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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  March 24, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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>> "nightly news" is next. >> see you at 6:00. breaking news tonight. were americans the target of the brussels bombers? what nbc news has learned as we see for the first time inside the lair where they plotted to kill. sources say the two suicide bomber brothers may have had nuclear ambitions to get their hands on a dirty bomb. the world of their wives explodes as an angry ted cruz tea into donald trump. >> donald, you're a sniveling coward and leave heidi the hell alone. >> state of emergency as a wild storm spawns everything from a blizzard to tornadoes and violent hail. a massive system carrying across the country. and garry shandling dies suddenly. shocking news tonight. the beloved comedian gone at age 66. hollywood mourns his loss. "nightly news" begins right now.
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>> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. in the aftermath of tuesday's deadly attacks in belgium, authorities in neighboring france have just announced that they have foiled a terror plot in the advanced stages there, unrelated to the brussels bombings. while in brussels red flags that possibly point to americans being targeted as part of this week's attacks. at least 31 people were killed and 316 hurt. dozens suffering critical injuries that doctors described as looking more like wounds of war. and tonight as we're getting our first look inside the apartment where the suitcase bombs were constructed comes word two brothers involved in the attacks may have been in search of radioactive materials for a dirty bomb attack. nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel has late details from brussels. >> reporter: were americans the target
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of the brussels bombers? the state department today said no. >> we don't at this point have any credible evidence that suggests it was targeting americans. >> reporter: but tonight nbc news spoke with counterterrorism expert claude moniqu moniquet, a former french intelligence officer. he says the taxi driver who drove these three suspects, including the two bombers on the left, told investigators the man in the hat, still wanted by authorities, launched into an anti-american tirade in the car on his way to the airport. >> it was a general conversation. he didn't say, i will kill americans, of course. >> but it's a key moment. it's the last thing that's on his mind before carrying out the attacks. >> the last thing which was heard by someone external was very aggressive words against america and american citizens. >> moniquet also says two of the suicide bombers who caused the brussels carnage, the
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bakraoui brothers, may have been trying to get their hands on an even more terrifying weapon. >> to make a dirty bomb? >> to make a dirty bomb, certainly. >> the brothers secretly filmed a top scientist from a facility producing medical radioactive isotopes. the brothers may have planned to kidnap one of the scientist's relatives to try to force him to hand over the radioactive materials. >> the point is that of course it was a stupid plan because you cannot -- even if you take the children of this man. >> and tonight new pictures to nbc news inside the safe house where the isis bombers prepared their suitcase bombs and other explosives used in the brussels attacks. a hole in the door, likely left by police. new twists for the people of brussels to wonder about. soldiers are still patrolling here to guard against another possible isis attack, but this country seems overwhelmed by the scale of the threat. only 225 extra troops have reportedly been
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brought into brussels. it's a show of force, but a small one. belgian officials now accept they don't have the manpower to deal with the hundreds of jihadi fighters who came back from the middle east. and tonight, lester, france's interior minister said in a raid this morning outside paris, a french national was arrested in the late stages of an attack against france. apparently, the official said at this point, there does not appear to be a connection between that arrest, that suspect, and the atrocities that happened here in brussels, a city still in mourning. >> richard, as you reported, americans could have been the intended targets of this. nbc tom costello explains it's the question many security experts have been asking since the attacks. >> reporter: two and a half days since the attacks on brussels, 12 americans are known to have been injured, including three mormon missionaries. but several are still unaccounted for, including two with
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u.s. government connections. also missing, husband and wife stephanie and justin shults from kentucky and brother and sister sascha and alexander pinczowski from new york. were they among americans deliberately targeted? the chairman of the house intelligence committee says yes. the their location at the time of the attacks key. here's where it happens. in the brussels airport departure terminal, the check outlanes were in row 8. delta airlines was in row 11. belgian prosecutors say the bombs went opp here, near rows 1 and 2, just inside the entry door, not far from the starbucks and close tot brussels airlines counters. meanwhile the maelbeek sub sway station is the prime stop for the european union government buildings. the u.s. embassy is a mile further down the street and serviced by different train and subway stops. tonight international risk experts say americans traveling to europe should consider avoiding large public gatherings and always be aware of their surroundings.
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>> maybe i don't want to be flying at peak mes when there's mass congestion. am i watching everyone around me? if something doesn't feel right, trust your instincts. >> travel advice that may become the new normal. tom costello, nbc news, washington. >> the two suicide bomber brothers in these attacks fit a troubling pattern. terrorists with family ties. radical groups often exploit the bonds between brothers, and as our keir simmons takes us into one brussels neighborhood that's become a prime recruiting ground for terror. >> reporter: the brothers turned suicide bombers this week at brussels airport and subway station are sickeningly nothing new. the attack on the french magazine "charlie hebdo" last year involved two brothers. the boston bombing carried out by dzhokhar and tamer lynn. even the jihadists
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for 9/11. one young man told me family and friends were recruited on street corners in the molenbeek district of brussels. >> it's like a gang that you can't leave. >> yes, they will kill you if you leave, he says. some went to syria to fight jihad and died there. >> he said, i'm a friend of yours, and i would just inform you that your son has died. >> reporter: but others returned to their neighborhoods to kill in europe. salah abdeslam arrested for the paris attacks friday, allegedly joined isis with his brother. many isis recruits have criminal backgrounds. ibrahim abdeslam ran this cafe where locals tell us drugs were sold. he died in paris, a suicide bomber. >> if you look at paris networks, it's traditionally people who have known each other for a protected period of time. they've been to school together or things like that. but of course the strongest bond is that of siblings. it's within the family. >> reporter: europe's intelligence agencies are scrambling to
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trace those links, fearing another attack. keir simmons, nbc news, brussels. >> turning to the race for president and ted cruz unleashing on donald trump after the republican front-runner fanned the flames in the war over their wives on social media. this as the polls show that trump may have a serious problem with women voters. nbc's hallie jackson has details. >> reporter: a single retweet reigniting the fight between the front-runners. donald trump showing this photo to his 7 million followers. his wife side by side with ted cruz's, with the phrase, the images are worth a thousand words. >> donald, you're a sniveling coward and leave heidi the hell alone. >> will you support him as the nominee? >> i'm going to beat him for the nomination. >> he's leading right now. you just looked in that camera and said he's a coward. >> donald trump will not be the nominee because donald trump is a train wreck.
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>> reporter: cruz cr taking his tough entone yet. >> trump's campaign manager dismissive, saying of cruz this is his effort to gain attention to try and stay relevant in a race that he has lost and insisting trump has great relationships with women. megyn kelly, whom trump has attacked repeatedly, asking about the tweet, simply, seriously? nearly half of female republican voters say they couldn't imagine picking trump more than either of his rivals, and among women in the general electorate, 7 in 10 have a negative review of trump. he's repeatedly defends himself on the trail. his wife has too. >> i see him in life. he treats women the same as men. >> reporter: some supporters unfazed. >> we have important leaders out there that are tough and ridiculous and rather nasty. >> reporter: insults online reverberating in real life. hallie jackson, nbc news, wisconsin. shocking news from los angeles this evening. garry shandling, the beloved actor and
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comedian has died suddenly. rushed to the hospital this morning, passing away of an apparent heart attack. he was just 66 years old, and he's being remembered by celebrities and fans far and wide as a legendary comic gene yusz. here's nbc's harry smith. >> garry shandling. >> reporter: garry shandling first came to our attention doing his stand-up routine on "the tonight show." >> i went to the bank earlier today, and have you gotten your free pen yet? these are free. you just yank these things and they pop right out. >> reporter: he was such a big hit, he was soon filling in for johnny carson. there was even talk that shandling would eventually take over the show. but shandling found his way to showtime. ♪ >> reporter: he did a sitcom about a stand-up comedian. it was a thinly veiled send-up of sitcoms. it was a funny and a cult hit. shandling's real claim
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to fame came on hbo. the larry sanders show mocked late night tv, ego, ambition, and show business. >> some of us are talented. i'm sweating like a pig. >> reporter: it was what everybody at work talked about the next day. >> how am i really doing? >> well, you did great. man, what are you doing? come on, you're robin williams for god sakes. >> recently shandling shared a porsche with jerry seinfeld. shandling could even crack up comedians. shandling was predictably funny, what he was famous for. harry smith, nbc news, new york. >> a shocking loss. today the justice department has charged seven iranians with cyberattacks on u.s. targets. they are contractors. the iranian government accused of hacking of dozens of banks and the feds say one also hacked the controls of a dam 30 miles outside of new york city. none of them is actually in the u.s., so they may never be
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arrested for the crimes. >> a powerful storm is moving across nearly the entire stretch of the country, dumping heavy snow, spawning tornadoes and violent hail. winds even whipping fires. a wild convergence of weather events all from the same giant system. nbc's kerry sanders is in the storm zone for us tonight. >> reporter: string on hold for much of the country as a massive storm wreaks havoc across the plains, the midwest, and the south. powerful hail roared through dallas, blowing out windows and damaging cars. colorado digging out from a record spring snowfall. 17 inches in just 36 hours. stranding some motorists for more than seven hours. >> we're just going to sit here and enjoy the spring blizzard. >> reporter: the denver airport trying to get back on track after the fierce blizzard forced a complete shutdown. snow also blanketed minnesota and wisconsin too, where the governor declared
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a state of emergency. >> i just heard the roaring. >> this morning in lake charles, la louisiana, a reported tornado touched down. the winds fueling fires in oklahoma and kansas, burning an area eight times the size of manhattan. >> we can get mother nature to cooperate a little bit. >> reporter: and more dangerous storms predicted for the south tonight where the national weather service is gathering more information to help keep people safe. >> we're going to collect the temperature, the humidity, and the wind on up through 100,000 feet in the atmosphere. >> reporter: tonight portions of alabama and the florida panhandle are under a tornado watch. kerry sanders, nbc news, birmingham. still ahead for us tonight, the beauty queen turned flight attendant who fled after 70 pounds of cocaine were allegedly found in her bags. how her flight from justice came to an end. also the deadliest kind of heart attacks, why they're on the rise for younger people and why it may
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not be too late to dramatically cut your risk. .
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we were planning to bring you this next story even before we got word of the sudden death of garry shandling from an apparent heart attack at just 66 years old. there's a new study of doctors from the cleveland clinic that victims of the deadliest form of heart attacks are actually getting younger. the actual age now just 60. nbc's anne thompson explains the alarming
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trend. >> reporter: every 43 seconds someone in america has a heart attack, increasingly that person is younger. a new study from the cleveland clinic says the average age for the deadliest type of heart attack has dropped from 64 to 60 because alarmingly, well known risk factors are on the rise, including smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. increases study author doctors believe are by the mistaken belief that pills can solve everything. >> it is the false idea that taking medications for cholesterol and taking appropriate medications are enough, and lifestyle changes are not required. >> reporter: that's what trisha says she used to think. >> most of my life i was 95 pounds more than i am now. so i didn't exercise. >> reporter: a mom who worked as a research analyst at the pentagon, trisha says
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she was a junk food queen. she developed diabetes, had heart bypass surgery, but it wasn't until she had eight stents put into her heart two years ago that she got scared. >> i was looking death in the face. >> reporter: exercise is now a priority. her diet is planet-based, and her family loves it. >> my husband has lost 38 pounds. my daughter has lost about 120 pounds. >> reporter: trisha is no longer diabetic and is down from 13 pills a day to half of one. >> i'm having fun now. >> reporter: proving it's never too late to change for a better, longer life. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. we're back in a moment with a shocking plunge with a driver still at the wheel caught on camera.
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a big update now on a wild story we first told you about late last week. a flight attendant for jetblue is under arrest tonight, accused of trying to
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smuggle 70 pounds of cocaine on a flight at los angeles international airport. taking off, running during a random security search of her carry-on bags, throwing her luggage and her shoes as she fled. nbc's miguel almaguer has the new details. >> reporter: federal agents say security cameras captured marsha reynolds, even though police couldn't, as she tried to smuggle nearly 70 pounds of cocaine past security at l.a.x. the former jamaican beauty queen, who's a nursing student and a jetblue flight attendant, outran police at the airport last week. but was in federal court today after turning herself in, charged with intent to distribute cocaine. prosecutors say the flight attendant is a flight risk, who was working with an unnamed conconspirator, a man who may now be trying to flee the country. >> the facts will come out. >> reporter: the fbi
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says reynolds tried to wheel $3 million of cocaine past the crew members' security checkpoint. but when randomly flagged for secondary screening, court documents say reynolds became nervous and began looking around. after dropping her three carry-on bags and ditching her gucci shoes, police say the former nyu athlete sprinted down an upward-moving escalator and out of the door. after some confusion in identifying reynolds, the fbi says she came back to l.a.x. the next day and flew to jfk. after the story broke, she turned herself in. 11 bags of cocaine and a track star beauty queen flight attendant. the feds say reynolds was fast on her feet, but in the end could not outrun the law. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. scary video out of baltimore. take a look. it shows the sidewalk and the side of a parking garage when suddenly an suv plows right off the fourth floor, plunging to the
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ground below, landing upside down. mir aciously the woman behind the wheel did not suffer serious injuries. police say she was pulling into a parking space when the accident occurred. when we come back, amid the chaos, they rushed to help. some even injured themselves. the heroes of the brussels attacks when we come back. >> announcer: "nbc nightly news" is brought to you by pacific life. for life insurance, annuities and investments, choose pacific life. the power to help you succeed.
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test. next at on n bay ea ne. finally tonight, as the details continue to emerge about those who carried out the brussels terror attacks, so too are the incredible stories of heroism that day. ordinary people who risked their own safety to save others. here's nbc's kelly cobiella. >> reporter: minutes before two bombs ripped through the brussels airport, alfonz was smiling, wrapping luggage for passengers. i was working, he told me. then chaos as panicked survivors ran from the airport, alfonz, an immigrant from the ivory coast, stayed. that's him carrying one of the injured. i wasn't afraid because so many needed
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help, he told me. i carried people out. i stayed with them. i helped stop the bleeding. also in the airport, 20-year-old yasin, a muslim. he was bleeding yet -- i evacuated people, he said. i don't even know how i did it. it was my first reflex. across brussels, everyday heroes, too many to count. 400 volunteers for the red cross alone left their day jobs to dress wounds and comfort victims. >> how are you do something. >> i'm okay. >> tonight, alfonz is still thinking about the people he helped. he'd like to meet them to see if they're okay, and he says he's still not afraid. ♪ >> reporter: because the belgium he knows is an open, hopeful country, and that, he says, hasn't changed. kelly cobiella, nbc news, brussels, belgium. >> that will do it for us on a thursday
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night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. ♪ terrcontvrighnow a6: s. runs6 he had walked out by then and i told the gal, that looks like that gal that's been robbing the banks. >> right now at 6:00, hear from the man who says police led them to a serial bank robber. the so-called bearded bandit. the fbi tries to figure out how many banks he hit. i'm terry mcsweeney in for raj
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mathai. >> this dash cam shows the arrest. gone is the beard of the man which please say is no coincidence. pete suratos is joining us. >> reporter: he believes it may be a perfect example of someone seeing something and saying something. >> there wasn't even a hesitation. you're like that. that's probably the guy. >> kind of, yeah. yeah. >> reporter: a brentwood resident by the name of james was standing in the safe way checkoutline when he first saw the man that he believes is the bearded bandit. >> i told the gal, that looks like that guy that's been robbing the banks. >> reporter: according to the fbi, this man, kenneth ellis, is connected to at least 11 bank robberies in


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