tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC November 14, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
tonight. that's turned the tides from a small break this morning. we'll track more of this coming up. >> we will. thanks for joining us here at 5:00. >> hope to see you at 6:00. breaking news tonight. a desperate search in california. more bodies found in the ash and rubble. many still unaccounted for. tonight, families suing the power company, blaming them for the fire. also, new concerns over what's in the air. also breaking, stormy daniels' lawyer, michael avenatti, in police custody, arrested and held after an alleged domestic violence incident. we have late details. the accused parkland high school shooter ambushing an officer and grabbing his taser in a wild jail attack. a stunning cold case arrest and a chilling twist tonight. could this suspected serial killer be responsible for up to 90 murders? an nbc news investigation.
you have to see what we found, people living in horrific, dangerous conditions, and their landlords collecting major taxpayer money. a murder in paradise. a young american celebrating a birthday, robbed and killed, his family devastated. >> it's like, this can't be happening. this can't be true. >> tonight, a warning for families. new concerns about a popular vacation spot. and flying motorcycles taking flight. hover bikes are here, but are they safe, and would you get one? >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening to our viewers in the west. a desperate search is on tonight in california for the dozens of people who are still unaccounted for as two massive wildfires rage in opposite ends of the state. the death toll has now surged to at least 51. and as investigators are still trying to pinpoint the cause, there are new concerns surfacing this evening over potentially toxic smoke. nbc news national correspondent miguel almaguer starts us off
from the fire zone. >> reporter: tonight in the smoldering mountains outside los angeles, a grim discovery, the 51st body in a skyrocketing statewide death toll. with more than 9,000 structures torched, most in northern california, many are still unaccounted for. carol hack's son been missing for more than a week. >> i don't know what i'm going to do. >> reporter: people in fire in paradise filing suit against pacific electric, the company they flame for sparking the fire, while investigators have not yet determined the cause. if found liable, the utility says it could face financial trouble. meantime, in southern california, new questions. >> i think it's so serious that i'm afraid to think about it. >> reporter: melissa bumstadt is one of many residents who fears her family has been breathing toxic smoke for days after fire scorched part of
the santa susanna field lab contaminated with toxic chemicals. >> when the fire incinerated all the grass and the trees, that probably released a lot more contamination. >> reporter: but government officials say testing shows the air is safe. some doctors and advocates call that a smoke screen. >> smoke from any brush fire is dangerous to inhale. in this case, with these added very hazardous elements, it makes it far more dangerous. >> reporter: tonight, in hard-hit communities, new questions and worry, even after the firestorm has passed. this is the area where the most recent body was discovered. firefighters say it could take days, even weeks, to look for the missing in this area. lester, there is no question, the death toll will rise. >> miguel almaguer, thank you. tonight, snow is falling in parts of the south and midwest, claiming two lives in a tour bus crash. that system, combined with rain in the southeast, is expected to form into a powerful winter storm. snow, sleet, and ice forecast from arkansas
to pennsylvania, starting this evening, while the northeast corridor is bracing for snow and a travel nightmare tomorrow. al roker is tracking the threat. >> reporter: tonight, dangerous, icy conditions sending a tour bus sliding off an overpass bridge in desoto county, mississippi, just south of memphis, killing two and leaving dozens more injured, according to authorities. this part of the first major winter blast slamming the south, midwest, and northeast with ice and snow at the start of the holiday travel rush. in monroe, louisiana, snow in november breaking a 68-year-old record. eastern arkansas, memphis seeing snow and slick roads as well, while preps are under way in st. louis and indiana. both cities could see record accumulations. winterlike weather making an early mark. from arkansas to new england, we're talking about 85 million people at risk for some sort of winter weather watch, warning, or advisory. here's what we look
for, as far as snowfall accumulations through friday. anywhere from 6 to 8 inches of snow back through the midwest and heavy snow through central pennsylvania, upstate new york, and on into new england, and dangerous ice that could bring down trees and cause power outages, lester. as you can see, this is a dangerous situation and a lot of airport and road delays through the weekend. back to you. >> all right, al, thank you. more breaking news tonight. michael avenatti, stormy daniels' lawyer and one of president trump's biggest antagonists, is in police custody for alleged domestic violence. let's get more from pete williams. pete? >> lester, police in los angeles say tonight that avenatti has been arrested after they received a complaint of a domestic violence incident on tuesday, but he says it's baseless. avenatti's estranged wife says through her lawyer that she was not the victim. he filed for divorce from her last year. a frequent guest on cable tv, avenatti has represented stormy daniels, who claimed to have a sexual relationship with donald trump, something the president has
repeatedly denied. avenatti has been a persistent critic of the president's, often trading barbs with him on twitter, and former trump lawyer michael cohen. avenatti's also exploring a possible run for the white house himself in 2020. he calls this domestic violence accusation bogus, says he's never been abusive and says it's fabricated to harm his reputation. lester? >> thank you, pete. now to a wild attack in jail. the teen accused of the massacre at stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida, now accused of ambushing an officer, even grabbing his taser. nbc's kerry sanders has details. >> reporter: accused marjory stoneman douglas high school shooter nikolas cruz back in court today after a stunning turn of events, allegedly attacking a guard in jail. according to an affidavit, wednesday afternoon a deputy guarding cruz told him not to drag his sandals on the ground while walking. instead, cruz responded by displaying his middle finger, rushed the deputy, and struck him in the face and hit him repeatedly. investigators say it
was all recorded on a closed-circuit camera at the broward county jail, including cruz grabbing the deputy's taserlike device, like this one, before the deputy got it back. andrew pollack's daughter, meadow, was among the 17 killed in the high school shooting. today reacting to word deputies eventually got the upper hand on cruz. >> the officers should have finished what he started. that's what they should have done, and they had their opportunity last night. >> reporter: tonight, nikolas cruz still in jail in solitary confinement. kerry sanders, nbc news, ft. lauderdale. prosecutors in texas say a man they have in custody convicted of murder has confessed to at least 90 other murders across the country. if true, he would be among the most prolific killers in u.s. history. here's nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: sitting in a texas jail, 78-year-old samuel little, who the d.a. says confessed to killing denenie christie brothers in
odessa in 1994, but that confession may be just one of many. >> he's confessed to over 90 murders in this country and over 30 of those have been confirmed so far. >> reporter: little, also known as samuel mcdowell, is currently serving three life sentences for strangling three women in the los angeles area in the late '80s, but he's allegedly confessed to dozens of murders from 1970 to 2005, in at least a dozen states. now investigators from texas to indiana to arizona who have interviewed little are considering their own cases. >> he may be a serial killer, but when you start to talk numbers that run into almost three digits, then i think we need a healthy dose of skepticism. >> reporter: if little is responsible for 90 murders, as he claims, it would make him among the deadliest serial killers in u.s. history. tom costello, nbc news, washington. at the white house late today, president trump threw his support behind a deal to implement the biggest criminal justice reform this nation has seen in a generation. let's get more now
from nbc's hallie jackson. >> hello, everybody. >> reporter: president trump showcasing what would be the most sweeping prison reform agreement in decades. and if it passes, one of the biggest bipartisan laws of his administration. >> americans from across the political spectrum can unite around prison reform legislation that will reduce crime while giving our fellow citizens a chance at redemption. >> reporter: the deal would loosen restrictions on certain federal mandatory minimum sentences, give judges more discretion to sentence people who've committed minor crimes in the past, and extend a 2010 law that could help federal drug offenders serving disproportionately long sentences. >> we're just putting a lot of people in jail for a long period of time who i think need to be back out on the streets working. >> reporter: the rollout comes exactly a week after jeff sessions was fired as attorney general. he opposed many of these changes, and so do a handful of conservative lawmakers. >> color me doubtful. >> reporter: the white house points to support from law
enforcement groups like the fraternal order of police, dozens of celebrities also back the plan, including kanye west. the president's billing this agreement as bipartisan, but no democrats appeared at tonight's event. as for timing, republican leaders suggest it may not come up for a vote until early next year. lester? >> hallie jackson, thanks. now to the border, where defense secretary mattis is with thousands of troops, demanded by president trump, amidst concerns about that caravan of migrants and refugees. the president not talking much about the caravan since the election. here's hans nichols. >> reporter: defense secretary jim mattis on the border getting progress reports and giving pep talks. >> one thing about the u.s. army, we give you a mission, you'll do it, right? >> reporter: preparing his troops to dig in for the holidays as they wait for the caravan of migrants and refugees still one week away from tijuana. >> we want legal immigration. that's part of what makes america good. but illegal, we're going to carry out the law. >> reporter: mattis touring with the
embattled homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen, insisting the nearly 6,000 troops are mostly unarmed and won't apprehend migrants. the president has all but stopped talking about the caravan after daily warnings in the lead-up to the election. >> i think you can't call it anything but a stunt here. >> reporter: troops won't get combat pay, but some will receive an additional $250 a month for being away from their families. hans nichols, nbc news. ahead of the holiday travel season, a warning from a family searching for answers after the murder of their son in mexico. the homicide rate there has skyrocketed, and the state department is urging tourists to be cautious. let's get more from gabe gutierrez. >> reporter: tonight, taylor meyer's family is devastated. >> this can't be happening! this can't be true. >> reporter: his mother in california reeling. her 27-year-old son was visiting playa del carmen to celebrate a friend's birthday when he was stabbed to death. >> three people attacked him, stabbed
secretary ben carson, the number of families living in squalled conditions in federally subsidized housing has risen significantly while landlords pocket millions in taxpayer money. here's stephanie gosk. >> reporter: the rain's coming from the roof down through here, dripping and into these buckets. these walls are the only thing standing between walter thomas, his wife, sarah, and homelessness, but the entire apartment complex in hartford, connecticut, is falling apart, leaving families to deal with mold, roaches, rodents, even a collapsed ceiling. erica pierre is getting her college degree and lives here with her daughter. >> i don't want her to become an adult and live her life like this. >> reporter: last february, this property failed a federal inspection by hud. the landlord was supposed to make repairs. but in the months since, the city of hartford has found dozens more violations. yet, every month, a check for $1,120 for
each three-bedroom unit, most of it paid by u.s. taxpayers, goes to a company run by this man, eli fish. in the past two years, nearly $1.5 million. the problem is nationwide and growing. nbc news analysis of hud records has found more than 1,000 properties currently with failing grades. that's more than 40,000 families living in substandard conditions. and then there are properties like this one, which passed hud inspection, even though it was infested with mice. resident terry morrison says her landlord never made the repairs, and instead of taking action, hud kept giving him more time. >> and then after that, then they would give him an extension. >> reporter: and then another extension? >> exactly. then his lawyers would get involved, then there would be another extension. >> reporter: and that's how the months start to go -- >> pile up to years. >> reporter: after a year and a half of persistent problems and pressure from tenants, hud finally canceled the contract. when residents at this hartford building
complained about holes in the ceilings, hud officials agreed to meet, then vented their own frustrations. the tenants recorded it. >> the system is, is broken. we just don't have the staff for it. >> there's 432 properties in connecticut alone, and i have five staff. >> reporter: under housing secretary ben carson, hud has shed more than 480 staff out of 8,000. >> there's no accountability in the process. >> reporter: local activists say hud does not have a firm grip on what's happening on the ground. for an unethical landlord, this is a boondoggle. you're going to get that check every month, and hud's not there to stop you. >> it's not only possible, but it's considered legal and passable and acceptable by hud. >> reporter: so, what do landlords like eli fish have to say? mr. fish, i'm with nbc news. can i talk to you about the -- >> not right now. >> reporter: the position of the -- >> i'm going to call you later, okay? >> reporter: i've been trying to get in touch
with you for quite some time, and i know you said you were going to call me back. secretary carson declined to be interviewed, but a spokesperson said he has launched a review of the inspection process, and "the secretary believes very deeply that families should not be forced to live in housing that's unsafe and taxpayers shouldn't be subsidizing it." >> i feel like i'm stuck, stagnated, can't get out. i don't have any control at all over any of this. >> lester, hud says the number of failed properties has gone up because they've been doing tougher infections, but it doesn't explain why these landlords are allowed to keep their mul multimillion dollar contracts. >> all right, stephanie, thanks. also tonight, they're right out of a movie. hover bikes are here, but are they safe? we'll take a closer look. then, the mystery winner of nearly $350 million now revealed. the y jardiance asked: when it comes to managing your type 2 diabetes,
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next tonight, the future has arrived. you can finally order your very own hover bike, but it will cost you, and just how safe are they? here's nbc's jo ling kent. >> reporter: tonight, vehicles that were once pure science fiction, like in "return of the jedi," could soon be a reality. california-based hover surf says it's delivering these hoverbikes next year. they're powered by four propellers and go about 45 miles an hour, zooming 16 feet above the ground. >> it's like a motorcycle, but the motorcycle flies like a drone. >> reporter: but at $150,000, the thrill doesn't come cheap. in dubai, police are already getting trained on the hoverbikes, and the competition will be fierce. kitty hawk corporation developing these, and uber even promising flying taxis. the faa believes hoverbikes could be subject to experimental aircraft regulation. how safe are these? >> well, we don't know the safety rate of
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sounds like -- >> the same person. >> -- the same person. >> they like to say they were wombmates, brittani and brandi jackson, identical twin sisters born in, of all places, twinsburg, ohio, raised in a working-class family. >> we would have like a bug hospital. we did science experiments. >> we did. >> both star students who came to the same realization. >> doctors are a thing that we pictured, and it's not us. >> and i think when i saw a black female doctor, that's when it just stopped me. >> they both went to medical school, for the first time splitting up. >> we said, brandi -- >> we have to do this. >> we are agreeing. >> no matter what. >> they came back together at the university of illinois at chicago, each a chief resident, dr. brandi jackson in psychiatry, dr. brittani jackson in family medicine. >> hi, there. >> reporter: while these twins still talk to each other in their made-up childhood
language -- -- they practice medicine with a purpose, to help the underserved. >> do you have any allergies to anything? >> and through their website, medlikeme, change the face of medicine. >> i think a doctor looks like us, and that's really cool. >> no need for a second opinion on that. >> what a delightfulis it even we have the latest d right now at 6:00, is it even worse tonight? we have the latest data on our unhealthy air quality and the two things that could help clear the air. plus, they're moving in a grid formation through what was an entire town. we caught up with the workers tasked with finding bodies of those who lost their lives in the camp fire. but first we want to show you a live look in butte county. fire crews are about to give us an update from the burn zone, including the 103 people still missing at this hour.
the news at 6:00 starts right now. good evening and thanks for being with us. i'm raj mathai. >> and i'm jessica aguirre. searching through debris for more victims of california's eadeliest wildfire. 100 national guard troops joined the teams already scouring charred neighborhoods looking for remains. more than 1,000 evacuees are at more than a half dozen shelters. six days after this fire broke out in butte county. now, some people who lost their homes are already suing pg&e, accusing the utility of negligence and blaming it for the devastating blaze. pg&e, though, contends it is too soon to tell what started the fire. >> politics is always part of a natural disaster. today governor brown toured the burn zone with secretary of interior ryan zinke. they were stunned by what they saw, and they pledged state and federal cooperation to help the victims recover as quickly and as completely as possible. >> this is my fourth trip to california. unfortunately, every trip this
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