COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)- Michele Gay said this recent shooting is bringing up painful memories but she is pleased with the efforts of people in South Carolina and others nationally to find some sort of resolution.

Michele Gay’s seven-year-old daughter Josephine died along with 25 others after a gunman opened fire on sandy hook elementary. Now Michele travels to different communities to talk about ways to end school shootings, stopping in Columbia for a summit Thursday.

“We need to be looking at this problem from all angles. Particularly prevention, better preparing for response and preparing communities for recovery when tragedy does strike. There won’t be any one magic pill, unfortunately. Americans like the easy button, we would like to point to one thing we can wipe out or we can change or can fix to solve the whole problem and that is just not the reality,” Gay said.

“Years ago it was columbine, years ago it was sandy hook and now Stoneman Douglas. The question is put before us why, where and how?” asked Charleston Representative Wendell Gilliard.

Since the shooting in Florida, South Carolinians have proposed several ideas to end the bloodshed including a bill to block people under 20 from buying AR-15s, parents calling for more resource officers in schools, a bill for harsher penalties for credible threats against schools, and the latest a new bill looking to ban the sale, usage and possession of assault weapons, bump stocks and trigger cranks; a proposal Michele believes could be successful.

“Looking at the accessories of the firearms, that is being looked at very seriously. Although it seems as though it might be stymied a little bit, I think that might be just because law enforcement officers and community members and leaders want to make sure they want to do it right,” said Gay.

Lawmakers who introduced that proposal to ban assault rifles said only military and law enforcement should have those weapons. The bill was referred judiciary committee Wednesday.

 

Columbia, SC (WOLO)–  Sheriff Leon Lott said the Richland County Forensic Lab is to thank for getting someone he calls a ‘monster’ off the streets.

 

Marquille Livingston is charged with sexually assaulting an 85-year-old woman in her home. Now, the Richland County Sheriff thinks there may be more victims out there. Sheriff Leon Lott said they were able to gather enough DNA from the sexual assault that happened on Valentines Day, to a sexual assault that happened in 2016.

 

“That was one of our fears, that this wasn’t Livingston’s first time. We found some evidence when we did a search of another sexual assault victim,” Lott said. 

 

According to the report, Livingston broke into a 70-year-old woman’s home, tased her repeatedly, and sexually assaulted her.  Along with DNA tying him to that case, deputies said the woman was able to pick him out of a line up.  Sheriff Lott said the most disturbing part is that he kept an item of hers as a trophy.

 

“He would not have stopped. And that’s what the scary part is, is that he would not have stopped. Livingston would have continued to be a monster, and I don’t use that word very often, but he was a monster to pray on our senior, elderly females in our community,” Lott said.  Lott said it is not often that they get cases that shock them and he admits they were all emotionally invested to get Livingston off the streets as fast as possible. Now, their concern is that there are many more victims who have yet to come forward.

 

“We’re begging you, if you were sexually assaulted, report it. Report it to law enforcement so it can be investigated,” Lott said. 

 

Lott said in both cases the women did not know Livingston. RCSD is still using his DNA to see if they can connect him to any other unsolved sexual assaults.  

 

“We’ve got to prevent monsters like Livingston from being out here in our community, and we can do that if we all work together,” Lott said. 

 

Sheriff Lott said they have a forensic lab inside their headquarters for just this reason, so they can get bad guys off the street as quickly as they can. 

The Southeastern Conference today announced the schedule for its annual football media days, which will take place at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia, July 16-19.

A more detailed daily schedule with full television information, rotational breakdown and student-athletes attending will be available later this summer.

During the four-day SEC Media Days event, the Hall of Fame will be home to the coaches’ primary press conferences and serve as the live broadcast headquarters for both ESPN and the SEC Network. The Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center, which is connected to the Hall of Fame, is the host hotel for the event and will house Radio Row and other media interviews and activities.

As part of the week’s activities, participating media cast their votes to predict the SEC champion and order of finish for the coming season. Only six times in the last 25 seasons has the SEC Media Days predicted champion proceeded to win the SEC Championship, two of which have occurred in the last four years.

The 2018 event will mark the first time SEC Media Days will be held outside the Birmingham, Alabama, area since 1985.

2018 SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAYS SCHEDULE

MONDAY, July 16
Kentucky – Mark Stoops
LSU – Ed Orgeron
Texas A&M – Jimbo Fisher

TUESDAY, July 17
Arkansas – Chad Morris
Florida – Dan Mullen
Georgia – Kirby Smart
Ole Miss – Matt Luke

WEDNESDAY, July 18
Alabama – Nick Saban
Mississippi State – Joe Moorhead
Missouri – Barry Odom
Tennessee – Jeremy Pruitt

THURSDAY, July 19
Auburn – Gus Malzahn
South Carolina – Will Muschamp
Vanderbilt – Derek Mason

PARKLAND, FL (WOLO, AP) – The armed officer on duty at the Florida school where a shooter killed 17 people never went inside to engage the gunman and has been placed under investigation, police announced Thursday.

The Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by a gunman armed with an AR-15 style assault rifle has reignited national debate over gun laws and school safety.

The school resource officer at the high school took up a position viewing the western entrance of the building that was under attack for more than four minutes, but “he never went in,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a Thursday news conference. The shooting lasted about six minutes.

The officer, Scot Peterson, was suspended without pay and placed under investigation, then chose to resign, Israel said. When asked what Peterson should have done, Israel said the deputy should have “went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer.”

The sheriff said he was “devastated, sick to my stomach. There are no words. I mean these families lost their children. I’ve been to the funerals. I’ve been to the vigils. There are no words.”

The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, has been jailed on 17 counts of murder and has admitted the attack. Defense attorneys, state records and people who knew him indicate that he displayed behavioral troubles for years. He owned a collection of weapons.

Look for more early low clouds followed by some clearing and highs in the low 80’s through Saturday. Showers return late Sunday and continue through Monday.

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)–SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey has fined Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk $25,000 and mandated a Conference led review of South Carolina’s game management procedures and visiting team security.

This, in the wake of a civil lawsuit filed Thursday by University of South Carolina Head Basketball Coach Dawn Staley.

Staley filed the $75, 000 defamation lawsuit against Sterk in the Fifth Judicial Circuit in Richland County.

According to Staley’s lawsuit: “the defendant’s statement that Coach Staley intentionally promoted a hostile and negative atmosphere designed to incite riotous conduct at a college basketball game… was false, defamatory, reckless and made with actual malice.”

The defamation suit surrounds comments Staley claims Sterk made after the USC-Missouri basketball game on January 28, 2018 at Colonial Life Arena.

 

In reference to the SEC Fine against the Missouri AD, According to a release from Athletics Communications & Public Relations at the University of South Carolina:

“Both Missouri and South Carolina have cultivated highly successful women’s basketball programs, which enjoy tremendous fan support and have earned the respect of this office,” said Commissioner Sankey.  “While we always appreciate a healthy level of competitive intensity on the court, there is no place in this league for discord inside or outside of the arena.  I have had multiple conversations over the past few weeks with representatives of both schools about the problems emanating from their January 28 game and it has been my desire for those issues to be mutually resolved between the athletic programs and individuals involved.  Unfortunately, a mutual resolution does not appear imminent.  Our hope is that we can direct our focus back where it belongs – on our student-athletes and on-court competition.”

In levying a reprimand and fine, the SEC determined that Sterk’s public comments about South Carolina Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dawn Staley during a January 30 radio interview violated SEC Bylaw 10.5.1, which states “Coaches and administrators shall refrain from public criticism of other member institutions, their staff or players.”

“The SEC Code of Ethics, which was adopted by all of our member institutions, sets forth clear expectations for sportsmanship, mutual trust and respect among all participants, coaches and administrators,” Sankey said.

Further, SEC Bylaw 10.5.8 establishes the expectation of member institutions to implement policies that hold their various constituencies responsible for good sportsmanship and set standards for behavior that “reflect the high standard of honor and dignity that characterize participation in the collegiate setting.”  As such, the SEC has assigned two office staff members, Tiffany Daniels, Associate Commissioner for Competition and Senior Woman Administrator, and William King, Associate Commissioner for Legal Affairs and Compliance, to work cooperatively with South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner to review and, if necessary, further refine game management issues.

“We take seriously the reports from Missouri’s student-athletes about inappropriate language and actions directed at them by individual fans, and appreciate South Carolina’s willingness to engage in a full review of fan behavior from January 28.  Our goal is to explore additional mechanisms for enhancing each visiting team’s experience before, during and after competition.  Any lessons learned on ways to improve sportsmanship, hospitality and team security will be shared across the SEC,” Sankey said.

Per Athletics Office: University of South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner’s response:

“I welcome the review from the Southeastern Conference into our game management procedures and visiting team security. Our staff works diligently to create a secure environment for everyone at our home athletic events, including fans, student-athletes, coaches and staff for both the home and visiting teams. I will reiterate that we did a post-game review following the January 28 game against Missouri and received no confirmation of the alleged behavior by our fans directed towards the visiting team.”

 

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)–University of South Carolina Head Basketball Coach Dawn Staley has filed a $75, 000 civil lawsuit against The University of Missouri’s athletic director.

Staley filed the defamation lawsuit, against Jim Sterk, in Richland County.

According to the lawsuit: “the defendant’s statement that Coach Staley intentionally promoted a hostile and negative atmosphere designed to incite riotous conduct at a college basketball game… was false, defamatory, reckless and made with actual malice.”

The defamation suit surrounds comments Staley claims Sterk made after the USC-Missouri basketball game on January 28, 2018 at Colonial Life Arena.

This is a developing story. More updates to follow.

CAYCE, SC ( WOLO) —  Cayce officials are hosting a grand re-opening of Phase II of the Cayce Riverwalk.

According to City leaders, in June of 2015, the Riverland Park area was flooded by the rising Congaree River and during the October 2015 flood.

Phase II of the Riverwalk begins at the entrance of the Cayce Cove Apartment complex and runs downriver to H. Kelley Jones Park in the Riverland Park neighborhood.

Cayce officials say the repairs took 11 months to complete and cost a total of $1.4 million for the full repair of all Riverwalk projects across all phases. These repairs were funded through the City of Cayce General Fund and partially through FEMA reimbursement, say officials.

“The Cayce Riverwalk is such an essential part of our resident’s recreational life, and we are so thrilled to reopen Phase II of the Cayce Riverwalk for the public to enjoy. We look forward to seeing everyone this Thursday as we show off all of the wonderful repairs that were made!” Cayce Mayor Elise Partin

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– The City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department will host a Black History Heritage Ball as part of Black History Month events.

The ball will take place Sunday, February 25 from 5-8 pm at Greenview Park.  The event is open to all adults age 18 and older, say organizers.

Here is information about the event from City officials:

COST: Admission to the Black History Heritage Ball is $10. Dinner will be provided. Tickets can be purchased at any recreation center with a check or money order. To find a recreation center near you, visit https://gis.columbiasc.gov/parkfinder/. To purchase a ticket with cash or a debit/credit card, visit the Parks and Recreation Department Administration Office located at 1111 Parkside Drive.

DRESS: African print dresses, shirts or pants, or semi-formal attire encouraged.

  For more information, call the Parks and Recreation Department at 803-545-3100.

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