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iStock/Thinkstock(STERLING, Va.) -- The unofficial rule of pickup basketball is "no blood, no foul." It says nothing about calling the cops, though.

A basketball game at an LA Fitness in Sterling, Virginia, resulted in just that, as one player called police after a hard foul during the contest, according to a report from the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.

The foul play, classified as an assault in the incident report, happened at 6:42 p.m. on Monday. One player took issue with a foul and went to the front desk in order to call the police, according to the report.

When an officer responded, apparently cooler heads had prevailed, because neither man decided to press charges against the other.

Officer Josiah Kennedy, who was the respondent, said in the report that management at the gym gave the two men "one more chance to keep the game civil" or they'd be tossed out of the LA Fitness for the day.

A person in the gym filmed the incident and posted it on Instagram and Twitter on Tuesday morning.

"This is the hardest foul in America, bro," said the person filming the aftermath of the foul. He asked the other players milling about on the court, "You calling the cops if you get fouled?"

The person filming follows one of the officers out of the gym and asks, "Have you ever been called for a basketball foul before?"

He sighs and responds, "No," and says all he was told was there was a fight.

The Instagram video had over 22,000 views as of early Wednesday morning. A photo tweeted by another player had tens of thousands of likes and retweets.

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WABC(FARMINGVILLE, N.Y.) --  17-year-old high school student died Monday night after suffering an apparent medical emergency during band practice.

She has not yet been identified. Authorities told New York City ABC station WABC the incoming senior was at band practice at Sachem East High School in Farmingville, New York, and later was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital, where she died.

"It is with deep sorrow that the district has learned that an incoming senior at Sachem North High School tragically passed away last night," Superintendent Kenneth Graham said in a statement obtained by WABC. "We are currently not aware of the cause of death."

The death appears noncriminal in nature and a medical examiner will determine the exact cause, officials said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the individual's family and friends during this difficult time," Graham said.

This was the second student to die in less than a year at Sachem East High School. Joshua Mileto, 16, died during a football practice in August 2017 when he was struck in the head by a log players were carrying during a drill, police said.



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ABC News(HONOLULU, Hawaii) -- It was supposed to be a bucket-list moment for Dawn Li, an exciting family outing to see where the river of lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano spills into the ocean.

But in a flash, the pre-dawn boat tour on Monday for Li, her husband, and their two children turned into a horror show when a so-called "lava bomb" erupted, sending rocks raining on the vessel loaded with photo-snapping tourists.

"I had just said, 'This is like a Jurassic experience.' And my husband said, 'Well, this is on your bucket list,'" Dawn Li told ABC News. "So, we were super excited to see it. It was amazing. But the explosion hit and we all sort of turned simultaneously and my husband kind of leaned over me but we could feel the rocks hitting us."

Piercing screams broke out on the packed tour boat. A rock, or lava bomb, the size of a basketball came crashing through the aluminum roof of the Lava Ocean Tours boat aptly dubbed the "Hot Spot."

"It was literally like an explosion. I've never experienced anything like this," said Li's husband, Dr. Kaming Li, a trauma surgeon. "Just lava flying everywhere, and then this huge explosion and this very large rock hit the boat. When it hit the boat, it crashed through the roof and landed on a person and it was still glowing when it was on the ground."

Dawn Li said she was afraid the rock was so hot it was going to burn through the bottom of the boat. She said the captain and a crew member wrapped it up and shoved it overboard.

After Kilauea first erupted in May, the U.S. Coast Guard restricted boats from coming within 984 feet of where the lava flow dumps into the ocean on the northeast side of Hawaii's Big Island. But some experienced boat operators, including Lava Ocean Tours, have been allowed special permits to take tourists as close as 164 feet from the shoreline.

Greg Valentine, a geology professor at the University of Buffalo's College of Arts and Sciences, told ABC News that the term "lava bomb" refers to the bomb-shaped size of particles hurled in the air generally when they explode from the spout of a volcano. Any projectile larger than 6.4 centimeters in diameter meets the definition of a lava bomb, he said.

He said the thing that was unusual about Monday's lava-bomb event was that it was caused by an interaction of molten lava with sea water.

"Sometimes the lava and the water interact in a certain way and creates a very powerful explosion," Valentine said, adding that some projectiles can travel up to three miles and be as large as a couple of meters in diameter.

Dawn Li said that when the explosion occurred panic spread through the tour boat and everyone rushed to the side furthest from the shoreline.

"It's raining lava rock," Dawn Li said of the moment. "It's hot, it's steamy. My fear was that we were going to capsize because everybody ran to the other side of the boat and you could feel the heat and the steam coming up and the sulfuric fumes."

The water around the boat was "very hot," Kaming Li said.

"We think there was probably a lot of lava underneath the ocean at that place," he said.

Dawn Li added: "You could feel it bubbling, the steam coming up."

Passengers were being pummeled by red-hot rocks. Dawn Li showed ABC News one about the size of a golf ball that hit her.

Her husband began treating peoples' injuries, including a woman who was hit by the basketball-size rock that crashed through the boat's roof. Her femur was fractured, officials said.

"I used to be a trauma surgeon at USC," said Kaming Li. "I've seen a lot of things. This was just crazy."

In the chaos, Dawn Li became separated from her teenage children, Christopher and Erica.

"I started game planning in my mind: The life vests. Who can swim? If we go over, how do we keep ourselves from the shore?" she said. "My kids were separated from me, and so I was just like, 'Oh my God, I've got to get to my kids.'"

Erica Li said the experience went from terrific to terrifying in seconds.

"It was really surreal," she said.

Christopher Li said when the explosion occurred he ducked for cover.

"I immediately got on the ground and covered my neck," Christopher said. "I got hit in the arms."

Both of his legs were also scalded by the downpour of sizzling rocks.

"I got third-degree burns, some second-degree," Christopher said. "But I'm glad to be alive."

Officials said 23 people aboard the boat were injured, but none were in life-threatening condition. Four people were hospitalized at Hilo Medical Center.

"I thought for a moment that this was it, this is how it's going to go," Kaming Li said. "It was a terrifying moment."

Still holding the rock that hit her, Dawn Li said that while she usually collects rocks from wherever she and her family travel, this was a souvenir she didn't plan to keep.

"I'm going to leave it back for the Gods of Pele so that we have no more bad juju," she said as she hurled it into the water.

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Harris County Sheriff's Office(HOUSTON) -- A parolee who authorities said cut off his ankle monitor and carried out a series of killings in the Houston area has been arrested and charged with capital murder.

Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, 46, is a suspect in at least three slayings in the past week, with police calling him a "possible serial killer" at a news conference Monday night.

Rodriguez was taken into custody without incident Tuesday morning after leading police on a chase, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said at a news conference Tuesday. A weapon was recovered, Gonzalez said.

When Harris County Sheriff's deputy Jorge Reyes, who helped nab Rodriguez, left home for his shift Monday night, he told his wife, "I'm gonna catch him," Reyes recalled at Tuesday's news conference.

Gonzalez said he's "happy and relieved that this dangerous individual ... is off the streets."

Rodriguez, a high-risk registered sex offender, had been released from prison in September 2017 after serving part of a 20-year sentence for attempted aggravated sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl, according to records with the Texas Department of Corrections.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo on Tuesday said there aren't enough law enforcement officers focusing on holding parolees accountable and he promised to set the standard in Harris County.

"We've got to up our game," Acevedo said. "There's not enough of us dealing with parolees."

Rodriguez may be responsible for at least five attacks in the area, three of which were fatal shootings, police said.

The victims appeared to be randomly chosen, officials said.

The first attack, on July 9, was a home-invasion robbery where the victim survived.

Four days later, Pamela Johnson, 62, was found dead inside her home in northwest Harris County, police said in a news release. Her car, a 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser, was stolen from her home and found abandoned the next day at nearby Willowbrook Mall.

When investigators reviewed surveillance video from the mall, they observed the suspect, later identified as Rodriguez, park the car and leave the scene.

On Saturday, a second killing occurred at a mattress store in Houston, police said.

The third slaying was at another mattress store in the area on Sunday.

On Monday morning, a metro lift operator was robbed and shot but is expected to survive, officials said.

Rodriguez has been charged with two counts of capital murder for Johnson's death and the mattress store attack, officials said Tuesday. A third capital murder charge will likely be filed Wednesday, officials said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BRIDGETON, N.J.) -- A 9-year-old girl died after she was hit by stray gunfire while inside her New Jersey home in the middle of the night, local police said.

The shooter or shooters had fired several shots, hitting four cars in Bridgeton at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Bridgeton Police Department said.

At least one bullet went into 9-year-old Jennifer Trejo's home through a back wall and hit the young girl in her bedroom, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said.

Jennifer's family took her to Inspira Hospital in Bridgeton where she was pronounced dead, police said.

"This is the worst day of my political life -- I've been in office for 8 years," Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly said at a news conference Tuesday. "I'm outraged."

"Citizens of Bridgeton -- come forward," he said. "So that something like this never, never, never happens again."

"There are no words for how our community is feeling right now," Webb-McRae said at the news conference.

"I'm pleading with the community. Somebody knows who was out there last evening shooting at other individuals," she continued. "We need to solve this crime."

“We need the public’s help in general," Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari Sr. said in a statement, "but when an incident such as this happens to such a young and innocent victim, we could really use the assistance in bringing those responsible to justice immediately."

Numerous 9mm shell casings were found in the area, Webb-McRae said, adding that it's not clear if the casings were from one gun or more than one.

Police presence has increased in the area, the department said. Officers canvassed the neighborhood Tuesday morning and interviewed dozens of people, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Bridgeton Police Department at 856-451-0033.

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insert4coins/Instagram(SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J.) -- A British tourist’s beach outing ended on a painfully freakish note after the spike of a wind-blown umbrella impaled her in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, authorities said.

The “force of the wind” pushed the stake through Margaret Reynolds’ right ankle Monday, sending her to the hospital, Seaside Heights Police Department Chief Thomas Boyd told ABC News.

Describing the scene, witness Ricardo Zedeya said a “really strong wind came out of nowhere, a couple of umbrellas were flying by, and one went by really quick. Right after that, I heard a woman screaming, ‘My leg.’”

“It looked like five inches came out the other side of her leg,” he said, adding the spike appeared to be about 2 inches wide.

Reynolds, 67, remained calm throughout the entire ordeal, with friends holding her hands and making calls, Zedeya said.

Firefighters needed a bolt cutter to remove the spike and put her in an ambulance, Seaside Heights Police Det. Steve Korman said.

She is "doing well" after surgery at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, authorities said.

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WFTV(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- A 21-year-old pregnant woman was killed when she and two children were shot at a Florida intersection, in broad daylight. Police are now pleading with the public to help find the gunman.

The pregnant woman, Imelda Francois, was driving with five others in the car when they came under gunfire just before 3 p.m. Monday in Pine Hills, outside Orlando, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Francois was shot multiple times and died from the injuries, the sheriff's office said.

Two children, 22-month-old Kameren Williams and 13-year-old Dyanna Laurent, were also shot and injured. The sheriff's office said their injuries were not life threatening.

"As a father and as a grandfather, whenever you see incidents like this occur, it’s emotional for the entire community," Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said, reported the Orlando Sentinel.

The three other passengers -- a 21-year-old man, a 15-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy -- were not injured, sheriffs added.

Authorities are looking at a possible motive, including whether the victims were targeted.

The gunman, who fled, was with at least one other man in the car, the sheriff's office said. The car was described by witnesses as a white, older-model Chevrolet Malibu sedan.

La’Shonta Iseley, who lives down the street from where the incident occurred, told the Orlando Sentinel it is a quiet area.

"In two years, I haven’t seen anything like this," she told the newspaper.

Police asked anyone with information to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477). A reward up to $5,000 is available for information leading to an arrest.

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iStock/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- The Somali-American teenage boys who were wrongfully handcuffed and detained by police in Minnesota have spoken out for the first time, with one of them calling himself a victim of discrimination.

“When the cops came they pulled guns to our faces,” Aden Aden said at a news conference Monday. “I felt like I was discriminated [against]. I hope it never happens to anyone again.”

The teens were handcuffed last week after a 911 call to police alleging they possessed weapons, authorities said. No weapons were found on any of the teens and they were later released, with police now looking for the person who made the apparently false 911 call.

Aden was handcuffed along with Abdijabbar Ahmed, Suhaib Ahmed and an unnamed teen ranging in ages from 13 to 16.

Cellphone video from the July 10 incident shows two of the boys handcuffed and sitting on the ground at Minnehaha Regional Park in Minneapolis as bystanders asked police why the teens were being restrained. One boy asked police several times whether he could put his shirt on because he was being bitten by bugs but he was denied.

“The way that our children were dealt with was subhuman,” Aden’s mother, Sirat Guffe, said at the news conference, speaking in Arabic. [Police] treated our children as felons and thugs.”

The officers responded to the 911 call describing “an escalating, dangerous situation and reports of weapons at Minnehaha Regional Park,” according to a statement from Minneapolis Park Police.

The caller reported “four males holding knives and sticks,” and that one suspect had a gun in his backpack. Police were given detailed descriptions of the four suspects that matched the four teens, authorities said.

Minneapolis Park Police acknowledged that when officers saw the boys, one of them did un-holster his firearm and point it in the direction of the four suspects. None of the four boys was injured.

Witness Brianna Lindell, who recorded video of the incident and posted it to Facebook, wrote that before police arrived she saw a young white male harassing the teen boys and hurling racial slurs at them.

Lindell also observed that a girl who was with the white male was on the phone. The teen boys also mentioned the harassment during the news conference.

Park police are still looking for the 911 caller, ABC St. Paul affiliate KSTP-TV reported.

The officers involved in the incident are still on duty while the investigation continues, authorities said.

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@YosemiteNPS/Twitter(MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif.) -- Firefighters are struggling to contain a deadly wildfire that more than doubled in size on Monday, charring nearly 9,300 acres of land near Yosemite National Park in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The so-called Ferguson Fire, burning in Mariposa County about 70 miles northwest of Fresno, increased to 9,266 acres by Monday evening, up from about 4,000 acres on the previous day, fire officials said.

The fire, which ignited Friday, was only about 2 percent contained by Monday at 7 p.m. local time as crews grappled with the area’s steep mountain terrain and extreme temperatures that made it difficult to slow the fire’s spread.

“Due to continued hot and dry conditions over the next five days we urge you to be vigilant with your safety,” Cal Fire said in a statement Monday. “With decreased visibility due to the smoke please stay cautious and be aware while driving in and around the fire area.”

At least 1,486 fire personnel were deployed in an effort to stop the flames from reaching more than 100 homes and other structures that are threatened, fire officials said.

Braden Varney, a bulldozer operator with Cal Fire’s Madera-Mariposa-Merced Uni, died while battling the fire on Saturday when his bulldozer reportedly rolled over. Crews retrieved his body on Monday as intense flames had hampered workers from getting to the scene earlier.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Ferguson Fire is one of at least 34 large wildfires burning across the American West, where temperatures have reached triple digits in some areas this week.

Nearby Yosemite National Park, a go-to tourist destination for camping and hiking, remains open to visitors, but officials said poor air conditions could force visitors to limit strenuous outdoor activities.

“Visibility and air quality in Yosemite continue to be affected by smoke from the #FergusonFire,” park officials said in a tweet late Monday. “Smoke may be heavy at times; be prepared to limit any strenuous outdoor activity during the periods of high concentration.”

State Route 140, a key route into the park, was partially shut down over weekend, forcing motorist to find alternate ways inside.

Several nearby areas were placed under mandatory evacuation, including Clearing House, Mariposa Pines, Cedar Lodge/Savage’s Trading Post and Sweetwater Ridge, officials said Monday, adding that other nearby residents should be prepared to evacuate at anytime.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WATERBURY, Conn.) -- In some cases, courage is contagious.

That was the case for Jahana Hayes, a longtime teacher who decided to make her first foray into professional politics.

Hayes told ABC News that the wave of new candidates running for office across the country without formal political experience “gave me the courage to say, ‘You know what, maybe I will say yes this time.’”

Hayes, who gained country-wide attention in 2016 when she was named National Teacher of the Year and awarded the associated crystal apple statuette by then-President Obama, said that the flood of people running for office this year, in spite of a lack of political experience, helped motivate her to run.

She said that she had been approached “by folks in my community” to run for other positions in the past, including state senator and various executive offices in the state. But this time, when Rep. Elizabeth Etsy announced that she wouldn’t be seeking re-election, “it was just different.”

She said she saw so many candidates across the country “bucking the trend that you have to check off all these boxes before you’re even considered to be viable” and it helped give her “the courage for me to stand up this time.”

One of the people who gave her encouragement to throw her hat in the ring was Sen. Chris Murphy, who Hayes called “a tremendous advocate.” Murphy hasn’t issued a formal endorsement in the 5th District’s race – and because of the state’s Democratic Party rules based on delegate counts from the party's nominating convention, Hayes’ opponent Mary Glassman got the party’s endorsement – but his office confirmed to ABC News that he did encourage Hayes to run for Congress.

Hayes and Glassman are running for an open seat, but Glassman has decades of experience in Connecticut politics, having served as a selectman and nominee for the lieutenant governor twice.

“There's an appetite for change,” Hayes said.

Hayes, 45, is one of a growing number of teachers now running for office, including some in states where drops in teacher funding prompted frustrated teachers into political action.

The mom-of-four, who is married to a detective, said that she is “concerned” by the current administration, pointing to the country’s immigration policy (which she said “is really one that tears me apart”), healthcare, and foreign relations as areas of change that have been particularly troubling.

“I think that everything is about timing and I think that I probably would not have seriously considered this four years ago,” she said.

Like so many others who have decided to turn to politics, her personal narrative is a big part of how she feels a connection with voters. Hayes’ campaign website notes that she grew up in a Connecticut housing project, her family struggled with poverty and addiction, and after she got pregnant as a teen, "all hopes for any upward mobility seemed beyond her grasp."

Hayes’ work as a high school social studies teacher first brought her to the White House for the National Teaching Award presentation in 2016, but then brought her across the country. She said she visited 30 different states in the year after the award, as is custom for all recipients, and that helped expose her to the universal problems facing communities across the country.

“The things that I’m struggling with and the things that my students are struggling with and the things that we're struggling with in Waterbury [Connecticut] are not that different from the things that they're struggling with in Wisconsin or California,” she said.

After finishing her year-long stint as a national teachers ambassador of sorts, Hayes returned to her school district, working on teacher recruitment instead of in the classroom, and it’s a position she still holds.

“It’s difficult” working full time and running a campaign, she said, “and I could have probably taken a leave of absence... but the whole point of me doing this is to stress that everyone should get involved” in the political process.

She now has until the state’s Democratic primary is held on Aug. 14 to get enough support to beat out Glassman for a spot in the general election.

“I really have to get out there… to have face-to-face voter contact,” she said.

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ABC News(DETROIT) -- Four Michigan teenagers charged with murder in a highway rock-throwing incident agreed to plea deals on Monday, angering members of the victim’s family who feared the boys might get off easy under the agreement.

The teens, ages 15 to 17, agreed to plead guilty to one count of manslaughter in the October death of Kenneth White, 32, who was ridding in a van on Interstate 75 when a large rock came crashing down from an overpass.

The four teens, along with a fifth suspect, 18-year-old Kyle Anger, were originally charged as adults with second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, six felony counts of malicious destruction of property and two misdemeanor counts of malicious destruction of property. It’s unclear if the manslaughter charge would be filed as adult or juvenile, which would impact the sentencing.

Anger, who allegedly threw the rock that stuck White, did not appear in court on Monday.

The victim’s mother, Theresa Simpson, said she was angry after the court hearing.

"I have a lot of anger towards all of them right now, still. But one day it will, one day I know I will have that resolved,” Simpson told reporters outside the court on Monday. “But right now, it's just, it's real hard for me to let go of those emotions.

She said she wants her son's death to be a reminder for children everywhere to "think before you do something" that could cause harm to someone.

"I mean, no matter what time they get, it's never going to bring back my son, you know,” Simpson said. "I want all kids out there to understand everything has consequences."

The four boys could have faced up to life in prison if convicted of murder, but that charge was dropped, as were the 10 other felony charges.

"I hope they see what they've done," White's aunt, Annette Safran, told reporters on Monday. "I just hope these children learn from this. Something good comes out of this for all children -- not just the five that did it, but for all children. I really do."

Another aunt, Nancy Jobe, had much harsher words for the suspects in the case.

"I don't agree with this. I think it's wrong," Jobe said. "These kids are old enough to know what the hell they did. They will never understand the pain and anguish they've caused."

The four teens are expected to return to court in 30 to 60 days, an attorney said. Anger is scheduled to appear in court next week.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Growing up on a cattle ranch in northern Arizona, Ethan Lane recalls the Mexican gray wolves that would regularly prey on his livestock.

“These wolves are very threatening. The cattle would sense their presence and change their behaviors in response to the pressure,” Lane said, adding that the wolves, listed as an endangered species by federal law, were hard to distinguish from the muscular coyotes that also roamed the area.

Tension over whether the Mexican gray wolf should still be classified as an endangered species is just one example in an ongoing battle between federal and state interests to reform the Endangered Species Act -- the subject of a Senate committee hearing Tuesday.

Conservation groups say that giving states more input means that more species that need protection will not be listed as endangered and would block the ability of advocacy groups to sue to protect species.

Lane now serves as the executive director of the Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Federal Lands, two groups that represent the interests of U.S. cattle and sheep producers.

Lane said that while the Mexican gray wolf is listed as endangered, federal law also establishes the creation of an experimental wolf population that disturbs livestock and threatens ranchers’ livelihoods.

“Under the current Endangered Species Act, the federal government is in the driver’s seat, and their obligation to consult with state and local governments is a tangential one,” he told ABC News.

Meanwhile, wolf advocates are pushing for the release of the wolves into Arizona and New Mexico to limit inbreeding and promote genetic diversity, which they say will aid in the wolves’ recovery.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is set to discuss a draft of a bill released by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., earlier this month. The bill would shift some of the responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act from the Interior Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and give state governments more input in decisions about endangered species and how to restore populations. The bill is supported by the Western Governors Association, which represents the governors of 19 Western states and three U.S. territories.

The same committee, and its counterpart in the House, considered similar proposals to change the Endangered Species Act last year but conservation groups lobbied against, even bringing television personality Jeff Corwin to testify against them in part because of a provision they said would hurt wolf conservation efforts.

In 2015, Mead launched the Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative to “create a mechanism for states and stakeholders to share best practices in species management; promote the role of states in species conservation; and explore options for improving the efficacy of the Endangered Species Act.”

Lane, who said the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has been working with this initiative “since the very first meeting,” said Barrasso’s proposed legislation is “absolutely a step in the right direction.”

“It’s one of our top priorities to modernize the Endangered Species Act,” he said. “But we can’t do it along partisan lines. We have to engage in a bipartisan manner and focus on recovery, which is what this bill is doing.”

Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., the vice chair of the Western Governors Association, told ABC News he’s “appreciative” of Barrasso’s bipartisan efforts to engage with state leaders.

“This discussion draft would allow more flexibility to implement solutions that enhance the role of state governments in recovering species, while also providing a greater voice to those at the local level who are closest to these issues. By allowing states to innovate, we can make meaningful progress to help these threatened and endangered species recovery,” he said in a statement.

Under the current law, scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service evaluate petitions to list species as endangered and write plans on how to recover the population, but the process is underfunded and has a backlog of petitions waiting for a decision.

Barrasso's proposed bill would create a "recovery team" for a listed species including representatives from the Fish and Wildlife Service, state and local wildlife management officials, and scientists. This group would develop a plan to increase the population of the endangered species and make recommendations on whether a species should no longer be listed as endangered.

“We must do more than just keep listed species on life support -- we need to see them recovered. This draft legislation will increase state and local input and improve transparency in the listing process. It will promote the recovery of species and allow local economies to flourish," Barrasso said in a statement.

But Noah Greenwald, endangered species director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the Endangered Species Act was originally put in place because states weren't doing enough to protect species and that under Barrasso's plan the states would essentially be allowed to veto protections for species.

"These bills would just absolutely make [the backlog] worse. And that's the point of these bills is to deny species protection, that's why I call them extinction bills," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director for the Center for Biological Diversity.

Lane believes under the current Endangered Species Act, environmental groups take advantage of the federal government’s Judgment Fund and the Equal Access to Justice Act to threaten lawsuits against the Fish and Wildlife Service that pressure the agency to act in certain ways.

“They’ll file suits against the government on a timeline, say, pressuring the government to list a species as endangered, which creates a backlog. This reinforces a model of payment to these [environmental] groups, which they benefit from,” he said.

Greenwald said some of those arguments are not because there's a problem with the Endangered Species Act but because protecting a species conflicts with an economic interest for the state.

Earlier this year, more than 100 members of Congress asked for more funding for endangered species protections after the White House's proposed budget included a significant cut to the Fish and Wildlife Service budget.

The bipartisan Congressional Western Caucus has also introduced nine bills to reform the Endangered Species Act, including a bill sponsored by Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., that would change the process of petitioning for a species to be protected.

That bill says that if too many petitions are pending the Interior Secretary could declare a backlog and dismiss petitions seen as unwarranted. Environmental groups say that change would take away an opportunity for public input in the process of deciding which species are listed as endangered.

The Sierra Club said that the House package of bills shows that lawmakers are trying to get rid of the Endangered Species Act instead of fully funding it.

“We know the Endangered Species Act already allows for flexibility in protecting endangered wildlife. The law requires federal agencies to work together with state, tribal and local officials to prevent extinction. We do not need to change or undo a law that clearly works," Jordan Giaconia, a Sierra Club federal policy associate said in a statement.

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Cumberland County Sheriff's Department (CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C.) -- A husband in North Carolina tried to kill his wife with a scheme straight out of ancient Rome: by surreptitiously slipping poison into her food.

Police in Cumberland County have charged Eugene Pittman with first-degree attempted murder after he put ant poison in his wife's meal, according to Durham ABC station WTVD.

According to the arrest warrant, Pittman's wife noticed a strange, sweet taste in her food. The warrant states his wife, Carmen Jackson-Pittman, even jokingly asked while she was eating if he was trying to poison her.

Jackson-Pittman ended up falling asleep and when she awoke, the warrant states, her hands and mouth were duct taped and Pittman was attempting to suffocate her.

His wife told police that he removed his hand from covering her nose and told her, "You have two choices: You can leave, or you can die."

The incident happened May 12, but Pittman was arrested on Monday.

The warrant says Pittman put Terro ant poison in her meal. The main ingredient in the poison is borax, which can cause unconsciousness, renal failure and respiratory depression in "severe poisonings," according to the Pesticide Action Network, a nonprofit that tracks pesticides in food and the environment.

Court records show the 52-year-old man is being held at Cumberland Detention Center on $50,000 bond.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- FBI counter-intelligence agents have arrested a 29-year-old Russian woman on charges she acted as a Kremlin agent while working over the past three years to build relationships in the upper ranks of the National Rifle Association.

Maria Butina, the cofounder of the mysterious Russian gun-rights group called “Right to Bear Arms” who recently graduated with a master’s degree from American University, “took steps to develop relationships with American politicians in order to establish private, or as she called them, ‘back channel’ lines of communication,” according to an affidavit attached to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington on Saturday.

“These lines could be used by the Russian Federation to penetrate the U.S. national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of the Russian Federation,” the affidavit reads, using Russia’s official country name.

She is being held pending a hearing set for later this week, according to a Department of Justice press release. The case brought against her was not brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, and it is not known whether it has any connection to the broader investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential campaign.

Butina denied the charges through an attorney, who called the complaint against her “overblown” and said she “intends to defend her rights vigorously and looks forward to clearing her name.”

According to Butina’s attorney, the FBI executed a search warrant at her Washington, D.C., apartment in April, and the affidavit states that agents searched her electronic devices, including her laptop and iPhone.

“While styled as some sort of conspiracy, in actuality it describes a conspiracy to have a ‘friendship dinner’ … with a group of Americans and Russians to discuss foreign relations between the two countries – hardly a shocking development for a Russian International Relations student living in Washington,” Driscoll said. “There is simply no indication of Butina seeking to influence or undermine any specific policy or law in the United States – only to promote a better relationship between the two nations.”

In the affidavit, however, the FBI alleges that Butina came to the U.S. under the direction of an unnamed Russian official, who based on the description, appears to be her longtime mentor, Alexander Torshin. A former member of the Russian parliament, Torshin is one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies and is now deputy governor of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation.

Torshin is a lifetime member of the NRA and -- until this past April, when he was included in a round of U.S. sanctions against Russian oligarchs – a frequent attendee of both NRA events and the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

Torshin and Butina accompanied several NRA board members on a December 2015 visit to Moscow, and Torshin sat at a dinner table with Donald Trump Jr. at the the May 2016 National Rifle Association convention. He and Butina also attended the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., where President Donald Trump was the keynote speaker.

A White House spokesperson and a spokesperson for Donald Trump Jr. both did not respond to a request for comment.

The affidavit quotes from several private message exchanges shortly before the 2016 presidential election between not only Butina and the Russian Official but Butina and an unnamed U.S. person, both of whom, the affidavit notes, she met and communicated with regularly as they developed an “influence operation.”

In one early exchange, Butina emailed the U.S. person in 2015 describing what she called the “central place and influence” the NRA enjoys in an unnamed political party as the “largest sponsor of the elections to the US congress, as well as a sponsor of The CPAC conference and other events.”

The following year, the U.S. person emailed an acquaintance, saying “I’ve been involved in securing a VERY private line of communication between the Kremlin” and leaders of an unnamed political party through an unnamed gun rights organization.

Shortly after, Butina exchanged messages with the Russian official on Twitter, in which they discussed strategy and impressed upon each other the importance of their work.

“Time will tell,” Butina wrote. “We made our bet. I am following our game.”

“No doubt,” the Russian official responded. “Of course we will win … And it is not about winning today’s fight (although we are striving for it) but to win the entire battle. This is the battle for the future, it cannot be lost! Or everyone will lose.”

Butina actually crossed paths with both President Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., during the 2016 campaign, including a moment at the FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas in July 2015 when she asked the Republican candidate directly about his views on U.S. sanctions against Russia.

In recent months, Butina’s close ties to senior officials with the NRA have prompted criticism of the gun rights organization. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, led an effort to determine whether Russian nationals donated money to any offshoots of the NRA as part of any effort to influence American politics.

The National Rifle Association has denied receiving money “from foreign persons or entities in connection with United States elections.” An NRA spokesperson did not respond to multiple requests from ABC News for comment regarding the charges against Butina.

Critics of the controversial gun-rights group pounced on the fresh allegations.

“The NRA has avoided explaining its ties to Putin for more than a year now,” John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety, told ABC News Monday. “That should end now that DOJ has charged a Russian national with deep ties to NRA leadership” with trying to infiltrate organizations to advance the interests of Russia.

The recent arrest represents a sudden reversal of fortune for Butina. On May 12, Butina she was celebrating, Donning a royal blue cap and gown as she accepted her diploma from American University, earning a degree in International Relations.

According to her student profile, Butina focused on “Global Security” for the past two years. A webpage on American University’s website offered several details about the program, including developing a student’s ability to “analyze how different understandings of peace and security inform policy choices and ways of thinking about patterns of conflict.”

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USGS(HONOLULU) -- A lava bomb punctured the roof of a tour boat in Hawaii Monday injuring 23 near where lava from the Kilauea volcano continues to spill into the ocean, the Hawaii Civil Defense said.

A lava bomb is a large rock tossed through the area in a volcanic explosion, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). In this case, the rock that slammed into the tour boat was the size of a basketball.

Four passengers onboard the boat were taken by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center, according to the Hawaii County Fire Department.

Two of those passengers are in stable condition, but the third, a woman in her 20s, was listed in serious condition with a fractured femur. Nine other passengers who were onboard the boat drove themselves to the hospital, and, according to the fire department, their injuries were superficial. It's unclear the total number of people on the boat.

This comes as lava continues to spill into the ocean, which USGS said has created a new lava “island” just offshore.

A collapse explosion event, which is measured in earthquake magnitude, caused an increase of activity from fissure 8 resulting in some channel overflows, USGS said.

Last week, the lava flow destroyed the Kua O Ka La Charter School and Ahalanui Count Beach Park, and the latest number of homes destroyed by the lava flows since the eruption began May 3 is 706, according to Hawaii Civil Defense.

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