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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  May 29, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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>> game seven tomorrow night. go out there and get your tickets. on this sunday night, terrifying moments. the heart-stopping scenes at a zoo after a 3-year-old boy ends up trapped by a 400 pound gorilla. tonight the controversy over the way zookeepers responded. shooting rampage. violence at a houston neighborhood during this memorial day weekend. eight people shot including two officers. deadly storms sweeping up the east coast tonight, bringing drenching rain, high winds and flooding. in texas, the search for the missing continues. a bridge too far. major questions about judgment and wasteful spending to replace part of a california bridge. how a seemingly simple infrastructure project costs billions and american jobs along the way. and the human arrow, a daredevil in a wind suit has a close encounter with china's great wall. "nightly news" begins now.
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>> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news." reporting tonight, thomas roberts. >> we begin tonight with jaw-dropping moments at the cincinnati zoo gorilla exhibit after a 3-year-old boy somehow got through its fencing, falling at least ten feet into the pen and then getting cornered by a 400-pound silverback all as the child's mom watched in horror. at times the massive primate violently dragged the boy at lightning speeds and other times appeared to demonstrate a protective concern. with no time to spear, zookeepers acted with lethal force against the able to save the boy. our gadi schwartz has the terrifying moments all caught on camera. >> reporter: ten minutes of terror. >> mommy's right here. >> reporter: this cell phone video showing a 400 pound gorilla and behind him in the corner of his exhibit, a 3-year-old boy. suddenly screams. [ screaming ] >> reporter: the gorilla dragging the boy through the
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water then stops. you can hear the mother talking to her son, trying to keep him calm. >> mommy loves you. i'm right here. >> reporter: at one point, the boy looks up, and the two briefly touch hands. the gorilla stds him up, then drags him away. zookeepers say they had no choice. a tranquilizer would have taken too long, and they had to put the gorilla down. >> we have rescued the child. >> you're talking about an animal that's over 400 pounds and extremely strong. so the child wasn't under attack but all sorts of things could happen in a situation like that. >> reporter: the gorilla, named harambe, an endangered silverback. cincinnati zoo was celebrating his 17th birthday the day before he was killed. the boy was taken to the hospital but is expected to be okay. witnesses say his mother was watching several children when he slipped through a barrier and fell into the moat. >> the little boy himself had already been talking about
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wanting to go in, go in, get in the water. his mother is like, no, you're not, no, you're not. >> reporter: the zoo now re-examining the barriers around the exhibit. meanwhile some mourning ha ram bay's death are questioning the killing, pointing to other examples of gorillas protecting children who fell in exhibits like this incident in england 30 years ago or this gorilla in 1996 in chicago who cared for an injured boy and carried him to zookeepers at the exhibit door. but this case, much more unpredictable. a boy's life in danger. a risk zookeepers wouldn't take. gadi schwartz, nbc news. a gunman is dead tonight and another wounded after police say the pair went on a shooting spree in a houston neighborhood. morgan radford has the late details. >> reporter: shots fired. back-to-back. smoke rising and a scared neighbor running away. police cars rushing to the scene where eight people were shot, two of them killed.
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>> we do not know what started this, but we do know they were shooting randomly. >> reporter: authorities say around 10:50 a.m. two gunman started spraying bullets, striking four civilians, killing one of them. one bullet hit a gas station, causing a fire. residents were asked to stay inside while the gunman opened fire on a police helicopter and responding vehicles. the police department saying two of their officers were shot, but both expected to recover. one gunman was killed. the second now in critical condition. when asked whether this was an act of terror -- >> everything is open at this time. >> reporter: leaving a once quiet community in shock. and authorities searching for clues. morgan radford, nbc news. severe weather that has killed at least five people in recent days remains a problem tonight with rivers rising in parts of texas while tropical depression bonnie is bringing flooding and drenching rain to much of the east coast. janet shamlian is following it all for us from charleston, south carolina, and has this report.
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>> reporter: a weekend washout, bonnie coming ashore near charleston as a tropical depression. >> they did make land fall about 8:30. >> reporter: a drenching for the south carolina coast. >> the water was so high to where that it was almost covering the mailboxes. >> reporter: a portion of interstate 75 south of charleston impassable. so many driving through the high water, officials finally closed a stretch of the road, all on a busy holiday weekend. >> just a few passing showers in myrtle beach. although the sun did come out, the lifeguards only allowed surfers in the water beyond their knees because of the dangerous rip currents. >> i'm very concerned about my kids being out there. i get nervous when they get further than their knees. >> reporter: rescuers tonight still searching for a 21-year-old man who went missing in rough surf saturday in north carolina. the remnants of the storm will move slowly up and inland along the east coast into monday. in texas, more severe weather as the death toll now rises to five and floodwaters forcing a mandatory evacuation in
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rosenberg near the brazos river. >> it's just scary, you know. you got all your belongings. you don't any what to take. you don't know what to leave. we knew it was coming but at the same time you don't prepare for something like this. >> reporter: more than a thousand inmates in the area evacuated to higher ground, and first responders helping horses grazing in pasture land where waters are rising. ahead of the holiday, more storms in the forecast for already hard hit regions. tonight the threat of even more rain and with all these storms tomorrow could end up being the first beach day of the weekend for many people. authorities are cautioning that the threat of rip currents continues. thomas. >> nothing to mess with there with those. janet shamlian in charleston for us tonight. thanks. we move on to politics now and more tough talk today from donald trump who found a sympathetic audience at at annual biker event in washington, d.c. known as rolling thunder. kelly o'donnell was there and has our report. >> reporter: revved up with an unmistakable swagger and a deafening sound.
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that gave this annual mission to washington, d.c., its name. rolling thunder. today the tribute to american prisoners of war and those missing in action turned political. this was not a campaign rally. >> rolling thunder. look at all these bikers. do we love the bikers? yes, we love the bikers. >> reporter: but donald trump made it feel like one. >> we can't have hillary clinton be our president. that i can tell you. >> reporter: trump, who did not serve in the military, plugged into this national veterans gathering to say that he and not hillary clinton would better provide for veterans' needs. >> thousands of people are dying. hard to believe even, of our vets, our most cherished people. thousands of people are dying, waiting on line to see a doctor. that is not going to happen anymore. >> reporter: but trump, who often boasts about attracting huge crowds, seemed disappointed by the turnout and made a striking comparison to an iconic
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historical event held here in 1963. >> i'll tell you what really amazes me. i thought this would be like dr. martin luther king where the people would be lined up from here all the way to the washington monument, right? >> reporter: the secret service had blocked off sections to screen those closest to trump, leaving some open spaces. trump was well received but supporters had differing reactions. >> i think he has a plan. i think he's going to go into washington and change washington. >> reporter: you called him a lunatic but you're going to vote for him? >> yes, i am, but he's a lunatic. >> reporter: and today trump promised a big press conference on tuesday to answer a question that has dogged his campaign for months. he will account for which veterans' charities received the almost $6 million he claims he raised back in january, when he skipped a gop debate to hold a veterans fund-raisers. thomas. >> a lot of people looking forward to that answer. kelly o'donnell in a rainy washington for us this evening.
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kelly, thank you. growing pressure on bernie sanders today to drop out of the democratic race and turn his support to hillary clinton. but sanders continues to march to his own political beat. kristen welker is in chappaqua, new york, where clinton is spending the weekend. kristen, good evening. >> reporter: thomas, good evening. secretary clinton has been off the campaign trail all weekend as senator sanders has barnstormed in critical california. but clinton surrogates were out in force today. in fact, senator dianne feinstein said today that the race is, quote, all but over, a not so subtle attempt to urge sanders to get out. but today on "meet the press," sanders defiant, saying he's in this race till the very end. and when asked about party unity, he said that's up to one person, hillary clinton. >> so my job is to make sure that trump does not become president, and i will do that. but if secretary clinton is the nominee, it is her job to reach out to millions of people and make the case as to why she is going to defend working families and the middle class, provide
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health care to all people, take all wall street, deal aggressively with climate change. that is the candidate's job to do. >> reporter: sanders didn't rule out running as clinton's v.p. nominee but also warned her pick should be progressive. he has vowed to stay in california until the primary. as for secretary clinton, she's going to participate in the memorial day parade right here in chappaqua, and she is saying that she will then head to new jersey, a state that could give her enough delegates to win the nomination before all the votes in california are counted. thomas. >> kristen welker in chappaqua, new york, kristen, thank you. overseas, the u.n. high commissioner for refugees says at least 700 migrants died at sea this past week while another 14,000 were rescued in the mediterranean, most trying to cross from libya to italy. keir simmons is following this new surge of migrants making a desperate and deadly journey. >> reporter: crammed with
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terrified migrants, a fishing boat overturns in the mediterranean sea, in full sight of the italian navy. many trying in vein to stay out of the water, others swimming for their lives. the boat capsized wednesday in just 30 seconds. 100 lives believed to be lost. >> too many people on board that were scared. they were not sitting. they were not listening. they were simply scared for their life. >> reporter: according to aid workers, three of the 45 bodies found were newborn babies, a 9-month-old nigerian girl was saved by this doctor. her name is favor. her future uncertain. her pregnant mother did not survive. it was a deadly week even for these dangerous waters. 700 dead or missing in seven days. bodies lifted one by one in reggio calabria, southern italy today. >> one of the shocking things that we have seen in recent months is the number of
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children, some of them very young, embarking in these flimsy vessels. >> reporter: the u.n. estimates so far this year, 200,000 migrants from africa and the middle have attempted to cross the mediterranean, thousands of them children arriving without their parents. keir simmons, nbc news, london. for the last time today, members of a roman catholic church in massachusetts attending a sunday service to keep the church open. it became a casualty of a common problem with the american catholic church. fewer priests plus fewer practicing members and a diocese with too much real estate. anne thompson has that story from outside boston. >> reporter: an extraordinary act of faith and defiance came to an end today. >> 11 years, seven months and three days. >> reporter: that's how long mary ellen and john rogers and 100 parishioners occupied this church in massachusetts.
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holding around the clock vigil despite a decision by the boston archdiocese to close the church as part of a reorganization. >> we took this all the way to the vatican supreme court and we took it to the united states supreme court. >> reporter: marti o'brien joined the parish when it opened in 1961. we met her seven years ago. >> i'm not going to die until i can get buried right in front of that church. i'm stickin' around. did you hear that, god? i'm still here, but i guess i won't get buried from here. >> reporter: the 86-year-old spitfire sat in these pews up to five days a week. >> do you feel your faith has gone unrewarded? >> not my faith in god. my faith in hierarchy at least in this archdiocese, yes. >> reporter: time has not tempered the fury toward's boston's cardinal sean o'malley. he has welcomed the people back to the archdiocese but few plan
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to accept. >> i think we were naive in thinking that we could change the church from within. >> reporter: with the quilts they made for each year of vigil, the parish heads to the local masonic lodge. ♪ when the saints go marching in ♪ >> reporter: looking forward to building their own church to house the spiritual one they forged. anne thompson, nbc news, massachusetts. still ahead tonight, why replacing a famous california bridge went billions over budget and cost american jobs. also how one nba player made history last night and saved the season for his team.
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but tonight josh mankiewicz tells us about a bridge building project in california where they actually outsourced thousands of those jobs overseas and still went billions over the original estimate. >> reporter: collapsing bridges. flooded subways. lead-contaminated water. and while politicians talk a great game about america's decaying infrastructure, they haven't always been so great at coming up with solutions. take california, for instance. the state needed to replace the eastern span of the san francisco/oakland bay bridge after the 1989 loma prieta earthquake.
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but the project was held up for decades by politicians, all with an agenda. >> i could envision -- >> reporter: san francisco's then mayor demanded new off ramps while politicians in oakland wanted a design with a beautiful tower. >> the state had originally proposed a viaduct bridge. the tower is not necessary. >> reporter: u.c. berkeley professor karen trapenberg frick. >> reporter: the tower is not essential for the bridge. it's there because it looks good. >> yes. >> reporter: political infighting over the design led to years of delays. meanwhile, the original $1.2 billion estimate expanded like the fog in summer. >> i found in point of fact they had decided and never wanted to teal anybody it was going to be $5.3 billion. >> roland de wolk worked for the california state senate investigating the bridge's cost overruns. >> nobody knew where this was going to end. >> reporter: desperate to rein in costs, managers. project outsourced a major component of the bridge.
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in one of the most union friendly states in the country, the decision was made, let's bypass american workers. >> all we have to do is go to china. china is booming. china builds stuff all the time. >> reporter: still the bridge became the most expensive public works project in the history of the state. >> our job when we started was to get this bridge built before the next earthquake. we did that job. now, did it take too long? yes. did it cost too much money? yes. >> reporter: it turns out you get what you pay for. >> in this particular case, i don't think we got what we paid for. i think we got completely ripped off. >> reporter: a feeling many commuters say they get every time they pass through a toll booth. josh mankiewicz, nbc news, oakland. >> you can watch much more about this story in our series "on assignment," tonight at 7:00, 6:00 p.m. central time. we are back in a moment with a flight that you don't want to miss.
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he's known as the human arrow, and today jeb corliss lived up to in name once again, dropping out of a helicopter wearing a wing suit and attempting to hit a target over the great wall of china. kelly cobiella has more on a wild ride. >> reporter: the starting line, 6,000 feet up. the finish, a paper bull's-eye the size of an apple suspended over the great wall of china. >> rock my world. >> reporter: all jeb corliss had to do to make history, hit the target at 120 miles an hour. >> this was a project about precision. this was a project about doing something that was really, really hard. >> reporter: the 40-year-old has made a name for himself cheating death with jumps from the world's tallest buildings. the sky park in singapore, malaysia's petronas towers, and
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flights barely squeezing through the smallest gaps. today's challenge, no cliffs, but fierce tail wind. >> the tail wind was like gusting. so it made it really difficult to hone in. >> reporter: corliss fighting to stay on target and coming in fast, covering 6,000 feet in 46 seconds. >> you got it, dude, you got it. >> reporter: the human arrow mere inches from a direct hit. >> i barely got up and got the target, and i was like, it was super scary. >> reporter: close enough and alive. >> yeah! >> reporter: to tell the tale. kelly cobiella, nbc news. >> makes it look easy. and another kind of spectacle. klay thompson keeping the golden state warriors hopes for the nba finals alive last night in dramatic fashion. thompson scored 11 three-pointers, the most ever in the nba playoffs. golden state edged out the oklahoma city thunder 108-101. they'll meet again in game seven tomorrow night. and the people who make
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their living studying sponges are all excited tonight. take a look at this. a giant sponge found by scientists some 7,000 feet down in the waters off of hawaii. in fact, it's being described as the world's largest known sea sponge. the creature, 11 feet long and roughly the size of a minivan, could be hundreds if not thousands of years old. what a discovery. up next, after 23 years, a mother's words of love finally reach her daughter.
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finally tonight, what child doesn't appreciate words of love from a parent? a woman in colorado finally got to read those words more than two decades after her mom passed away. noel brennan of our denver station kusa tells us how it happened. >> reporter: for the longest time, amanda lemond didn't have much of her mother to hold on to. >> i wouldn't give her up for the world. >> reporter: that's how amanda's mom felt about her daughter. >> she used to brush my hair for me at night, 100 strokes on each side. >> reporter: barbara was a loving mom. >> she was one of the most loving people in this world. >> reporter: bone cancer took her life 23 years ago. >> after my mom passed away, i was shipped around all over the country from washington state to texas to louisiana to texas. >> reporter: amanda was lost without her mother. >> i'm trying to find the right word. >> reporter: until the right words -- >> dear amanda. >> reporter: -- found her. >> you know i really miss you and not being able to get up with you every day.
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>> reporter: two letters. >> you're very special to me, honey. >> reporter: two decades old. >> you have a special little light that glows like a star. >> reporter: messages of love, hope, and inspiration. >> you are the bravest little girl i've ever known. >> reporter: sent to amanda from the executor of her mom's estate, a woman amanda briefly lived with after her mom died. they reconnected on facebook and then came the package in the mail. >> it's a connection to her that i didn't think i would ever have again. >> reporter: pictures, medals, even amanda's birth certificate, memories of her mom she'll never let go. >> honey, i love you very, very much. please keep smiling. love, mom. >> reporter: memories amanda will now keep in picture frames and scrapbooks forever in her heart. reporting from estes park, colorado, noel brennan, nbc news. on that note, that is "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. i'm thomas roberts reporting from new york. thank you for watching. have a great memorial day and good night. rescue in the east bay after car
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plunges over a cliff with right now at 6:00, a dramatic rescue in the east bay after a car plunges over a cliff with two people inside. good evening, thank you for joining us. i'm peggy bunker. >> and i'm terry mcsweeney. both teenagers made it out safely. >> this happened on grizzly park boulevard. christie smith is live where this happened. what are they telling us? >> reporter: this is a drop a couple hundred feet down. the teens did survive

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