Denis Jr. Tangney/iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- The fate of the Confederate flag on the South Carolina state capitol grounds is up for debate on Monday as lawmakers launch into the controversial topic.
The state's general assembly is returning to Columbia to debate the use of the flag as well as finalize budget issues.
No decision is expected to be finalized on Monday, but the topic is going to be raised in both the state Senate and the state House of Representatives.
Making any changes regarding the flag requires a two-thirds super-majority in both chambers under the terms of the 2000 deal that moved a square version of the flag from the top of the Statehouse dome to an area on the grounds that has a monument to Confederate soldiers, according to the Associated Press.
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 famed 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. The woman, Bree Newsome, faces a $5,000 fine and up to three years in prison if convicted of defacing a monument but social media supporters have already raised more than $125,000 for her.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blosom was posthumously declared the tallest cow ever by Guinness World Records. Blosom stood 6' 4". She died in May on her owner's farm in Illinois. (Guinness World Records)(ORANGEVLLE, Ill.) -- It’s official. At 6-foot-4, Blosom is the world’s tallest cow ever.
That’s the determination made by Guinness World Records, which had previously named the female Holstein the world’s tallest living cow.
The new record was announced on June 25.
Blosom lived on a farm in Orangeville, Illinois. Her owner, Patty Meads-Hanson, got Blosom when the cow was just eight weeks old.
Blosom was 13 years old when she died on May 26. During her life, she was the official "greeter" for Memory Lane Crafting Retreat, a retreat situated on the farm.
ABC News couldn’t reach Meads-Hanson for comment, but a post on Blosom’s Facebook page said the cow “was called to graze in a more glorious pasture.”
Blosom died after suffering a leg injury.
Meads-Hanson found the cow down in a pasture, her left leg in “a position that wasn’t normal,” according to a post on the Facebook page. Two veterinarians worked in the pouring rain to try to lift the cow but they were ultimately unsuccessful.
“Her injury appeared to happen when she laid down, slipping in the mud, and damaging a ligament in her hip, and would never be able to stand. I had to make that hard decision - I wouldn't let her suffer. It's the last act of kindness you can do for an animal you love, but it sure is hard,” Meads-Hanson wrote on Facebook.
Antonprado/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's a Super Bowl test for America's national security.
Celebrations marking the nation's 239th birthday are facing what some call the most serious threats since 2001.
“The threat stream is very high,” Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Michael Downing said Friday. “In fact, we don't think it's been this high since 9/11.”
From Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., Chicago and Boston Saturday morning, law enforcement is fully deployed.
Authorities have cited no specific plot or threat but are concerned about ISIS and supporters possibly lurking inside the United States.
“Obviously, a lone wolf is our worst nightmare,” Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said Friday, “but there's nothing to indicate we have any of that going on.”
It was in Boston where the marathon bombers originally planned to target Independence Day. They struck early, authorities say, because the bombs were ready sooner.
That attack -- and others in Tunisia and France recently -- were on the minds of tourists hitting the National Mall in Washington, as they navigate a security maze.
“You just pray that it doesn't happen,” Dan Hagan of Columbia, South Carolina, said.
Added Shola Sutton of Houston: “I've seen police all over the place.”
In Chicago, police are working 12-hour shifts.
Elsewhere, an extra 7,000 officers were deployed this weekend in New York City: on the ground, in the air, and on the water around Ground Zero.
But despite all the security, it's always important to say something if you see something, authorities say, because the best defense is what they call people’s "sixth sense."
"If you believe something is wrong,” U.S. Park Police Chief Robert MacLean said Friday, “or that the hair stands up on the back of your neck, don't feel ashamed or embarrassed to reach out to a member of law enforcement that is in the area to let them know, ‘Hey, please check this.’”
That's what a 911 caller did earlier this week at the Washington Navy Yard when she thought she heard gunfire. It turned out to be a false alarm but, police say, that's exactly what they want people to do.