tv NBC Nightly News NBC February 20, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
>> there you are. >> comcast donated $10,000 to renaissance entrepreneur program. and our parent company is comcast. >> how fun. good night. on the broadcast tonight, subzero. 27 states with temperatures below zero. collapsing roofs, vital medical help delayed and a staggering toll on our economy from this deadly cold. lured by isis? worry tonight about three teenaged girls who may have slipped away to join a terror group and the race to find them. doubling down. rudy giuliani going even further in his claims president obama doesn't love america. tonight, the white house fires back. and the envelope, please. ahead of sunday's oscars the power player thanked more often than god. hollywood's biggest night. "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news."
reporting tonight, lester holt. good evening. tens of millions of people in the eastern half of the country woke up in the danger zone today. that rush of siberian air we were warned of came in with a vengeance. it's led to at least 25 deaths as temperatures have free fallen. in all, 27 states have seen below zero temperatures today. not the wind chill, the actual temperature. pelston, michigan, 35. frankfurt, kentucky, minus 21. lynchburg, virginia, 11 below. just some of the eye-watering lows. this season's unrelenting snowstorms now the waves of arctic cold are pushing people and all the things we depend on to the breaking point in so many places, and the danger is only increasing. we start in nashville tonight with nbc's gabe gutierrez. hello, gabe. >> reporter: lester, good evening. multiple crashes are being reported across nashville right now during the evening commute. earlier today we saw snow, right now sleet and later tonight freezing rain is expected. across the country more than 500 daily record lows have been broken this week.
record-shattering cold is spreading across the nation tonight. >> this is the worst i've ever seen. >> reporter: today, 21 states hit temperatures in the double digits below zero. lexington, kentucky negative 18 degrees. the city's coldest day in 21 years. cleveland saw negative 17, the city's coldest february day ever. flint, michigan, negative 25 degrees. wind chills today well below zero triggered massive water main breaks in nashville. 18 people in tennessee have died during this cold blast. >> it's heart wrenching for our responders. we're doing the best that we can. >> reporter: today we rode along with ems. >> we can't get to people. that's our problem. >> reporter: this week a dialysis patient died before help could arrive. today, as more snow fell more trouble on the way to a car accident. the icy roads slowed down this state trooper who had engine trouble, blocking this ambulance before it could reach the crash scene. further south even florida is fighting the freeze.
42 degrees this morning. that bitter cold already threatened next year's citrus crop, those florida oranges. >> once the ice gets inside and the actual juice content inside starts to ice over, then the actual quality goes down. >> reporter: in northeast ohio an out of control car slammed into a police cruiser as the officer was helping another crash victim. 119 roof collapses in massachusetts, like this one in westport. several horses had to be rescued. in revere a pair of dogs pulled from the frozen marsh. >> they crawled out on their hands and knees to get to them and able to drag them out relatively quickly. >> reporter: lake erie is 98% ice covered. breakers in full steam up and down the nation's waterways including the potomac river where coast guard cutters are making way for commercial ships. tonight, the deep freeze is getting deeper. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, nashville. >> reporter: this is kevin tibbles in chicago. the cold winter wind could blow as much as a $5 billion chill
into the nation's economy. when boston hunkers down, tables sit at christopher's restaurant. >> we typically seat between 120 and 150 people. that's the norm. this evening we're probably going to seat about 50 or 60 people. >> people stay home. they cocoon, and that money does not move. when that money doesn't move, it's just bad for the economy. and it's not recoverable. >> reporter: the transportation sector has been hit especially hard. air travelers paid out $993 million in extra costs due to cancellations. new england car sales plummeted 33%. and governments will spend $2 billion on snow and ice control. snowbound canton massachusetts, is already $400,000 over budget. >> in the last four weeks we've gotten 30 inches, 24 inches, 25 inches and 23 inches. >> reporter: in frigid canton, ohio people wait for tow truck driver earl mullens. >> i've seen more bad batteries this week than anything else.
>> reporter: the business of jump starting cars has more than doubled. how do you stay warm? >> just keep moving. >> reporter: for d.d. lewis in chicago, school snow days mean interrupted workdays for mom. >> it adds to the stress not having those dedicated hours i would normally have when the school schedule and my daily schedule gets thrown off. >> reporter: still aaron's back may be sore, but his wallet's full. he shovels snow as a professional tasker for task rabbit. >> i've done about -- i don't know how many hours, probably around a hundred hours worth of shoveling and other tasks in the last three to four weeks. >> reporter: and as costs mount as winter marches on, many analysts say we actually may be in better shape than we were last year. that was when, lester, you may recall the polar vortex settled in over a much larger portion of the nation. and that wound up costing the economy some $15 billion. lester. >> kevin tibbles in chicago tonight. thanks. in most cities across the eastern half of the country 42
degrees would be a dream right now, but this morning was downright frigid for folks used to the heat in miami. al roker is in miami beach with a look at what all of us can expect as we head into the weekend. al, what's the word? >> reporter: lester, good evening. here in florida, southern florida, miami, temperatures got up into the low 60s. elsewhere around the state 40s and 50s. but overnight lows dropped well below freezing. that gave a lot of concern to citrus growers and will again once more tonight. however, look at these overnight lows throughout the northeast. we expect to see temperatures anywhere from 10 to 30 degrees below normal with wind chills well into the negative double digits. and here comes another winter storm. cincinnati, for example, you'll be looking at snow arriving about midnight. 4 to 8 inches of snow a tenth of an inch of ice, ends as rain. as we move into early sunday morning look for snow developing from new york to boston.
about 1 to 3 inches of snow. snow changing over to ice or rain. snowfall totals generally about 6 to 9 inches. and the ice storm is a big problem. we're worried about this from missouri all the way into maryland. dangerous ice. so our winter continues, lester. and guess what? we've got not one but two more reinforcing shots of cold air coming in next week. >> al roker, thanks. there is an urgent global appeal tonight from authorities in the uk. they're sounding the alarm about three teenaged school girls who vanished from their families without warning only to turn up on camera together at the airport. and there are worries they have been lured to join isis. as hundreds of young women across europe have done. we get late details tonight from nbc's katy tur in london. >> reporter: the three girls walked through security at london's gatwick airport showing no hint of their intentions. they flew to istanbul, bound for syria, officials fear, to join isis. 15-year-old shamima begum, kadiza sultana 16 and another
15-year-old whose parents asked not to be named, raised alarm bells when they didn't come home tuesday night. >> these three families had no idea of the intentions of their daughters. no idea whatsoever they were going to be traveling to turkey and that they intended to go to syria. >> reporter: they were known as normal teenagers, good students. but on begum's twitter account, a message to a female isis member, a known recruiter asking for a private conversation. all of that triggered scotland yard's unprecedented alert and it comes amid growing concerns that more and more young people are being enticed by isis, including, we just learned, another 15-year-old girl from the same school who ran off in december. >> they're not the disaffected. they're not necessarily the unemployed youth. instead we're seeing educated young women who are engaged in politics. >> reporter: and isis makes them think it offers something worth fighting for. >> i think the idea that you can
give your life meaning by performing jihad and that's very exciting. >> reporter: experts say perhaps more than 300 women from across europe have joined isis. many of them from the uk. as for the latest three, loved ones hope this harsh istanbul winter has delayed their journey and kept them out of isis hands. katy tur, nbc news, london. also overseas, a developing story tonight. late pictures coming out of a dramatic high-rise fire in dubai. it's a major multistory blaze in an apartment building. incredibly it's known as the torch. it towers more than 1,100 feet above that city's marina. it's one of their tallest residential buildings in the world. almost as tall as the empire state building. police and firefighters are on the scene. the building has been evacuated. there is no word yet on any casualties. facing a storm of controversy over his assertion that the president of the united states doesn't love america, the former mayor of new york rudy giuliani isn't backing down. in fact, he's doubling down.
and the white house is hitting back hard. our senior white house correspondent chris jansing with more on the war of words. >> reporter: the man once known as america's mayor, rudy giuliani, now the target of a biting attack from the white house. >> it's sad to see when somebody who's attained a certain level of public stature and even admiration tarnishes that legacy so thoroughly. >> reporter: the backlash growing after giuliani said wednesday night, i do not believe that the president loves america. then last night on fox doubled down. >> i'm right about this. i have no doubt about it. i do not withdraw my words. i do not detect in this man the same rhetoric and the same language, the same love of america that i detected in other american presidents including democrats. >> reporter: but today at a meeting of the democratic national committee, the president used this language. >> it's about making this nation we love more perfect. >> reporter: the white house denies that was a response to
giuliani, though the hashtag obama loves america was started by the white house and tweeted more than 54,000 times in 24 hours with comments from both sides. and the president's spokesman wasn't done. >> i think really the only thing that i feel is i feel sorry for rudy giuliani today. >> reporter: there are now calls for rudy giuliani to apologize, but i just spoke with him. he told me he absolutely will not apologize for saying what he truly believes. he also said he never intended to question the president's patriotism. lester. >> all right, chris, thank you. two people are already dead, others are clinging to life tonight after apparently contracting a terrifying superbug at a major california hospital. we're now learning more about the patients and searching for answers about how this drug-resistant bacteria found its way from victim to victim. a closer look tonight from nbc's hallie jackson. >> reporter: the superbug that infected seven people at ucla medical center has kept an 18-year-old man in the hospital for months. >> to call this an ordeal, i
think, is an understatement. >> reporter: attorney pete kaufman represents his family. >> we're talking about an infection on steroids. it's highly resistant to treatment. so you're gravely, gravely ill for a long period of time. >> reporter: officials at ucla wouldn't address specific claims citing patient privacy, but doctors have notified nearly 200 people about possible exposure to a bacteria called cre, after an investigation last month connected infections to instruments used in a special kind of endoscopy. the complex devices can be hard to decontaminate. >> ucla followed all of the recommended procedures for cleaning the scopes. >> reporter: now, though, the hospital goes above and beyond what's recommended, just like doctors at this suburban chicago facility which had an outbreak of the same superbug. >> when you have a process that's sufficiently complex like that, there are ample opportunities for the human element to step in and not have everything go exactly according to protocol. >> reporter: the maker of the endoscopes used at ucla says
it's adding things like checklists to its decontamination guidelines and monitoring concerns closely. but for the patients infected already, the biggest concern now is recovery. hallie jackson, nbc news, los angeles. we will likely hear closing arguments soon in the trial of the man accused of killing "american sniper" chris kyle. today the prosecution brought up rebuttal witnesses including a psychologist who claims the defendant knew what he was doing was wrong. nbc's jacob rascon has been following the trial for us in stephenville, texas. >> reporter: for the first time during his capital murder trial, eddie ray routh appears to be watching closely. more than 30 witnesses have testified including chris kyle's widow, taya, members of the routh family and law enforcement. but now routh's mental health is up for debate. two years ago, during what was meant to be a therapy session to help him cope with ptsd, routh shot chris kyle and chad littlefield at a texas gun range and fled in kyle's truck finally
surrendering and later confessing in a rambling 50-minute video. the defense's mental health expert tells the jury routh suffered from schizophrenia at the time believing pigs were taking over the world. saying his victims were pig hybrids and assassins. the psychiatrist told the jury after leaving the marine corps routh checked in to mental health centers many times including the v.a. and was diagnosed with psychosis, ptsd, depression, mood disorder and substance abuse problems. but experts on both sides downplayed ptsd as a possible factor in the crime. >> the insane defense in particular in texas is a very narrow defense. often becomes a battle of experts and the extent by which the jury gives weight to their testimony. >> reporter: the prosecution's expert told the jury routh was not insane but high. he admits to smoking pot and drinking whiskey before the crime. and he admits he was angry at his own life and at his victims
because they wouldn't talk to him. the former marine who spoke of the apocalypse upon his arrest now awaits his judgment day. routh has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. the trial now in its final days as the movie "american sniper," about one of its victims, will be competing at the oscars this weekend. kyle's widow taya is expected to attend and be back next week in time for closing arguments. lester. >> jacob rascon tonight, thank you. surprising turns in a deadly road rage mystery in las vegas. still to come, that mother gunned down, a teenager under arrest. and tonight, new revelations about a violent encounter. and later some good news on a friday night. a girl scout who just struck gold by going door-to-door in a very unusual place.
welcome back. there is a growing mystery tonight in las vegas, an alleged road rage killing. the mother gunned down, a 19-year-old man under arrest. and now we are learning that the victim and the suspect knew each other. and there are new details about how the violent encounter unfolded. nbc's miguel almaguer has our report. >> reporter: charged with murder, 19-year-old erich nowsch jr. is the teen who detectives say shot and killed 44-year-old tammy meyers. arrested after a standoff at his home in front of his mother, the meyers family told police tammy was gunned down after a case of road rage. and now a new twist, the victim's family says they know
the suspect. tammy had even taken a motherly interest in him. >> we know this boy. i couldn't tell you this before. he knew where i lived. we knew how bad he was. >> reporter: that was news to police. >> please keep in mind this investigation is still dynamic and ongoing. >> reporter: detectives were told meyers was taking her daughter home after driving lessons when she was cut off by a car nowsch was driving. meyers picked up her adult son armed with a handgun to look for nowsch's car. the suspect followed the meyers home where police say 22 shots were fired, ending tammy meyers' life. >> it's believed right now he's the only shooter but there is another suspect involved in the incident. >> reporter: new documents say nowsch called a friend to pick him up and boasted to friends about the shooting. jonathan lee lives across the street from nowsch and says the suspect is not a bad person. >> i know he wouldn't do
anything like that like on purpose or intentionally. he even cried about it after he did it. >> reporter: tonight, new details in an evolving case where the victim and the suspect may be the only ones with answers. miguel almaguer, nbc news, las vegas. we are back in a moment with a mix of excitement and anger tonight about a surprise plan to shake things up in the nfl.
the academy awards are this sunday. the red carpet has already been rolled out at the dolby theater in hollywood. awaiting the world's biggest stars. oddsmakers say best picture will either come down to "boyhood," the film shot over 12 years with the same actors or "birdman," the dark comedy that skewers the world of celebrities. we don't know who's going to win but we have a good idea who they might thank. the website vocative analyzed all the oscar speeches ever given. and steven spielberg has been thanked literally more times than god.
spielberg 42 times, god, 19 times. there's a plan to bring the nfl back to los angeles at the expense of two other california cities. the san diego chargers and oakland raiders announced a proposal today to build a stadium that they would share in the l.a. market if the negotiations in their current markets don't go the way they want. it took a while but we finally found a group that's really enjoying these frigid temperatures and the endless snow. the red pandas at the cincinnati zoo, 2-year-old lynn and 9-year-old rover are a big hit online. when we come back here tonight, the two smart cookies who found a virtual gold mine where no one else thought to look.
part of running a successful business in sales is finding new markets, a willingness to go where the competition can't or won't, like say a frozen lake in the dead of winter where a savvy girl scout and her friend are fishing for business using an irresistible sales hook. jana shortal has our story tonight from our nbc station kare tv in minneapolis. >> reporter: you and i, we see a quiet lake on a cold winter's night, but someone else took a look at this same place and saw a darn sales floor. >> we were selling girl scout cookies to ice fishers.
>> reporter: there but for the grace of chapped lips go i. you heard her right, this rosy-cheeked red-blooded norwegian is hustling sugar on the ice. >> hello. we were wondering if you want to buy some girl scout cookies? >> reporter: fishermen startled at the sight of two 10-year-olds pushing cookies in the sleigh had no choice. >> i'll get you change real quick. >> reporter: seriously, inga, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. >> i think it's a great idea though. for sure. i mean ice fishermen are always looking for snacks. why not? >> reporter: one down, on to the next. >> keep walking. >> keep walking. >> reporter: inga runs a tight sled. >> we were wondering if you would like to buy some girl scout cookies. >> reporter: same pitch, same result. >> there you go. >> thank you. >> thank you. you guys have a great day. >> you too. >> reporter: and just like that inga gets closer to the quota, and ruby tags along. kids have a funny way of making you change your lens. because you and i, we saw a quiet lake. those two, they saw girl scout
gold. jana shortal for nbc news, chisago lake, minnesota. 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. have a great weekend and a good night. nbc bay area news starts now. >> it's getting out of hand. somebody had to do something. >> right now at 6:00 they say no one is listening. people in the south bay neighborhood upset about a new wave of crime. good evening and thanks for joining us. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. only on nbc, they've been dealing with home burglaries for months. now a san jose neighborhood has a new problem, mail theft. to make matters worse, homeowners say no one is doing anything about this issue. this is happening in the evergreen neighborhood of san jose. nbc bay area's damian trujillo
is there with the exclusive surveillance video. damian, two issues here. the crime and the police response. >> yeah and you know what? the neighbors say they have complained, but they have gotten nowhere. this resident here is in the process of installing a locked mailbox, one that should help keep the crooks away. today we went directly to the u.s. postal inspector. >> so this is the car. >> it turns their stomach every time they see it home surveillance video of a person residents in evergreen say is driving up and stealing their mail. >> you feel that you're violated. you don't get over it. >> we really feel we need to bring attention to this. we're not the only ones. >> reporter: neighbors are sharing their video through the website next door.com. >> it might just be a photo. >> reporter: they called police and the post office but feel no one is doing anything about it. >> we're trying to do our best but we're feeling helpless. >> reporter: some installed lockboxes inside their mailboxes. but then they got this warning saying they had to remove