tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC January 7, 2017 3:30pm-4:01pm PST
. on this saturday night, deadly airport rampage. the emerging picture of the shooting suspect, his plan of attack, the warning signs he may have shown and the trail that brought him to ft. lauderdale as we learn more about the lives cut short and the horrifying moments in the terminal and the survors whose images have been seen around the world. double threat. a winter storm battles the east coast. snow, ice and freezing rain hitting tense of millions from north to south and some areas getting a foot and a half of snow. while out west, they're bracing for days of rain and potential flooding not seen in years. that fateful night. the sinking of the titanic. yes, it was an iceberg. but was there something else on the ship that contributed
to the most famous disaster at sea? tonight an intriguing new look. "nightly news" begins now. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with jose diaz bullard. good evening from ft. lauderdale where the mundane task of waiting for luggage turned into a horrific scene of panic, tears and death. today we're learning much more about the people who lost their lives at terminal 2, the man accused of carrying out the massacre and what may have prompted this deadly assault. kerry sanders and gabe gutierrez are in ft. lauderdale, gadi schwartz in alaska, pete williams in washington, d.c. we begin with kerry sanders and the aftermath of the deadly chaos. >> today, deputies began to review what went right and wrong. >> around us. >> investigators have
reviewed security videos of the chaos and interviewed 175 witnesses. >> i'm still numb. >> reporter: survivor mike leah riefd on the same minneapolis to ft. lauderdale flight as the alleged gunman, 26-year-old esteban santiago. the carnage unfolded in baggage claim. officials say santiago followed tsa rules when he shipped his only piece of luggage, his locked handgun case, with checked baggage. witnesses saw him claim the case, go to the bathroom and then exit shooting. >> did he ever say anything? >> did not say a single word. no motion. like a blank page. >> when the shooting ended, he dropped his weapon, laid down and surrendered to arriving deputies. five dead. six wounded. more than 50 injured. >> indications are that he came here to carry out this horrific attack. >> reporter: investigators say santiago is talking. the fbi confirms two months ago he walked
into their offices in alaska claiming the cia was trying to control his mind. a former combat engineer, his family says since a deployment to iraq, he's battled mental illness. the airport has returned to 85% of its capacity. >> i think it's really haunting. >> anxious passengers resumed their trips. stories of heroism. >> the shooter was walking towards us. >> as she took cover behind a baggage cart, from out of nowhere, a stranger, this man, slithered over to her, covering her body. he whispered. he would be her human shield. >> i was praying to god, just praying to god and had an angel protect me. >> reporter: her angel, a real hero, was also untouched. tonight the alleged gunman's uncle who lives here in florida tells nbc news that he saw a noticeable change in his nephew after jose, he said
that he was witness to two of his colleagues, two soldiers die in an ied explosion. >> kerry sanders, thank you very much. many who travel in and out of this airport are on their way to or from vacations and that was true of at least some of those who lost their lives here yesterday. we get more on the victims tonight from gabe gutierrez. >> reporter: before the chaos, for many of the victims, that was supposed to be a time of celebration. known for her bright smile olga was a great grandmother on the way to a cruise to mark her husband's 90th birthday. she was shot. he survived. >> they were the most lovely couple south of the mason-dixon line. truly in love. beautiful couple. >> the couple had attended this church in marietta, georgia and had been married more than 60 years. >> her faith was deep and abiding. she was such a beacon of hope.
she was an angel. >> terry of virginia worked at the norfolk naval shipyard and helped the local volunteer fire department. michael flew to florida bound for a cruise. he was killed, she was injured. >> really funny and she just fills up the room. >> besides the five deaths, six more people were shot and rushed to broward health medical center. >> we're a level 1 trauma center. >> he says dozens were treated for minor injuries from the aftermath of the shooting as confusion and panic set in. >> i think what's heartbreaking is today some of our patients learned that they lost their loved ones. >> reporter: tonight the loss from yet another mass shooting is rippling across america as communities remember loved ones who went on vacation and never came home. >> reporter: authorities still have not publicly identified the other two shooting deaths here at the hospital. there are still seven patients remaining. two of them are listed
in critical condition. jose? >> gabe gutierrez, thank you. as kerry sanders just reported, the suspect lived in alaska. from there we're learning on some issues from his time there based on interactions he had with police and the fbi. nbc's gadi schwartz has more from anchorage. >> in the long alaska night, fbi agents carrying out evidence from the home of esteban santiago. his family says he moved to alaska to work with the national guard. but was kicked out for performance issues. san antonio ago a had been on anchorage police radar. officers responding to a call here when santiago's girlfriend accused him of trying to strangle her. >> those charges were dismissed. in november, he went to the field office with those claims about the government controlling his mind and making him watch isis videos. >> during our initial investigation, we found no ties to terrorism. he broke no laws when he came into our
office making disjointed comments about mind control. >> authorities say at the time he had left his young son in the car and had an ammunition magazine with him. he was checked in for a mental health evaluation. the gun he owned confiscated for several months but was given back in december. >> was the gun released to him the same gun that was used in the shooting? >> i have not received that information at this time. so i cannot comment positive or negative on that. >> investigators from alaska to florida just beginning to unravel what triggered this deadly rampage. gadi schwartz, nbc news, anchorage, alaska. >> we're getting new information on this rampage from the justice department and the fbi. our justice correspondent, pete williams, with the latest details just coming in. pete? >> jose federal prosecutors offered new details about the shooting in court documents which have just been filed late this evening. santiago is charged with committing an act of violence at an international airport. that's a crime that could carry the death
penalty if he's convicted. investigators say he fired ten to 15 rounds of ammunition from his handgun shooting all the rounds in one magazine or ammunition clip, then reloading and emptying the second. they say at one point he left the baggage area, then went back in still carrying the gun. he told the fbi after the shooting that he planned the attack buying a one-way ticket from anchorage and checked his gun and the two ammunition magazines he used in the shooting. he'll appear in court to face these charges, jose. >> pete williams, thank you. let's turn now to the other big story we're covering. severe weather in much of the country tonight. consider this. our meteorologists tell us that 47 of the 48 continental states have snow cover. only one state doesn't. florida where we are. not only that, there is a double threat tonight with snow and ice in much of the east unusually heavy rains in the west. we have reports from both regions and we
start with tammy leitner in virginia. >> jose, a blizzard warning in this area is highly unusual. in fact, this storm slamming the south is proving to be historic. it's making its way across the east coast. >> wicked winter weather causing this pile-up in middletown, connecticut. 20 cars, tractor-trailers and a tanker truck dumping fuel. no one seriously hurt. from new york to raleigh to atlanta. thousands of flights canceled or delayed. weary travelers trapped. this relentless storm unleashing snow and isiah cross the south. in georgia, accidents on icy roads bringing traffic on the interstates to a stop. >> we were sat two hours on 75. standstill, didn't move. >> south carolina hit with 5 inches overnight and in north carolina, 260
accidents during a six-hour stretch. this pickup sliding through a guardrail and off the road. millions of americans struggling as mother nature dumps snow across the northeast. most people are hunkered inside except this woman and her soon to be husband matt edward. >> it's cold outside but i have no cold feet. >> only 40 of the expected 200 guests made it through the pounding wind and snow through the church. >> you may kiss your bride. >> that didn't stop this couple from having truly a white wedding. tammy leitner, nbc news, norfolk, virginia. i'm steve patterson in northern california where residents are in a race against time. a winter storm expected to bring monumental rain totals and flooding tearing throughout the west. along the sierra nevada people scrambling to pack in
protective sandbags. >> already put a bunch out. >> the tahoe basin trekkie river into reno is expected to -- low-lying structures. in reno, residents working to move property to higher grounds while businesses push to seal off storm drains. >> the storm drains will perk water up. so what we're doing now is plugging those. >> hold that. >> further west, bay area resident brenda johnson understands why the work is so critical. >> make sure i'm safe and my house is safe and my property is safe. >> brenda is haunted by the last time a similar storm hit more than a decade ago. the 2005 storm sent water flooding into houses. it cost northern california $300 million in damages. >> it took maybe four minutes and it was already in our house. >> forecasters say this storm has the potential to wreak the same havoc, if not worse. >> reporter: so for the people that live here, this is the big
concern. the trunk i river started off at 1.7 feet in this area today. by tomorrow it could crest at over 7 feet. that's three feet above flood stage. that could spell disaster for people 25 miles away in reno where the same pattern is expected to play out. >> steve patterson, thank you. let's get more on the storms and where they're heading. >> jose, we continue to track this low up the eastern seaboard this evening. we're looking at it moving farther to the west. with that heavy amounts of snow in the big cities. it will escape and move out of region by tomorrow. we're going to be looking for blizzard conditions into the cape overnight. 12 to 18 inches of snow possible into that region. that's one side of the coast. we're looking to the west coast now. look at the heavy amounts of rain on top of heavy amounts of snowfall. they're looking at avalanche threats and flooding concerns and also an ice threat. in places like portland. 3/4 of an inch of ice
is possible this evening. only takes 1/4 of an inch to take down power lines. >> thank you very much. in chicago, long lines for the hottest ticket in town. president obama's farewell address in chicago on tuesday. people waited in frigid weather by the time 7,000 were in line officials say they had reached the limit on those who would receive the free tickets. they were handed out a short time later with some feeling they hit the jackpot, others leaving disappointed. a day after intelligence agencies with the role in hack the president-elect had more to say on twitter. ron allen had more on what prominent republicans are now saying. >> as snow swirls around trump tower, a tweet storm from the president-elect. deflecting the intel finding russia hacked the u.s. election. claiming instead gross negligence by democrats allowed the hacking to take place and they're totally
embarrassed they lost the election. later, mr. trump tweeting only stupid people or fools think good relations with russia are a bad idea. mr. trump's refusal all week to directly point the finger at the russians leaving veteran republicans in disbelief. >> if after the briefing he is still unsure that will shake me to the core about his judgment. >> some trump backers say his tweet that there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results is his main message. the vice president-elect promising to step up america's defenses. >> we're going to take aggressive action in the early days of our new administration to combat cyber attacks. >> trump still omting to deliver his message through twitter. he has millions of followers. >> social media is revolutionary. i'm not sure it's wise or unwise. it's just happening. he's not going to change. >> serious policy issues in 140
characters and questioning whether trump's being too cozy with the russians. >> he's fighting tooth and nail in support of moscow and their intelligence agencies and that's why it becomes suspicious. >> and while mr. trump may want to move on, congress warns -- the president-elect's approach to russia may be a big issue next week when hearings begin for cabinet nominees. jose? >> ron allen, thank you. still ahead tonight, looking beyond their hostility, a hospital where long-time (vo) a lifetime of your dog's nutritional needs... all in one. purina one. healthy energy, all in one. strong muscles, all in one. highly digestible, and a taste he loves, all in one. purina one smartblend is expertly blended... with 100% nutrition, 0% fillers, always real meat #1. lifelong smart nutrition. it's all in one. purina one.
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we're back with an intriguing look at what happened when declared enemies turn the other cheek and put humanity above politics, we're talking about israel and syria. while there's no fundamental change in the hostile relations between the states, there's a place, a hospital where syrians and israelis look beyond what divides them. kelly cobiella spent some time there. >> at the hospital in northern israel, this doctor is comforting a 6-year-old boy. the boy says his legs hurt. the doctor tells him, he must be brave. the boy is syrian. so is this fighter. 15 syrian patients of an israeli hospital. remarkable because israel is the neighbor syrians have been taught to hate. this is the border with syria. just over that fence,
syrian land and just a few miles down the road, a village where rebels are fighting government forces. in the past three years, more than 2,000 wounded syrians have crossed the border for treatment. and instead of stopping them, the israeli defense forces helped them, patching up wounds, sending the seriously ill or wounded to the hospital 18 miles away. >> we treated the men, we treated women, we treated children. every syrian close to the border is evacuated to our hospital and everyone that we treated exactly as we treated israelis. >> the patients hiding their faces, terrified of what would happen if the syrians knew they sought help in israel. >> this fighter says the syrian government planted bad things about israel in their minds. >> maybe our treatment may be helpful for
building peace. >> the best treatment of all, the doctors hearsay, is to stop waging war. >> kelly cobiella, israel. when we come back, my conversation with a man who found himself caught in the middle of the attack here in coaching means making tough choices. jim! you're in! but when you have high blood pressure and need cold medicine that works fast, the choice is simple. coricidin hbp is the only brand that gives powerful cold symptom relief without raising your blood pressure.
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chaos at ft. lauderdale's airport. the man behind the camera was waiting for a ride when he heard the shots and turned around to see what was going on looking into the eyes of a killer. he returned to the airport to speak with us today. >> i saw the shooter positioning to shoot with, i think it was, either the right knee down and then pointing. the first lady, the tall lady. i heard her cry. there's a moment where the lady that you mentioned says, i flew with her. >> i saw her. that's -- i was more in the motion. the footage that we saw worldwide is 25 seconds. it's just a moment. >> is there anything that you want to say to the people that you were there, that you saw. >> i want to say i'm sorry for the family
that lost their loved one. it did not define any model who the shooter decide he going to shoot. although we don't talk to each other but we're connecting to each other. i'm very sorry that happened. >> he believes god spared his life and he prays for those who lost theirs. up next, a new look at what sank the emerge restored. fortified. replenished. emerge everyday with emergen-c
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finally, tonight no tragedy at sea more famous than the titanic after hitting an iceberg in the atlantic. another issue the ship was dealing with before that fateful night is getting new attention and may have contributed to the disaster. joe fryer has more. >> she was the largest ship ever built. >> could it be the infamous iceberg that downed the titanic had an accomplice? a new documentary airing later this month on the smithsonian channel -- >> in titanic the new evidence journalists say a fire in the bunker which had been burning for days weakened the ship's structure making the iceberg crash more devastating. >> look at this anomaly in the hull. >> points to newly discovered photos of the ship taken before its yil-fated voyage
with a mark on the hull of the ship. >> what do you think the mark in those images show? >> i'm convinced by what the scientists are telling me now is a deformity caused by a heat source. >> the fire itself is not a new discovery, but experts are divided over what role it played. in fact, park stevenson thinks because of the fire a lot of coal had to be moved to the other side of the titanic which after hitting the iceberg helped to stabilize the ship long enough to launch lifeboats. >> everyone who was saved from titanic in my view owes their lives to that coal bunker fire. >> 1500 lives were lost when the supposedly unsinkable ship did sink more than a century ago. a source of fascination ever since now with a new debate over whether the sul pri culprits were really fire and ice. joe fryer, nbc news. that's "nbc nightly news" for this saturday. i'm reporting from ft. lauderdale. thank you for the
hours. the news at 4:00 starts right now, good evening, thank you for joining us. i'm terry mcsweeney. and i'm peggy bunker. right now we're feeling the strong impact of the storm and really this is just the beginning. >> we have rob mayeda tracking the storm. >> reporter: that is right, you see right rain around storam range as we show you the rain off to the east of san bruno mountain, south bay picking up the most rain and the santa cruz mountains not much in san jose, less than a tenth of an inch so far. but already at ben loman, the rain is climbing. it is this area of moisture that we're tracking bringing the rain rates up to half an inch or higher. between now and 8:00, notice the rain totals, things changing thoughft