tv NBC Nightly News NBC September 17, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
through saturday. >> a little something, something. >> exactly. >> summer is ending. >> good-bye. now from inside the navy yard with the gunman on the rampage. how did a man with a history of violence and mental illness get and retain his security clearance from the military? also, what we now know about those who lost their lives. cut off from the outside world. tonight our team makes the long trek on foot to those places devastated by the history-making floods. where it could be weeks before help arrives. hidden danger in the water supply, a mystery solved. now, a community is trying to take extreme measures to protect their children from a rare threat. and to the rescue. a burning building, a man trying to escape a fire and an
extraordinary act of courage with no time to spare. "nightly news" begins now. good evening, the gunman in the mass shooting at the washington navy yard reportedly told police he was hearing voices and that someone was using microwave technology to infiltrate his body. investigators say the portrait emerging tonight of this former navy reservist turned private contractor points increasingly to mental illness, at the same time were portraits are now emerges of the civil servants who died in the hail of gunfire simply because they were inside the complex of navy buildings. we begin tonight with our justice correspondent pete williams on what we've learn sod far in this evening. pete, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian, the man accused of the shootings, aaron alexis, came to washington three weeks ago after
seeking treatment at a v.a. hospital, after complaining about hearing voices and worrying about his safety. just last month, investigators say aaron alexis checked into this hospital in newport, rhode island, while working as a contractor. he called police to say that people were following him, he was hearing voices and they were using a microwave machine to send vibrations to disrupt him from sleeping. he worried about the voices that could harm him. later, he looked for mental health treatment at a v.a. hospital. in fort worth, he worried about being a victim of racism and being shortchanged by the government. >> oh, my gosh, i'm so tired of dealing with our american government, because they're giving me the runaround, and they're shorting me my benefits. >> reporter: as for the shootings, alexis drove onto the navy yard monday in this rental car and walked into building 197
carrying a bag with a shotgun like this he bought over the weekend in a gun shop in virginia after using a shooting range that did operate. >> mr. alexis had legitimate access to the navy yard as a result of his work as a contractor and he utilized a valid pass to gain entry to the building. >> reporter: investigators say he went into the fourth floor, ducking into the men's room, and came out firing the shotgun stopping to reload. he also grabbed a handgun from the police officer he wounded and kept on firing until he was shot and killed more than half an hour later. the navy said he was granted a low-level secret clearance in 2008, good for ten years. it's unclear whether the government didn't know or didn't care that four years earlier he was arrested for shooting the tires of a car that was parked near his house. the police report then said he did it after a blackout fueled by anger. he was arrested again in 2008, and once more in texas in 2010, but was never convicted of
anything so he was never legally barred from buying guns. the officials say it would have been illegal to report he was seeking psychiatric treatment. >> the shooting followed two background checks for contractors. tonight the secretary of the navy has ordered another investigation of how clearances are granted and reviewed and how installations are protected. brian? >> pete williams on this story all day from our d.c. room. thank you, pete. let's not forget three victims survived the shooting and are making progress. including the d.c. police officer scott williams who suffered serious gunshot wounds to both legs. and as we said, we are learning more tonight about the 12 people who lost their lives at the navy yard complex while doing what they do every day, going to work and making a living for their families. nbc's tom costello has more on their stories. >> reporter: taps, at the navy
memorial this morning for the 12 men and women who were gunned down at a place supposed to be safe. among them sylvia frasier, a civilian employee. >> my sister was a person who a was really giving, loving, truly give you the shirt off her back. >> reporter: ken proctor, civilian you tilled foreman leaved two teenage boys. his ex-wife said he loved them dearly. martin bodrog was 54. he is survived by his wife of 25 years and three daughters. 59-year-old michael arnold had been married for 30 years with two sons. at the navy, he helped to design amphibious ships. >> i am so proud of him. he has just been a really wonderful, wonderful son and a wonderful father and a wonderful husband. he is just -- i'm just proud of him. >> reporter: 62-year-old kathy gaarde was a financial analyst,
married for 38 years, her two children are grown. civilian employee john johnson was 73. he leaves his wife and four grown daughters. >> he is just such a man of joy. everywhere he goes, he brings joy. >> everybody has a smile on their face. >> the text i got said he is up in heaven giving a bear hug to all the angels. >> reporter: there is also 51-year-old mary francis knight, 5 2-year-old richard ridgell, frank kohler, arthur daniels, 58-year-old gerald read, and vishnu pandit, a husband, father and grandfather, who loved his family and his dog. and his job. >> he loved the navy. he has devoted his life to the navy for 30-plus years. >> reporter: 12 lives lived fully and stolen in one senseless moment. tom costello, nbc news, washington.
from this terrible tragedy this almost unbearable loss in washington, we turn now once again to this desperate situation we have been covering in the state of colorado where nearly a week in now, the full scope of the damage is just now coming to light. and tonight, we are getting our first look at some of the places cut off entirely from the rest of the world as the search for hundreds of people still missing continues. our national correspondent, kate snow, is in boulder, colorado, again for us tonight. kate, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the rescue missions continue tonight and throughout the state of colorado and so many places. this is the reality for folks as they start cleaning up water-logged belongings realizing just how much they've lost. as the water recedes, the scope of the damage left behind is hard to overstate. just look at the broken roads, the debris, nearly a week in there are still people who need help. these women put out a white
cross to draw an army helicopter to them this afternoon. >> i have two ladies coming up. >> reporter: the latest in a long line of rescues. >> got nowhere else to go. >> reporter: these two are now living at life bridge christian church in longmont. they had just gotten back into their home after a forest fire but were forced to evacuate when the floods hit. >> i know it washed out the road all the way down. i was six miles up that canyon. so how long can it take, you know, to repair to road? >> there has been story after story after story of people who just struggled to get here, and then when they get here just almost that collapse of -- that i'm safe. that it's going to be okay. and it is not going to wash away. >> reporter: all across colorado, fema is trying to assess the damage. in boulder the cleanup continues. mud and water runed this lower level. so this was just the water line? >> this is the water line, the
high water mark there is about five feet. >> reporter: in evans, the smell is more powerful than the pictures. health officials warn people not to even touch the water, worried about water-borne illnesses, and contaminants like oils and sewage. many farms in colorado were devastated. this family moved more than 200 cows to higher ground, but still estimate the flooding and loss of businesses will cost them $300,000. >> it will be months before we get everything back here. >> reporter: with winter coming, it will likely be at least a year before 50 bridges across the state are repaired. a long road ahead to fix all the broken roads. kate snow, nbc news, boulder, colorado. >> reporter: this is miguel almaguer. from boulder to james town, the commute used to take 20 minutes. now three hours. today the roads don't just end, they vanish. this road is completely impassable. half of it has been completely washed out. in the thin mountain air, the only way in is to hike.
this road actually goes into jamestown. it's a complete disaster. jamestown has been washed away. a third of it gone. what's left is eerily quiet except for that thunderous roar, the james creek cuts this town in half. what it didn't swallow, it now divides. >> it's the same from the beginning of town to the end of town. just devastated. >> reporter: the mayor, one of 40 who stayed behind, showed us main street. now a quarter mile of debris. >> it's unreal. you see it happen in other communities. and you don't ever think it is going to happen to yours. >> reporter: anne braylor will never forget this flood. the slide took this man's life. chad drosty says the national
guard saved him. he was one of 250 air-lifted to safety. now he's back to stay. >> there is nothing that could drive from from this area. i love it up here. >> reporter: tonight, jamestown, like many other communities, has been brought to its knees. >> we'll be okay. >> reporter: a town that promises to rise again. miguel almaguer, nbc news, jamestown, colorado. >> our thanks after a three-hour trek to miguel almaguer, kate snow reporting before that. officials in new jersey zlarmds of the fire that took out four blocks of boardwalk in seaside park last thursday. blamed on electrical wiring underneath the boardwalk which sustained damage from sand and salt water during hurricane sandy. some of the wires were buried in this sand under existing construction and were not inspected after sandy. the boardwalk section that burned there was old. while the businesses above were
reopened this summer, the infrastructure was not rebuilt. investigators emphasize they found nothing suspicious and offered inspections for other surviving business owner. new evidence today that tens of millions of americans are stuck, five years now after the death of the great american recession. new data out from the u.s. census bureau is showing us more than 46 million living below the poverty line. by the way, the poverty line is considered $23,500 a year for a family of four. more than one in five americans in poverty are children. needy and household income, that is the exact mid-point, about the same as last year, a little more than $51,000, still more than 8% less than before the recession hit. so as part of our reporting series on poverty that we call "in plain sight" we get our report from john yang. >> reporter: ben and sue in
naperville, illinois, have taken an abrupt turn in the last year. they both lost their jobs. >> i came home and said remember how things couldn't get worse when you got laid off? she said yeah, i said well, things just got worse, i got laid off. >> reporter: the solidly middle class two-income household became a no-income household. once volunteers at the local food bank, they became clients. >> i didn't tell people. i told only my closest friends. >> reporter: ben is working again, packing ties, but they have gone to an income of $150,000 to $30,000. >> we just have to live a different lifestyle for right now at least. >> reporter: their situation highlights the recovery haves and have nots. in 2012 the top 5% of households, those making more than $191,000 took in about as much as they did before the recession. but the other 95% made less. that is reflected at the local food bank.
has the recovery meant you've gone back to where you were before the recession? >> nowhere close. families that are still in need of services are coming and staying for a longer period of time. >> reporter: for now, this family is using savings to hold onto their house. they're no longer embarrassed to admit what the recession did to them. >> now i let people know. because if something happens to any of our friends we can help them and tell them where to go. >> reporter: an expertise they would rather not have. >> all right, see you later. >> reporter: john yang, nbc news, naperville, illinois. and still ahead here on our broadcast tonight, the danger discovered in the water that prompted one community to shut down drinking fountains and swimming pools. and later, a man dangling from a burning building and the man who acted with no time to think.
a lot of people in the new orleans area are wondering tonight whether their drinking water is truly safe after the discovery of a deadly parasite in the water supply. it has led to extreme measures. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. according to the cdc, this is the first time this germ has been found in a treated u.s. water supply. and for the 43,000 residents of st. bernard parish, it certainly is a worry. at the elementary school here in st. bernard parish, the water fountains are being shut down, water bottles handed out. and the pools are closed. a recent discovery of this brain-eating amoeba was found in the drinking water.
>> most of this disease is found after swimming in the fresh water lakes during the summer. it latches onto a nerve in the nose and crawls up the nerve, goes to the brain where it causes extensive damage, usually resulting in death. >> reporter: even though the infection is not contracted by drinking or bathing in the water, they started flushing the water system with extra chlorine last month after drake smith from mississippi died after ingesting the amoeba through his nose. he was later tested and found positive for carrying the germ. >> it is something that occurs here. it is here, we know that much. >> reporter: since 1962, there have only been 132 documented cases of this infection in the u.s. and so far just two survivors. 12-year-old kelly harding was one of them. despite assurances, the water in st. bernard parish is safe,
residents are nervous. >> i mean, we use water for everything. >> would you feel comfortable getting in the pool? getting a shower? i wouldn't. >> reporter: health officials say it could take weeks before the water system is completely clear. and until then they're urging caution. >> we really want to avoid any water going up the nose, head, under the water until this whole remediation and chlorine flushing is done. >> reporter: and of course, st. bernard parish is one of the harder-hit areas during katrina. because of that, state health officials say they're looking into the empty lots where the water supply is sitting in the sun uncirculating whether that contributed to the growth of this germ. so far the cdc says they are unaware of any connection. >> katie, thank you. when we return we'll have a look at a member of the royal family on ice.
recorded over a 19-hour period shows a slow-motion moving engineering marvel. the costa concordia has been sitting on its side, since scraping bottom 20 months ago. now beginning the huge salvage effort to remove it all. the bodies of two passengers have been trapped in that wreckage since the accident which killed 32 people in all. big trouble tonight in mexico, hit on both of its coast by two storms. hurricane ingrid caused heavy damage on the coast andman weal flooded the airport, blocking highways, stranding tens of thousands of tourists. local reports say much of the stow right now is without power and water. then there is great britain's prince harry who spent the night in a freezer on purpose. he is training for a 15-day, 200 mile expedition to the south
finally tonight, war heroes are recognized by their country for those moments when all appears lost. those moments when it's them or no one else and they act in complete disregard to their own safety. on an otherwise quiet street in new york city yesterday there was one of those moments. and there was one of those people who just had to act. and tonight another man is alive because of it. >> reporter: he was a construction worker working alone in an empty apartment. something sparked a fire and it was moving fast and it was clear as a neighbor recorded video from across the street, it was clear he couldn't last long in that window. it was getting hot and there was too much smoke. down below, someone gets a
ladder, a potential lifeline to that window. but it seems to take forever. also below, a city firefighter is visible, part of the first unit to arrive with others on the way. on the fire escape across the way, a building worker named galdencio portio briefly considers perching on a bin doe sill to save the desperate man who then decides when the smoke gets too hot, he must get out. with sirens in the background, that's when things start to move quickly. portio walks four stories above ground and saves the man, the ladder holds as the two men hold onto each other. and moments later when we see flames visible in the window, it is clear we have just witnessed an act of bravery we'd all like to think we'd be capable of in that same moment. incredible. the man who was rescued was hospitalized, but is expected to recover. portio denies he is a hero, but a lot of new yorkers would beg to differ.
that is our broadcast on this tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we of course hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. the breaking news in is in oakland. the child a victim of a senseless crime. good evening and thanks for joining us. >> police say there was a drive-by shooting this evening. now, initial reports came in right before 5:00 saying that two people in two cars had exchanged shots with each other at intersection of east 17th and 27th avenue near the new hope covenant church and a little sprouts pre-school. what we're hearing is the child may have been injured. luckily only by broken glass. initially those calls came in differently.
at this point we're not completely sure of the extent of the child's injuries, but there are no reports of any other children or adults being charged. we have a crew on the way and more information available for you as soon as it becomes available. >> new at 6:00, american and california state flags flying outside government buildings, but what about the flag of china? an east bay city council has given the go-ahead to fly the flag outside city hall beginning next month. kimberly terry joins us from san leandro this evening for an explanation. >> reporter: october 1st is china's national day. it's also the day the city council here in san leandro says it plans to hoist that nation's flag right here in front of its city hall where the city flag would usually be. this decision has caused uproar among human right activists upset about the message they say this city is sending. >> san leandro is a beautiful place. >> reporter: council member benny lee made the controversial proposal to fly china's flag
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