tv ABC World News ABC September 20, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
thank you for your time. next newscast is at 6:00. stay cool. welcome to "world news tonight." america's pope. as the u.s. gets ready, a festive welcome in cuba. but then this moment. a man dragged away from the popemobile. the pontiff's message for the communist nation. and the private meeting with fidel. gop shuffle. is frontrunner donald trump losing ground? carly fiorina's star rising. and tonight, the controversial statements from some candidates about muslims. sniper arrest. a suspect in a series of highway shootings, behind bars. police say he's linked to four attacks. but also warn copycats may still be out there. rv rescue. the motor home fireball. an unconscious woman trapped inside. and the hero who comes to the rescue. tonight, the survivors' story for the first time. and, garage hack.
the suspect sneaking into one family's home, taking off with their stuff. did he hack his way inside? and is your home vulnerable? good evening. thanks for joining us on this sunday. i'm tom llamas. we begin with the pope's historic visit to the new world. the united states, beginning on tuesday. but first, a visit to cuba. pope francis, crowds cheering him. traveling a sea of cuban and vatican flags. and speaking in spanish, his homily, a message to the people of cuba to focus on service, not ideology. here's terry moran. >> reporter: good evening, tom. powerful scenes here. pope francis in revolution square, the symbolic heart of the communist party. a simple man of faith, preaching a very different kind of revolution. they greeted him like a brother,
the first latin american pope. as he made his way through the throngs who reached out to him, hundreds of thousands. a giant cuban flag and the image of che guevara, the atheist revolutionary hero, towering above it all. the heat was smothering. but no matter, nothing would dampen their enthusiasm, or their faith. pope francis celebrated the mass. and in his homily he offered perhaps an indirect, gentle chiding of the communist government here. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: "christians are constantly called to set aside their own wishes and desires, their pursuit of power," he said, "and to look instead to those who are most vulnerable." in the front of the crowd, we found hundreds of kids. how was it? how was it to see the pope? "i'm excited! i was like, hooray! it's the pope! we had a lot of fun!" the mood at this mass was jubilant and grateful, but cuban catholics remember that they
have kept their faith through decades of official discouragement and even repression of their religion. and it continues. even today, a protester desperate to reach the pope, drops to his knees. pulled away by security officers, two others join him. the pope calls him back, an urgent moment. and then the arrests. the pope continued on. and late in the day, he had a private meeting with fidel castro. the 89-year-old revolutionary and the pope who is shaking up the world, too. pope francis has one more full day here in cuba, will be traveling to two cities, and then it's on to the united states. just 90 miles across this water, but a world away. tom? >> terry, thank you. pope francis arrives here in the united states in less than 48 hours. he will visit the white house and speak to congress, and address the u.n. general
assembly in new york, then finally will go to philadelphia next weekend. security is a huge concern in those cities. 8,000 cameras in the new york command center. up to 5,000 officers will be on duty. the secret service training for every possible scenario. like you see here. even an attack on a motorcade. vigilance is high, but so is the excitement. here's cecelia vega. >> reporter: from washington. to philadelphia. to new york. the finishing touches now under way for pope francis' six-day, three-city tour. >> i feel like crying right now. it gives me a lot of hope. >> reporter: among those anticipating the historic first trip to the united states, these inmates, smoothing out the rough edges on the papal chair ahead of the pope's visit to their prison. >> it lets me know that somebody out there cares about us. >> reporter: and these nuns, working double shifts making more than 100,000 communion wafers. >> we've been preparing for the last couple of months. >> reporter: catholics like aaron ledesma eager to hear his message. he blogs about being openly gay and catholic.
the white house inviting him to be part of the papal audience on the south lawn. what message does that send? >> i think it shows how far we've come, not just the united states but the catholic church as well. >> reporter: we met philadelphia's mayor on those famous "rocky" steps, the backdrop for a papal mass. what's the first thing you're gonna tell him when you see him? >> welcome to philadelphia, thanks for coming. >> reporter: the papal visit, lifting spirits. >> when i say pope, you say francis! >> reporter: from stuffed popes, to pope bobbleheads. even, yes, that is a vatican made from legos. it is a full fledged pope-a-palooza. 10,000 free tickets were given away online to see the pope here, and they were gone in less than five minutes. how's that for popemania? tom? >> all right, thank you so much. next to the race for the white house. donald trump's colorful talk may be finally costing him. a new poll shows he's still up front, but losing ground.
while carly fiorina is becoming a contender. and the gop entering some rocky terrain. here's devin dwyer. >> reporter: tonight, questions of tolerance are testing the republican candidates. >> would i consider putting a muslim-american in my cabinet? absolutely no problem with it. >> reporter: how about a muslim for president? 60% of americans say they'd support it. >> i mean, that's such a hypothetical question. >> i absolutely would not agree with that. >> reporter: and what about the religion of president obama? >> i haven't raised the question. i don't talk about it and i don't like talking about somebody else's faith. >> he's born in the united states. he's a christian. >> reporter: the debate bursting back into the open this week at a rally for donald trump. >> we have a problem in this country, it's called muslims. >> reporter: a statement of intolerance that trump left unanswered for three days. >> most are fabulous. and i have friends that are muslims. >> reporter: while republicans grapple with diversity, democrats are shaming the gop. >> to play into some of the worst impulses that people have these days is just
irresponsible. it's appalling. >> what trump is doing is appealing to the baser instincts among us. xenophobia, and frankly, racism. >> reporter: for now, trump's still in the lead. but in a new cnn poll, he's losing ground. carly fiorina's now neck and neck with ben carson. while scott walker, once a frontrunner, now an asterisk. and democrats are having their own internal debate about authenticity. hillary clinton today in an interview declared that she's a "real person." as bernie sanders and joe biden with their big personalities, chip away at her support. tom? >> devin, thank you. in phoenix tonight, a major break in that highway shooting case. police are holding a suspect on a $1 million bond, but he's adamant they have the wrong guy. and authorities are warning, copycats may be taking aim. here's kayna whitworth. >> reporter: tonight, leslie allen merritt jr. behind bars, facing more than 20 felony charges in those phoenix highway shootings.
>> the suspect presents a dramatic and profound threat to the community. >> reporter: the 21-year-old, whose facebook postings frequently showed guns, insists authorities have made a mistake. >> all i have to say is that i'm the wrong guy. i tried telling the detectives that. >> reporter: the evidence, authorities say, a firearm they believe merritt sold to this pawn shop. >> the test-fired bullets were a match to bullet fragments from four cases over the last weekend in august. >> reporter: 8 of the 11 vehicles targeted struck by bullets, the others hit by projectiles, which police are still investigating as possible copycats. tonight, merritt's father says his son is innocent. >> if he committed a crime with a firearm, my son has more sense than to pawn said firearm, because it links directly back to you. >> reporter: in fact his son claims he pawned his gun two months ago. >> we have been living with the fear that someone may be shooting at traffic on i-10. >> reporter: just one person was injured in the shootings -- a 13-year-old girl after the window of the vehicle she was riding in shattered.
others, like bus driver robert mcdonald, had close calls. >> you never know if that day is going to be your last. >> reporter: police have not given this community the all-clear. in fact, many school buses still ordered to avoid freeways tomorrow while the investigation continues. merritt's next court appearance scheduled for september 25th. >> thank you. secretary of state john kerry is promising a bigger welcome to refugees from wartorn parts of the world. saying the u.s. will take in 85,000 next year, and 100,000 in 2017. that will not put an end to scenes like this in croatia. mary bruce in croatia tonight. >> reporter: as europe struggles for a solution, tonight more lives lost. on the greek island of lesbos, this young syrian refugee, one
of 13 to die when their boat capsized. forced to zig-zag from one country to another, with no clear path. near the croatian border in serbia, thousands coming night and day. >> there's absolutely no plan. and as european leaders continue to dither with quotas, refugees are voting with their feet. >> reporter: croatia now pushing refugees out through neighboring nations. they've bused thousands to the border, saying they have no more room. and in a surprise move, hungary is reopening their border. this woman, overcome with relief. hungary is moving them through quickly to austria. and this man, has been traveling for ten days. how about for the baby? any food, water, formula? he says they've had nothing today. his journey so difficult, he says he would rather go back to syria than face this crisis.
mary bruce, abc news, on the serbian/croatian border. >> mary, thank you. and take a look at this. an rv fully engulfed in flames, rolling backwards. setting fire to cars and power lines. there was someone inside that burning rv as well. linzie janis has more. >> i need help, and quick. >> reporter: tonight a couple is recovering after making it out of this blistering inferno. joe salce and brenda jelley were driving their rv through pennsylvania. >> all of a sudden smoke started rolling out of the back of the motor home. >> reporter: salce managing to pull over and get out. jelley going back inside to find their cat gumball. >> the smoke was so thick, i fell to the ground, started feeling for her. >> reporter: that's when christopher chmielnicki came to the rescue. the navy veteran risking his own life to save her. >> i ran inside, it was so toxic, i went to my knees, i
felt her leg. she was unconscious. so i picked her up. and i drug her all the way to the front of the rv. >> reporter: within seconds the rv rolling backward, setting fire to two other vehicles and taking out power lines. both the hero and victim are now out of the hospital after being treated for smoke inhalation. >> what he did was amazing. he's a hero in my world and in my family's world. >> reporter: the couple says they lost everything in the fire, including their life savings. but thankfully, they still have each other. linzie janis, abc news, new york. we want to turn now to a nasty battle brewing in a california neighborhood. at the center of it, a young boy with autism. tonight, his parents facing a lawsuit. here's neal karlinsky. >> reporter: in what otherwise looks like a quintessential american suburb, tonight neighbors are embroiled in an ugly battle. suing to declare a child with autism, who lived here, "a public nuisance." >> for us this case is not
really about autism as far as we're concerned. it's about the safety of our children. they were attacked on multiple occasions. >> reporter: the families who are suing say they don't blame the 11-year-old boy and they're not attacking autism. but they claim his parents didn't do enough to control their son and prevent him from hurting their young children. allegedly attacking them during a birthday party and repeatedly and at random while playing outside. >> all of the children here have witnessed so much violence. there was an increased fear in the kids. they didn't even want to step outside their house. >> reporter: the father of the boy who's being sued told the "san jose mercury news," "this has been pretty devastating for us, but we are doing our best to cope with it." they've since moved. autism advocates worry about possible backlash. >> i would hope the court doesn't rule against the family because that creates another barrier. that is not a solution. >> reporter: the family says they want damages for past abuse and assurances that the boy will be better supervised.
and even though the family and that boy have since moved, the lawsuit continues to go forward. tom? >> neal, thank you. still ahead on "world news tonight" -- caught on camera. this alleged burglar got away on this stolen bike. but how he got in is really scary. is your garage door safe? and later, trapped on a burning boat. the heroes that sped to the floating inferno. those stories, coming up.
tonight, new concerns raised by a small device that could help thieves gain easy access to homes. it's called a code grabber. if you use a remote control to open your garage door, you could be a perfect target. here's phillip mena. >> reporter: watch this surveillance video of an alleged bandit sneaking into a garage. >> my stomach flipped.
i was like, somebody is in my garage. >> reporter: moments later, the accused thief riding away on a bike. >> there's people walking around in the middle of the night, trying to see what they can get their hands on. >> reporter: but devin durst says it's not what they stole from him, but how they stole it. look in the man's hand. durst believes it's something he used to remotely open his garage. police are investigating the break-in. >> some kind of a clicker. he was ducking down to come in when it was raising up. >> reporter: experts say they're devices called code grabbers. to intercept the radio signal of your garage door opener. when, when you're gone, they use the code to open the door. >> i don't think people should be scared. for one thing, there will be a concerted effort to make it better. >> reporter: still, experts say it's wise to upgrade. >> you need to have a newer garage door opener that changes the code every time you use it. it's not impossible, but it makes it harder. >> reporter: phillip mena, abc news, new york.
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back now with our "index." she loved writing novels. dramatizing the lives of the rich and famous. and her millions of fans loved her for it. tonight, so many remembering author jackie collins. passing away in los angeles. the queen of turning racy fiction into best sellers. she was is sister of actress joan collins. she died of breast cancer. she was 77. now to a dramatic rescue off the coast of texas on a burning boat. a family of four on this yacht that went up in flames, two
nearby boats moved and and pulled the people from the water. luckily, no one was hurt. and this college football stunner. ole miss beating alabama. check this out. a key moment. this fluke of a touchdown play, ole miss quarterback chad kelly, throwing up a desperation ball. bounces off a helmet, into the arms of the receiver, who runs for a touchdown. ole miss wins, 43-37. huge upset. and saturday nights just won't be the same. the zany don francisco, saying good-bye to "sabado gigante," after 53 years. the world's longest-running variety show coming to an end last night. since 1963, 2,600 consecutive weeks on the air. not a single re-run. i spent lots of nights at my grandparents' house watching him perform. still ahead, this guy rarely
misses a game. the world war ii veteran that has a way with baseball fans. the picture that caught our attention. he says he hangs it up every day at the stadium. that story, coming up. i even accept i have a higher risk of stroke due to afib, a type of irregular heartbeat not caused by a heart valve problem. but i won't accept is getting out there with less than my best. so if i can go for something better than warfarin, i will. eliquis. eliquis reduced the risk of stroke better than warfarin, plus it had significantly less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis had both. that really mattered to me. don't stop taking eliquis unless your doctor tells you to, as stopping increases your risk of having a stroke. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop.
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if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or any symptoms of an allergic reaction, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a free 30-tablet trial. finally tonight, a world war ii veteran that just won't stop. he fought for this country, and now he's helping the mets fight for the pennant, one fan at a time.
he's there to help, but if you have a moment to talk, he has a story to tell. here's ron claiborne. >> how are you? >> hi, sergeant. >> reporter: i noticed him by chance. an usher at a mets game. a little older than most. then i saw a photo of a young man in an army uniform. same guy? he said yes. from world war ii. >> i post it every day. >> reporter: why? >> i like to show it off. >> reporter: 91-year-old luke gaspari has been an usher for almost as long as there's been a mets team. he started opening day, 1964. since then, he's worked roughly 3,000 games. >> it's a great job. it's outdoor. i enjoy the people. >> reporter: every game, he puts on his medals. the purple heart for a bullet wound to his hand. and the bronze star.
>> people say, is that you? yes, that's me. that starts the conversation. >> reporter: in his 52 years as an usher, he's seen it all. ♪ shake it up baby >> reporter: the beatles in 1965. the two mets world series championships. and two years ago, he was honored on the field by the team. >> luke gaspari. >> reporter: right now, the mets are in first place, with a good shot at the playoffs. and if they make it to the world series -- >> god willing, i'll be here. and you come up and see me. >> reporter: i think i will. ron claiborne, abc news, new york. >> we thank luke for his service. and we'll be looking for him. "gma" first thing in the morning. david muir will be right back here tomorrow night. i'm tom llamas in new york. have a great evening. good night.
digging deep. the incredibly successful fundraising effort to help valley fire survivors. selfless fortunates. some victims of the butte fire are the people working to save the homes of others. >> abc7 news at 6:00 starts right now. hello and thank you for joining us. today more people returned home after being forced out by the valley fire. fundraising efforts are underway to help the people who lost everything. cal fire says 888 structures have been destroyed. most homes. residents who are now back home in middletown have been told to boil their water for at least a minute.
the valley fire burn at least 75,000 acres. now 53% contained. up 5% from this time yesterday. today people in wine country pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars to help fire survivors. cornell bernard is live in healdsburg. >> reporter: it's remarkable how sonoma county is stepping up to show how generous they are. there's a barbecue happening and douglas is cook upping the same pulled pork sliders he makes for this restaurant. this time comp park is part of the recipe. >> think about going home and not having a home. >> reporter: he is getting his time along restaurant owners and wipemakers to win fit those who lost so much. >> my heart wives my families, and my home town. >> reporter: bonnie is volunteering her time days after her childhood home burn in the valley fire. she