tv NBC Nightly News NBC July 24, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
>> thanks for watching. tonight, the deadly movie theater rampage. chaos and carnage as a gunman opens fire on a packed crowd. tonight the innocent lives taken amid the remarkable and brave actions of two teachers. also mind of a killer. what nbc news has learned about the gunman's serious mental illness. his family's deep fears. and why his wife removed his guns. where did he get the weapon and why did he do it? the new air war. as wildfires explode, a growing danger in the fight for the pilots trying to douse the flames. drones now crowding the skies, costing firefighting planes precious time. and paying the price for the disastrous state of our roads and bridges. doing damage to your car. what it's costing you. "nightly news" begins right now.
>> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news with lester holt." reporting tonight from los angeles. good evening. how many times lately have we had to ask what on earth drives someone to open fire on and kill innocent strangers? sadly, we can add lafayette, louisiana to the long list of communities now left to struggle with that question. it was there that 59-year-old john houser may have taken some of the answers to his grave last night, killing himself right after he shot and killed two people and wounded nine others inside a crowded movie theater. but today details of houser's troubled mental history and the deep worries expressed by his family began to emerge filling in at least some of the blanks. we begin our coverage with nbc news national correspondent miguel almaguer. >> reporter: this was the scramble to save lives. the victims carried away nine injured, two
dead. what began as a thursday night at the movies. >> there was chaos everywhere. sirens. >> reporter: 20 minutes into a comedy horror. a lone gunman abruptly stood up and opened fire with a handgun. police say he sprayed the theater with 13 shots. >> we see a middle-aged woman lying down on the curb with blood coming out of her leg. >> reporter: police arrived within a minute. they say the gunman tried to blend in with the crowd, saw officers turned back into the theater, then killed himself. >> he intended to escape after he did this shooting. his car was parked right outside an emergency exit to the theater he was in. >> reporter: the shooter is 59-year-old john rusty houser a drifter from phenix city alabama. he has been staying at the local motel 6, where police say they found disguises including wigs and glasses. the gunman appears to have posted numerous radical comments on a range of topics including lone wolf acts of violence. in 2008 houser's family asked for a
protective order. in court documents obtained by nbc news his wife said he had a history of mental issues i.e. manic depression and/or bipolar disorder. exhibited extreme erratic behavior. in a police report houser's wife said she removed all the guns from their house. "he should not have one unless he obtained it illegally." >> the lafayette police department is trying to find something that says why did he walk in that theater? >> reporter: victims ranged in age from their teens to their 60s. the two dead both women, didn't know each other. 21-year-old mayci breaux a student who worked in a local clothing store. today her younger sister said she was her rock. >> she taught me how to be the strong person that i am today. she taught me tonnot to care what other people think and taught me how to be a good person. >> i'm jillian johnson. >> reporter: 33-year-old jillian johnson, a musician and a mom, owned a local boutique.
today a growing memorial at her store. >> i think that jillian was a true example of the best that lafayette has to offer. >> reporter: amid the tragedy stories of heroism. two teachers injured in the shooting. one shielded her friend from gunfire while the other managed to pull a fire alarm. one act of bravery in the chaos and bloodshed. with one person still in critical condition we now know the gunman after leaving the theater tried to reload his weapon then killed himself inside. a sheriff in alabama says he did apply for a concealed permit years ago that was denied. but just last year the atf says he legally purchased his gun in alabama. lester. >> all right, miguel thank you. at the first report of last night's mass shooting inside a movie theater, a lot of us probably had the exact same thought. please not again. the stories of people randomly shot by a lone gunman have become all too familiar. and so too are the questions and the soul
searching that follow. with that here's national correspondent peter alexander. >> reporter: after last night's violence if someone asks about the movie theater shooting the response could be which one? right now a colorado jury is deliberating whether james holmes should face the death penalty for killing a dozen people during this movie theater massacre three years ago. it's deja vu for the parents of victim jessica gowey. >> at what point are we saturated or numb? >> we have mass murders every week now. i mean come on. let's do something. >> reporter: across america dozens of mass shootings since the newtown elementary school massacre in 2012. at a church a school a military recruiting center. just hours before last night's shooting president obama told the bbc that the failure to pass tougher gun safety laws has been the greatest frustration of his presidency. >> if you look at the number of americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it's less
than 100. if you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence it's in the tens of thousands. >> reporter: but a pew research poll shows more americans now support gun rights than gun control. the louisiana killer john houser not only had a gun but a history of mental illness. court documents show houser's family tried to get him treated for bipolar disorder, committing him to a hospital against his will in 2008 as a danger to himself and others. but that was only a temporary solution. >> you have individuals who aren't getting the treatment they need. you're having individuals fall through the system, fall through the cracks. >> reporter: now john houser joins a line-up of mass shooters with mental illness that wasn't sufficiently treated. peter alexander, nbc news washington. here in the west a wildfire season already made worse by persistent drought conditions facing an emerging complication. aerial drones operated by hob yifts. even when operated legally, we've seen
them pose a real danger to low-flying firefighting aircraft. now efforts are under way to update laws to keep pace with this growing threat. nbc's hallie jackson shows us what's at stake. >> reporter: a dangerous new battle is unfolding high above the front line. >> we are trying to get this thing situated p. >> reporter: against drones interfering with aircraft like at this california wildfire, where frustrated dispatchers tried to navigate around five of them. >> i've got aircraft all over the place, can't do anything with it. >> reporter: for 26 crucial minutes with no air support cars burned. >> we've got a drone south of the fire. >> reporter: and at this fire flames crept closer to eight homes as a drone made it too dangerous for pilots to stay in the air. from this perspective it's clear why fire crews don't want drones around. >> during an air attack the choppers the planes are possibly coordinating to support their ground crews. having a hobby drone flying around could be dangerous or even deadly. >> if you have a drone in the sky and we
ground aircraft unfortunately homes can be destroyed, lives can be lost and firefighters can be killed. >> reporter: this year drone incidents reported nationwide are prompting a flurry of proposed laws to crack down on people who fly them collecting dramatic footage like this video posted by someone who says he checked with fire crews first, calling himself the drone doctor. his real name is tony bauer. he wants his fellow drone pilots to be responsible. >> all it takes is one bad apple to sensationalize things and make all drones appear to be bad. it's a tool. if you use a tool correctly, it can be used for a lot of good. >> reporter: drones can fly where manned aircraft cannot like in thick smoke or at night. researchers in alaska are testing the technology at wildfires there using infrared to map hot spots. >> a decade from now it'lling on every fire truck, without question. >> reporter: but for now the danger from drones yet another threat on the fire lines. hallie jackson, nbc
news winters, california. the controversy over hillary clinton's e-mails came roaring back to the headlines today. word that the justice department is considering a request from government inspectors to open an investigation into whether classified information was relaid in her private e-mail account. nbc's kristen welker has details. >> maybe the heat is getting to everybody. >> reporter: hillary clinton today trying to downplay the latest questions about her use of a private e-mail account as secretary of state. >> i have released 55,000 pages of e-mails. i have said repeatedly that i will answer questions before the house committee. >> reporter: but she dodged the issue at hand. two inspectors general have asked the justice department to investigate whether anyone mishandled sensitive government information related to her e-mail. the day began with reports of a possible criminal
investigation. the justice department later corrected itself writing "the department has received a referral related to the potential compromise of classified information. it is not a criminal referral." inspectors general for the state department and intelligence agencies requested the inquiry, saying they were concerned that there were potentially hundreds of classified e-mails within the 30,000 provided by former secretary clinton. clinton has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. >> i want those e-mails out. >> reporter: today the clinton campaign was forced to respond again. any released e-mails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact and not at the time they were transmitted. >> while they may have dodged a bullet here legally, politically this is a story that's just not going to go away. >> reporter: the inspectors general released a statement late today saying their concerns specifically involved counterintelligence issues and not criminal behavior. kristen welker nbc news new york. he is known for speaking directly but today senator ted cruz took that to a whole new level on the senate floor.
it was an extraordinary accusatory outburst against a member of his own republican party. the senate majority leader himself. cruz accused him of lying. nbc's kelly o'donnell has been following it all for us. hi kelly. >> reporter: hi lester. what happened on the senate floor was a stunner. republican presidential candidate ted cruz repeatedly called out his own republican leader for lying. now, that's something after years covering congress i haven't seen before because the senate floor is supposed to be one last zone of civility. now, cruz claims mcconnell had lied about how the senate would handle certain legislation conservatives oppose. >> i cannot believe he would tell a flat out lie. and i voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every one us. what we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every republican senator but what he told the press over and over and over
again was a simple lie. >> reporter: senator mcconnell isn't saying anything tonight. aides tell me cruz knows what he did was controversial but felt he had to speak out. lester? >> kelly o'donnell at the capitol. thank you. president obama is in kenya tonight, his first visit to his ancestral homeland. while there are lots of key issues on the official agenda this trip to africa is full of symbolism. our senior white house correspondent chris jansing is with the president and reports from nairobi. >> reporter: for six years since barack obama was elected president kenyans have been waiting for this moment his return to his ancestral homeland. a hug and a shy smile from an 8-year-old girl. crowds cheering his motorcade. and a family reunion that included his 93-year-old stepgrandmother. all before his first formal appearance tomorrow. >> i think it will be an incredibly powerful moment. this is a president whose grandfather was
a domestic servant for the british. now he's returning to kenya as president of the united states of america. >> reporter: preparations have been under way for weeks. flags, billboards and a half-million-dollar beautification project zubd obamacare. his dad's hometown got a makeover too. but unlike 2006 when he came here as a senator with his young family the largest security operation in kenyan history makes a visit there almost impossible. >> i think he wishes he could duck out and go around anonymous with a baseball cap, but that's probably not going to happen. >> reporter: what will happen meetings on counterterrorism economic development, and human rights. but towering over it all, the legacy of a father who left his family when barack obama was just 2, who he last saw when he was 10. a personal story rooted in kenya that the president says motivated him to succeed. >> and that's the point. he's lived the american dream that in a way no other has. >> reporter: late today the president tweeted he's proud to be the first american
president to come to kenya. and though not everyone's a fan, there are people who think he can and should do more for africa. in that small village where his father was born there are schools and streets and of course children named barack obama. lester? >> chris jansing in nairobi tonight. thanks. tonight chrysler has ordered a recall of over a million trucks and cars after hackers were able to take control of a jeep over the internet. that stunning video we showed you earlier this week. the company says it will update software to protect vehicles from being remotely controlled. we put a full list of the affected vehicles on our website. still ahead tonight, the disgraceful state of our roads and bridges crumbling across america. the new report about how much damage they're doing to your car. rough roads costing millions of drivers a small fortune. also he's been an icon to many fans for decades, but tonight the wwe has fired hulk hogan as a shocking i'm caridee. i've had moderate to severe plaque psoriasis most of my life.
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we're back now with the disastrous state of the nation's roads and bridges. a new report says more than a quarter of our highways and roads are crumbling. ravaged by potholes and neglect. costing damages big damage to their cars. >> the double lane closures will be in effect all day long. >> reporter: rush hour in america. >> we have a big, big delay. >> reporter: a daily ritual in dodging
divots and potholes deep huff to cost a fortune in repairs. among the biggest in america acourting to non-profit research nearly 3/4 of the roads in l.a. and san francisco. more than half the roads in detroit, san diego, new york and cleveland. more than 40% in new orleans, denver and seattle. the average annual repair bill 730 bucks in omaha, 917 in oklahoma city more than $1,000 in california. big business for repair shops but costly for tom waters' limo company. >> it's very expensive for us. we have nine vehicles. it's a multiplication many times on our expenses. >> reporter: perhaps the most iconic symbol of america's crumbling roads and bridges, washington's memorial bridge connecting arlington national cemetery with the lincoln memorial. this summer tour buses have been ordered off. >> you look at the level of corrosion. >> reporter: underneath the steel support beams are now too rusted to support the weight. chunks of concrete fall from the roadway above. >> all over the country we are facing
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superstar best known for his shirt-ripping rage and for calling everyone brother. >> this is what it's all about, brother. >> brother. >> brother. >> brother. >> brother. >> reporter: is now at the center of controversy for his use of another word. today the wwe announced they were dropping hogan after leaked excerpts from transcripts surfaced on tabloid sites reporting that hogan had used the n word in a racist rant caught during a sex tape which hogan's lawyer says was secretly recorded. in it hogan is reportedly heard complaining about his daughter's relationship with a man using the n word repeatedly. the wwe moved quickly, scrubbing hogan from the website and releasing a statement today saying they have terminated its contract and were committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds. today hogan said in a statement the conversation happened eight years ago and it was unacceptable for me to have used that offensive language. i am disappointed with myself. as a result i am resigning. and hogan merchandise will no longer be sold by an enterprise that
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finally tonight, it's likely to become an instant classic when it's released this coming tuesday. the new book by the late dr. seuss. written perhaps a half a century ago and lost for decades until it was recently discovered. as we hear from kristen dahlgren just how it was found is a story in itself. >> reporter: we now cat in the hat, the grinch fox in socks. but did you know dr. seuss left a surprise in a box? >> here we were sitting on a treasure. >> reporter: more than two decades after the death of ted geisel better known as dr. seuss, the author's long-time assistant and his widow found a manuscript tucked away in his office. their first call, seuss's long-time art director kathy goldsmith. >> i've seen what his materials looked like when he was in the process of working on a book. they were so clearly what i remember. and it was both nostalgic and
exciting. >> reporter: an entire book with text and line sketches of two familiar characters, the kids from "one fish two fish." >> look over there, said my sister kay. we can go home with the rabbit today. >> reporter: seuss probably wrote "what pet should i get" around 1960 and may have still been playing with the text. >> he often got sort of carried away with one idea and sort of put something else in the drawer. >> reporter: but all dusted off, it is classic dr. seuss. the quirky rhymes. the unmistakable artwork. and of course some unusual characters. >> do you think your parents would let you guys have a yent? >> no. >> reporter: like a lot of dr. seuss books, it has a message. about making hard choices. something goldsmith had to do when completing the book. while the line work was done dr. seuss never filled in the colors. she had to do that. >> i sure hope he'd like it. i think he would. >> reporter: but will readers like it? or will they be torn? >> did you guys like it? >> yeah!
>> reporter: if these are your critics -- >> we have to pick one. >> reporter: -- another classic is born. >> what pet should you get? >> reporter: kristen dahlgren nbc news la jolla, california. that will do it for us on this friday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. a. kylie jen ear's first time meeting caitlyn. >> hours before the most anticipated series of the year now on "extra." kylie and caitlyn.
>> hey, baby. >> the youngest jenner face to face with her father's new identity on sunday's "i am cait" premier. plus kourtney kardashianhian reunited with her ex scott disick. reconciliation rumors. >> blake shelton's mystery message to miranda. what he's really saying to his ex. movie theater horror show. new details on the deadly shooting during amy schumer's "train wreck." >> amy's first words about the tragedy. nicki minaj and taylor swift call a truce. the phone call that ended their twitter war. in today's star photo feed beyonce, brittany and heidi in bikinis. plus how many times tom cruise dodged disaster making mi-5. >> before you do that stuff could you call me? now on "extra" from universal studios hollywood the entertainment capital of l.a.