services is now looking after the infant.

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FBI(BOSTON) -- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has taken the first step in what could be a lengthy appeals process.

On Monday, the legal team representing Tsarnaev filed a preliminary motion for a new trial after the 21-year-old was convicted on multiple charges and sentenced last month to death on six of them. 

The basis of the request was not immediately clear. 

Defense attorneys called the filing a “placeholder” until post-trial motions are decided but it does mark the start of appeals that could significantly delay capital punishment. 

Tsarnaev is currently at a high-security prison in Colorado awaiting eventual transfer to federal death row in Terre Haute, Indiana.

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ABC News(BETHESDA, Md.) — No injuries were reported at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center campus near Bethesda, Maryland, following a report of a suspected active shooter.

Someone made a phone call Monday morning reporting noises that could have been shots, the Montgomery County Police said.

The center announced a shelter in place order soon after the call was made. However, officers responded and found no confirmed shots and no reported injuries, police said.

Officers were still working to clear each floor and room as of this afternoon, police said.

Patient care at the facility is suspended for the rest of the day, the Montgomery County Police tweeted.

The Navy originally confirmed the lockdown in a statement, saying: "All base personnel are sheltering in place as a result of unconfirmed reports of an active shooter."

The Navy's statement added: "DOD Security Force, NIH Police Force and County EMS and Medics have responded and searching the area."

The National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center joined in 2011, forming the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, one of the largest military medical centers in the U.S.

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Courtesy of Steinle family(SAN FRANCISCO) — An undocumented immigrant suspected of killing a woman at a San Francisco pier said he chose the city for its sanctuary policies — that is, he knew San Francisco was a good place to avoid deportation, he told ABC station KGO-TV.

In an exclusive jailhouse interview, a KGO-TV reporter asked Francisco Sanchez, the alleged gunman, "Did you keep coming back to San Francisco because you knew that they wouldn't actively look for you to deport you?" and Sanchez responded, "Yes."

Sanchez, who has been deported five times, told KGO-TV he started wandering on Pier 14 on Wednesday after taking sleeping pills he found in a dumpster. He said he then picked up a gun that he found and it went off.

Kate Steinle, 32, who was walking the pier with her father, was shot dead, authorities said, noting that Sanchez, 45, was arrested an hour later.

Sanchez, who was on probation in Texas at the time of the shooting, served time in federal prison for repeatedly sneaking back into the country, authorities said.

Sanchez told KGO-TV that he kept coming back to the country because he was "looking for jobs in the restaurant or roofing, landscaping, or construction." He said he knew San Francisco was a sanctuary city where he would not be pursued by immigration officials.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had said in a statement that Sanchez was turned over to the San Francisco Police Department this past March on an outstanding drug warrant, and that the department requested that police notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement prior to his release so ICE officers could make arrangements to take custody.

On Sunday, Steinle's brother told ABC News he will miss his sister's smile, kindness and warmth, and that he is heartbroken his sister won't get to meet his daughter, who is due in a few months.

Steinle's father and brother declined to comment to ABC News on Sunday regarding the suspect.

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Anyone with information about this baby found abandoned in Maryland is asked to call the Anne Arundel County Police Department. (Anne Arundel County Police Department)(ANNE ARUNDEL, Md.) --  The mother of a baby girl found apparently abandoned on the side of a Maryland road was arrested Sunday evening, accused of taking the infant out of her car and leaving her there.

Sandra Clara McClary was charged with child neglect and reckless endangerment, Anne Arundel County police said in a statement.

The woman had called police after they had posted the baby's photo on social media, Lt. T.J. Smith of the Anne Arundel County Police said at a news conference earlier Sunday.

The woman, who was verified as the baby's mother, initially told investigators the little girl's father was was supposed to have her, but neither of them knew where the child was, police said.

Investigators later determined that the mother had allegedly had the girl with her in a vehicle in Pasadena, but removed the child from the vehicle and left her on the side of the road, police said.

The incident began just before midnight Saturday, when officers responded to a report of an abandoned child on the side of a road, the police department said on its Facebook page.

Officers found a baby girl in a car seat carrier. Police said the baby was 2 or 3 months old.

"Scuff marks on the carrier and other debris indicate that the carrier may have fell off of a moving vehicle," the police wrote in the post.

The child was taken to a hospital to be treated for dehydration, police said.

The baby was in good condition Sunday, Smith said at the news conference, adding that the baby was in the custody of the Department of Social Services.

The investigation is ongoing, police said Sunday afternoon. The police department is working with the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office.

Anyone with information can contact the Anne Arundel County Police Department at 410-222-6145.


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A California woman was shot and killed in an apparent random act of violence. (Courtesy of Steinle family)(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The man suspected of killing a woman at a popular San Francisco pier said the shooting was an accident, claiming he found a gun wrapped in a T-shirt and it went off when he picked it up.

Francisco Sanchez said in a exclusive jailhouse interview with ABC station KGO-TV in San Francisco that he was wandering on Pier 14 after taking sleeping pills he found in a dumpster.

He told KGO-TV that he saw a T-shirt and when he picked it up there was a gun was wrapped in it, and it went off.

"Then suddenly I heard that boom boom, three times," Sanchez said.

He claims he kicked the gun into the San Francisco Bay, lit up a cigarette, and walked off, not knowing he shot someone until he was arrested by police hours later. Sanchez reportedly first told police he was shooting at sea lions.

Kate Steinle, 32, was gunned down Wednesday as she walked with her father in broad daylight along the Embarcadero, the family-friendly tourist spot that was filled with people.

Sanchez told KGO-TV he should be given the most severe punishment possible so that he can tell her parents in court that he no longer wants to live.

Steinle's family was devastated at news of her death.

"I love my sister so much," said Steinle's brother, Brad, "and I'll never get to tell my sister that I love her again."

Witnesses on the packed pier snapped photos of the suspect at the scene, identifying the man for police and leading to the arrest of Sanchez, 45, just an hour later. He was on probation in Texas at the time of the shooting.

The arrest raised questions about why Sanchez -- a convicted felon and undocumented immigrant who had been deported five times, according to U.S. immigration officials -- was on the streets in the first place.

Sanchez told KGO-TV that he kept coming back to the United States because he was "looking for jobs in the restaurant or roofing, landscaping, or construction."

He said he knew San Francisco was a sanctuary city where he would not be pursued by immigration officials.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had said in a statement that Sanchez was turned over to the San Francisco Police Department this past March on an outstanding drug warrant and that the department requested that police notify ICE prior to his release so ICE officers could make arrangements to take custody.

Meantime, Steinle's family told reporters that while it would have been better if Sanchez had been deported, the family is not dwelling on it because it wouldn't bring back Steinle.


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Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- A man and a 14-year-old boy are dead and three people were missing Sunday after a boat capsized on the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky, officials said.

Nine people were on board when the accident occurred Saturday night, Louisville Fire Chief Gregory Frederick said.

Four people were rescused but three people -- two adults and one child -- were still missing, Frederick said. Rescue crews were searching the river for them Sunday, the Coast Guard said.

The group rented a pontoon boat around 8 p.m. Saturday, officials said, and the accident was reported just before 9:30 p.m.

A responding fire boat found the pontoon capsized and pinned underneath a work barge.

"There is a new bridge being constructed near Interstate 65, and at the base of the new bridge tower is a work platform that is like a small barge. Due to the rain, the river is extremely hazardous," Frederick said today.

"The current is very strong, a lot of debris, driftwood," Frederick said.

Four people suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

There was no indication that alcohol or foul play was involved, Frederick said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(EMERALD ISLE, N.C.) -- Police and building inspectors are investigating what may have caused a deck to collapse at an Emerald Isle, North Carolina, beach house, injuring up to 24 people.

Preliminary findings reveal the floor joists and fasteners failed to hold the deck together, Emerald Island Town Manager Frank Rush said Sunday. The fasteners may have deteriorated over time, Rush said.

The house was built in the 1980s, Rush said, adding that if the structure was built today, it would be constructed in a similar manner.

According to Emerald Isle officials, members of a family -- ranging in ages from 5 to 94 -- were on a deck overlooking the ocean preparing to take a family photo shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday when the structure collapsed. Rush said Saturday was to be the last night of the family's trip.

Emerald Isle Fire Chief Bill Walker said the deck itself gave way and collapsed inward, while the pilings holding up the deck remained upright.

The deck was about 14 feet off the ground, officials said Sunday.

First responders from Emerald Isle arrived on scene within minutes and began treating and triaging patients, police said.

Due to the number of casualties involved, neighboring agencies were called in to assist in transporting and dealing with the victims. Indian Beach, Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores and Western Carteret all sent Fire and EMS units to assist, while Broad and Gales Creek Fire Departments were also dispatched to provided assistance. Morehead City EMS provided a mass casualty bus to treat and transport victims.

Officials said up to 24 people were injured, including one child.

Injuries varied from people with several broken bones to those with minor scratches and cuts, according to Walker.

At least five people remained in hospitals Sunday, officials said, including two people in critical condition.

Police have vacated the home, Rush said. No one will occupy the home until the incident is resolved, Rush added.

Woody Warren, an owner/broker from Bluewater Vacation Rentals, the group that rents the house, called it a "horrible accident" in a statement via email to ABC News.

Warren said the company's "thoughts and prayers" are with the family.

"We are asking everyone in this community for their prayers and support," the statement added.


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MattGush/iStock/Thinkstock(PENNSAUKEN, N.J.) -- Good Samaritans helped rescue three people from a car that crashed in New Jersey, reportedly pulling them to safety just before the vehicle caught fire.

A vehicle carrying a 20-year-old man, a 19-year-old woman and an 18-year-old woman was headed south on Route 130 in Pennsauken, New Jersey, early Saturday morning when the driver lost control of the car, ABC News station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia reported.

The vehicle hit a traffic light control box and then crashed into a fence at the Crescent Memorial Cemetery, WPVI-TV reported.

Passing motorists stopped and pulled the injured out of the car just before it burst into flames.

The injured were brought to Cooper University Hospital where one of the women was in critical condition, while the other two were in stable condition.

Police declined to comment to ABC News Sunday about the incident.

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New York State Police(ALBANY, N.Y.) -- After spending one week in the hospital, escaped prisoner and convicted murderer David Sweat was released from the Albany Medical Center Sunday morning and taken to the Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, New York, officials said.

Five Points is a maximum-security facility, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said on Sunday.

Sweat was released from Albany Medical Center at 3:05 a.m., the Department of Corrections said, but the details of his transportation to Five Points were not released because of security reasons.

Sweat will be in the Five Points infirmary during his first 24 hours at the prison, the Department of Corrections said. Sweat will then be housed in a single cell in the Five Points Special Housing Unit. His cell will be in the prison's 23-hour confinement unit, the Department of Corrections said.

Sweat will also be placed on active suicide watch, the Department of Corrections said.

Five Points, which opened in 2000, has 1,294 inmates and has 669 employees, including 511 security staff, the Department of Corrections said. Each cell has a bed, writing platform, toilet, sink and shower.

Romulus, New York, is 200 miles west of the Albany Medical Center and more than 250 miles southwest of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, from which Sweat and fellow convicted murderer Richard Matt escaped June 6.

Sweat had been hospitalized since last Sunday, June 28, after he was shot and wounded by a New York state police sergeant in the area of Constable, New York, about 1.5 miles south of the Canadian border.

New York State Police said Monday the shooting of Sweat by State Police Sgt. Jay Cook was placed under review. Sweat was unarmed but apparently fleeing in violation of Cook's order to stop.

Matt, meanwhile, was shot and killed by authorities two days before Sweat was apprehended.

Matt was serving 25 years to life in prison after he kidnapped and beat a man to death. Sweat was serving a life sentence after he was convicted of killing a sheriff's deputy.

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LukaTDB/iStock/Thinkstock(SABINE PARISH, La.) -- At least six people were injured following a lightning strike in Louisiana’s Sabine Parish, an official said.

The incident occurred after 7 p.m. local time Saturday at Cypress Bend Park on Toledo Bend Lake, Sabine Parish Warden Joe Dewil said. Lightning is believed to have struck a tree.

Six adults who were in the vicinity of an RV camper that sustained damage during the strike suffered non-life-threatening injuries. They were taken to Sabine Medical Center and their injuries range from headaches to chest pain, said Dewil.

Along with the RV, a truck was also damaged.

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Screenshot from a video posted on YouTube on July 3, 2015 capturing the scene in Sacramento, California, after fireworks were thrown in the air and landed on a juniper tree. The tree was engulfed in flames, which later spread to nearby houses. (YouTube/deriantsu)(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- A person throwing fireworks may be to blame for damaging two homes and engulfing a tree in flames in Sacramento, California, according to fire department investigators.

Someone apparently tossed fireworks into the air and it landed onto a dry juniper tree, ABC News affiliate KXTV-TV reported.

The tree caught fire, and the flames later spread to a fence and two nearby homes, Sacramento City Fire Department spokesman Roberto Padilla told KXTV-TV.

Amateur video, which was posted on YouTube on Friday, captured the fast-spreading flames.

No one was injured and the damage to the homes was reported to be minor.

Padilla said that juniper trees are rich in oil and very flammable, particularly in drought conditions.


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Itty Bitty Hope, a miniature horse, lives at Mini Hooves of Love. (Linda Woods)(MELISSA, Texas) -- Even for a miniature horse, Itty Bitty Hope is pretty small.

Her height at birth -- just 14 inches -- was tied with the record of the smallest horse on record, according to her owners.

And while being tiny may not always be seen as a positive, for a horse who will spend her life as a therapy animal, it couldn't be better.

"She'll be able to navigate around hospitals and nursing homes and medical equipment more easily," said her owner Linda Wood, who runs the Mini Hooves of Love Miniature Therapy Horses non-profit with her husband Jim Wood.

"Hope" as they refer to her, will also be great with the many kids she'll be visiting.

The Woods came to be Hope's people parents through and old-fashioned barter. A woman who breeds miniature horses hoped Jim would build her stalls, and offered the Woods their pick of any of the three pregnant mares. They chose Jazz, Hope's mother, because she was the smallest and would have the best chance of having a small baby.

The Woods got into therapy without exactly meaning to. They were showing their miniature horses when a friend who runs a horse therapy farm with large horses asked them to bring some of their minis to an event. Since then, their horses spend their time visiting hospitals, hospice care and the Ronald McDonald House in Dallas. Kids with Down syndrome, autism and other developmental delays come to visit them.

One of their first visits was a hospice care for a baby born with Trisomy 18, a fatal genetic condition. The baby's mom said she just wanted her child to have the chance to touch a horse before she passed.

It's that big kind of comfort that little Hope will bring people in her life.

"If you can imagine a child been doctor of hospital all day, having a bad day, as soon as they see the horse their mood changes, their blood pressure drops. Everything about them changes and they have a big smile on their face," said Jim Wood. "It just makes your day."

Linda Wood added, "Many people who are in nursing homes now are of the age that they had interaction with horses when they were young. One man who had been a farmer had tears in his eyes as he pet one of the horses, he said he hadn't touched a horse in 16 years." In another anecdote, a woman whose nurses said was unable to move reached out and stroked the head of one of the miniature horses while the nurse stood by in shock.

Hope is still with her mom at the breeder and since she is nursing, she can't be away from her mom for more than an hour or so. But there's a hospice call the Woods are thinking of taking her along on coming up, as long as mom can come, too.

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