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Woman makes history as the Marine Corps' first female infantry officer

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By TJH

U.S. Marine Corps(QUANTICO, Va.) — For the first time in its nearly 250-year history, the U.S. Marine Corps has a female infantry officer.

The woman, who wishes to keep her identity private, graduated from the Marines’ Infantry Officer Course in Quantico, Virginia, on Monday.

Now a lieutenant, she is the first woman to finish the challenging course and the fourth to attempt it since the Marines opened all military occupational specialties, known as MOS, to women in April 2016.

“I am proud of this officer and those in her class who have earned the infantry officer MOS,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said in a press release Monday.

The female infantry officer will now head to the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California, for her first assignment.

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“Infantry Officer Course is the MOS-producing school for Marine Corps infantry officers and the prerequisite course for ground intelligence officers,” the release said. “The grueling 13-week course trains and educates newly selected infantry and ground intelligence officers in leadership, infantry skills, and character required to serve as infantry platoon commanders in the operating forces.”

Of the 131 Marines who began the course in July, only 88 graduated.

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In 2015, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter made the decision to open all military combat roles to women, ending a ban on women’s serving on the front lines. At the time, the Marine Corps formally advised that women should continue to be prevented from working in combat units, despite recommendations from the Army, Navy, Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command that they be permitted to serve.

“We are a joint force, and I have decided to make a decision which applies to the entire force,” explained Carter in 2015.

Earlier that year, two female soldiers became the first women to graduate from Army Ranger training camp but were not immediately permitted to serve in a Ranger regiment as the decision on combat roles had yet to be made.

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Anthony Weiner sentenced to 21 months in sexting case

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By TJH

Aaron Katersky/ABC News(NEW YORK) — Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former New York congressman and soon-to-be ex-husband of top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, broke down in federal court Monday as he was sentenced to 21 months in prison for sending obscene material to a 15-year-old high school student in North Carolina.

Weiner, 53, who pleaded guilty last May to a single count of transferring obscene material to a minor, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.

When Judge Denise Cote announced her decision, Weiner, who was seeking probation, dropped his head and started to cry.

“This is a serious crime that deserves serious punishment,” Cote said in court.

Federal prosecutors had asked a judge to send Weiner to prison for 21 to 27 months. Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said in a statement Monday, “Anthony Weiner, a former Congressman and candidate for Mayor, asked a girl who he knew to be 15 years old to display her naked body and engage in sexually explicit behavior for him online. Justice demands that this type of conduct be prosecuted and punished with time in prison. Monday, Anthony Weiner received a just sentence that was appropriate for his crime.”

Weiner sobbed audibly in court for a few minutes after the proceeding ended. He did not speak as he left the courthouse.

Monday’s sentencing marks the end of a six-year saga during which Weiner resigned from Congress, unsuccessfully ran for mayor of New York and separated from Abedin, who filed for divorce the day he was indicted. Weiner and Abedin are parents to a young son.

Weiner’s crime may have played a role in Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump. When the FBI found Abedin’s email on his computer, then-FBI Director James Comey revisited the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server.

Defense attorney Arlo Devlin-Brown said Monday that Weiner’s “repeated acts of self destruction are not those of a scheming criminal.”

Weiner had asked for probation, citing his continual recovery from an illness that cost him his marriage and career.

“A term of imprisonment would bring Anthony’s indisputably successful treatment for the sickness underlying his crime to an immediate and complete halt and separate Anthony from the son who has motivated his recovery,” his defense attorneys wrote.

In an emotional statement in May, Weiner said he “compulsively sought attention from women,” engaging many of them in sexual and non-sexual conversations. He said his behavior started when he entered Congress and it continued through the first six months of 2016.

“These destructive impulses brought great devastation to my family and friends, and destroyed my life’s dream of public service,” he said.

Weiner said he “came to grips for the first time with the depths of my sickness” last fall and entered “intensive treatment.”

“I have a sickness,” Weiner said, “but I do not have an excuse.”

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Church usher, 22, heralded as hero after deadly Nashville shooting

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By TJH

ABC News(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — A 22-year-old church usher was heralded as a hero after he confronted a masked gunman who opened fire at a Tennessee parish on Sunday as services were ending.

Police said Robert Engle, an usher at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee, engaged in a struggle with the suspected shooter, Emanual Samson, 25, after he allegedly opened fire at the church on Sunday morning, killing one woman and wounding six others.

“He’s the hero,” Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said at a news conference on Sunday. “He’s the person who stopped this madness.”

Samson allegedly entered the church’s parking lot around 11 a.m. and fatally shot 39-year-old Melanie Smith as she walked to her car after service, police said.

The suspect is believed to have been there for at least several minutes before church service let out, according to police.

Samson, who was wearing a neoprene half-mask, then entered the church and began to shoot “indiscriminately,” wounding six people who were later treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Engle confronted the gunman in an effort to keep him from shooting more people and was pistol-whipped in the process, police said, adding that the suspect accidentally shot himself in the chest while struggling with Engle.

Engle eventually ran out to his car to retrieve his own pistol, which he used to hold the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived, officials said.

The young usher, who said he has attended the church since he was a small child, does not consider himself a hero.

“I do not want to be labeled a hero,” Engle said in a statement Sunday. “The real heroes are the police, first responders and medical staff and doctors who have helped me and everyone affected.”

He also asked for people to pray for those who were affected by the shooting.

“I ask everyone to pray for the victims, family members of the victims, our church community. Please pray for healing,” Engle said in another statement. “Also, please pray for the shooter, the shooter’s family and friends. They are hurting as well.”

One witness, Minerva Rosa, said the situation could have been worse if Engle had not intervened.

“He’s amazing,” Rosa told reporters on Sunday. “Without him, I think it could be worse. He was the hero today.”

Rosa, who has been a member of the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ for eight years, said the suspect was silent as he fired shots inside the church. She said she heard the pastor shout “Run! Run! Gunshots!” as the gunman made his way down the aisle.

Engle’s grandmother, 69-year-old Rheta Engle, told a local newspaper that she was proud of him.

“That’s like him. He’s just someone who cares about a lot of people. He has all their feelings at heart,” she told the Tennessean on Sunday afternoon. “It would make any parent, grandparent very, very proud of him.”

Blake Langford, Robert Engle’s friend, described him as a “gentle giant.”

“He’s just a great guy,” Langford told the Tennessean. “Just one of the kindest human beings you’ll ever meet.”

Robert Engle was released from a local hospital on Sunday night and is back home with his family, according to local news outlets.

Samson, who police said had attended the church within the past two years, was treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound and is expected to be charged with one count of murder, with additional charges pending, according to police.

The motive for the shooting is unclear.

The Memphis FBI Field Office’s Nashville Resident Agency, the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee have opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting.

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Trump issues new travel ban restricting entry from eight countries

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By Kelly Terez

ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) — President Trump has issued a presidential proclamation banning or restricting travel from eight countries, adding Chad and Venezuela and North Korea to the original list of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

The administration is taking a tailored approach, providing a variety of conditions, ranging from suspended immigrant and non-immigrant travel to allowing travel for nonimmigrants with additional scrutiny.

Since the travel ban is condition-based, if and when the conditions change for any of the eight countries, the proclamation can be changed. Also, at any time, the Secretary of Homeland Security can recommend that countries be added. The restrictions are indefinite, however, since they don’t have a 90- or 120-day limit like the previous travel bans Trump issued in January and in March.

The new travel restrictions are effective immediately for those subject to the two earlier travel bans, and take effect Octoberr 18 for those subject to these new provisions.

This ban does not apply to lawful permanent residents, those already in the United States on the effective date, those with valid visas on the effective date, dual citizens who are traveling on passports of a non-banned country, or those already granted asylum.

The ban is tailored slightly differently for each country. Also, like the last ban issued in March, there is a provision for case-by-case waivers, which helps the administration’s legal arguments that the ban is Constitutional.

“The travel ban — the tougher the better,” the president said Sunday before boarding Air Force One on his way back to Washington, D.C., from Bedminster, New Jersey.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Gunman identified in Tennessee church shooting that left one dead, six injured

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By Suzie Liu

Metro Nashville PD(ANTIOCH, Tenn.) — Police have identified the gunman who shot a woman dead and injured six other churchgoers after he opened fire Sunday morning at a Tennessee church as services were ending.

The shooting at Burnett’s Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, started in the church’s parking lot, according to police and the Nashville Fire Department. Nashville Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said emergency calls came in around 11:15 a.m. as services were letting out.

The gunman, identified by police as 25-year-old Emanual Kidega Samson, arrived in the parking lot and first fatally fired at 39-year-old Melanie Smith, who was walking to her car, police said. Samson was wearing a neoprene half-mask and drove an SUV, Aaron said.

After gunning down the woman in the parking lot, Samson went inside through the rear of the church and began “indiscriminately shooting at people,” police said, wounding six people.

A church usher, identified as 22-year-old Robert Engle, ran up and confronted Samson and was subsequently pistol-whipped by him, police said. Samson was at some point shot in the left pectoral, though police still don’t know if the gun discharged on its own during Engle’s struggle with the suspect.

At that point, Engle went to his car, where he got his weapon to confront the shooter again.

Police said Samson had attended the church within the past two years. He has been released from a local hospital and will be charged with one count of murder, with additional charges to come.

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The Memphis FBI Field Office’s Nashville Resident Agency, the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee have opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Sunday.

All seven of the wounded were taken to area hospitals. Five of them were sent to Vanderbilt Medical Center and one to Skyline Medical Center.

Vanderbilt Medical Center said in a statement after the shooting that its emergency medicine physicians and trauma center surgeons are caring for two critically injured gunshot victims, and another four individuals who are currently in stable condition.

Nashville Christian School released a statement on Sunday, saying, “As you may already know, one of our Bible teachers, Joey Spann, and his wife were both injured in the church shooting this morning at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch. We do not have any additional information at this time but want to boldly ask you to pray. Please lift up Coach Joey Spann and his wife Peggy and all who have been injured or impacted by this tragic event.”

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry released a statement on Sunday: “This is a terrible tragedy for our city,” she said. “My heart aches for the family and friends of the deceased as well as for the wounded victims and their loved ones. Their lives have been forever changed, as has the life of their faith community at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ.

“My administration, especially the Metro Nashville Police Department, will continue to work with community members to stop crime before it starts, encourage peaceful conflict resolution, and promote non-violence,” she added.

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