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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  September 19, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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tonight. terror takedown. a dramatic shoot-out in the streets. the man wanted in bombings that terrorized new york and new jersey, captured alive after a massive manhunt. the suspect allegedly caught on camera at bomb scenes in manhattan. today's arrest just hours after a new explosion near a new jersey train station. how authorities used evidence left behind and the public's health to track him down. tonight new details about the suspect, a naturalized u.s. citizen from afghanistan, his past troubles with law enforcement and his travels overseas. and troubling questions. what was the motive and did the bomber have help? "nightly news" begins now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in
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new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. with remarkable speed, a 48-hour reign of terror in the nation's largest metropolitan area was brought to an end today in a dramatic takedown. the man police suspect was behind bombing attacks and attempted bombings in new york city and nearby new jersey over the weekend was shot and wounded during a gun battle. this video captures 28-year-old ahmad khan rahami, an afghan-born u.s. citizen, on the run in linden, new jersey, just before he was shot today. an ied he's suspected of planting injured nearly 30 people when it exploded saturday evening in manhattan's chelsea neighborhood. the key question authorities are working to answer right now is, did he have help? we have it all covered tonight, starting with nbc's miguel almaguer. >> reporter: the manhunt turned into a foot chase and ended in a shoot-out. ahmad khan rahami shot multiple times. >> looks like this is him. >> reporter: wheeled into an ambulance alive,
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after investigators say he opened fire on two officers. >> i mainly seen a cop just shooting at the suspect. >> just sounded like, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. >> reporter: after police and federal agents launched a massive dragnet for him, the 28-year-old was found sleeping in the doorway of a linden, new jersey, bar. the responding officer recognized rahami. >> the suspect put his hand on the side and pulled out a handgun, fired one shot at the officer, striking him. >> reporter: two officers were wounded, along with rahami. a naturalized u.s. citizen who was born in afghanistan. >> now that we have this suspect in custody, the investigation can focus on other aspects. such as whether this individual acted alone and what his motivations may have been. >> reporter: police asked for the public's help in finding him. sending this first of its kind emergency alert, warning people to be on the lookout after pulling over five members of his family, along the verrazano bridge last night and taking them in for questioning.
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the suspect's father spoke exclusively to nbc news tonight. >> did you know that your son was doing this? >> no. >> you had no idea? >> no. i'm not sure what happened exactly. >> reporter: rahami lived with his father just a few miles from the shoot-out. here in elizabeth, new jersey, above his family's restaurant. today the fbi scoured his home, inspecting the roof and towing away a car. sources say he was captured on video walking away from this blast in manhattan that injured 29 saturday. then later, this device, a rigged pressure cooker that never detonated found just four blocks away. >> better safe than sorry. so i went upstairs and called 911 and they responded immediately. >> reporter: earlier that day, in seaside, new jersey, investigators believe rahami planted an ied along the route of a charity race. the bomb exploding before the event got under way. >> okay, we need to shut down this run.
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>> reporter: then this morning, a third explosion less than a mile from rahami's home. two homeless men alerted police after stumbling upon a backpack in a trash can filled with five explosive devices. this blast accidentally triggered by the bomb squad. it was near a busy rail line and pub, all evacuated. an act of terror, say police, but for now, this is their only suspect. a wanted man, now in custody. with police still scouring the crime scene here, they say it's incredible how quickly this case has begun to wrap up, in about 48 hours. they credit the public for leading them not only to the suspect but also to the explosive devices that could have killed so many people. lester? >> all right, miguel almaguer, let's talk more about the suspect, ahmad rahami. authorities revealing new details about his past, including multiple trips to afghanistan and evidence he may have been radicalized.
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this, as they continue to search for a motive. we get more from nbc's richard engle. >> reporter: born in afghanistan, ahmad khan rahami lived in elizabeth, new jersey, a working class, ethnically mixed city outside of new york. he graduated from edison high school. classmates say he didn't make much of an impression there. he went on to middlesex county college, studied criminal justice, but dropped out. the rahamis own a fried chicken restaurant. ahmad worked the fryer, according to moses karnub. >> when you say he looked mad, he just had an angry expression, or he was quick to get into fights or arguments? >> no, he just kind of had that face that he always looked mad. >> reporter: the restaurant was not popular with some neighbors who complained it was too loud, open too late. the police were often called in. the family filed a federal lawsuit five years ago, alleging they were being harassed. muslims make too much trouble in this country, they claimed a neighbor said.
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they claimed in that lawsuit they were being persecuted because they were muslims. >> this lawsuit had nothing to do with ethnicity or anything to do with religion or religious beliefs. >> reporter: but was it a dispute over the family business that enraged ahmad or something else? u.s. intelligence officials tell nbc news, ahmad, his father and brother, traveled to pakistan and afghanistan multiple times over the last decade. a senior u.s. intelligence official said ahmad and other members of his family had become, quote, radicalized, and that social media accounts under pseudonyms praised the american-born extremist cleric anwar al awlaki, killed by a u.s. drone strike in yemen in 2011. but before today, ahmad was mostly unknown and not on a watch list. authorities are now investigating what other members of the family may have known and did they radicalize each other? lester? >> richard engel, thank you, richard.
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this investigation moved remarkably fast due to some lucky breaks, help from the public, and some very fast detective work. nbc news justice correspondent pete williams is tracking the terror trail. >> reporter: the first break comes saturday morning in seaside park, new jersey, where a 5k charity race is late starting. a device consisting of three pipe bombs fizzles, blowing up only partly. still largely intact, it's rushed to the fbi crime lab near washington. the second break comes that night after a bomb goes off in new york city. police searching the neighborhood find an unexploded pressure cooker bomb on the street. it too is sent to the fbi lab. investigators say analysts find a fingerprint on it. a search of databases gets a hit to ahmad rahami. next break, officials say, both the unexploded devices are wired to cellular flip phones acting as timers and the phones yield more clues pointing to rahami, and both phones were bought in the same new jersey discount store last year. meantime, investigators in new
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york find surveillance video showing a man who appears to be rahami at both spots where bombs were planted in new york. all of that leading the fbi to make this announcement. >> we have directly linked rahami to devices from new york and from saturday in new jersey. >> reporter: for now, rahami is held on local gun charges stemming from this morning's shoot-out, while federal prosecutors build their case. >> we're going to take a lot of care and time to make sure if we bring charges federally in the manhattan district court that we do it in a way that's careful and thorough. 6 >> tonight rahami is being held on state charges of attempted murder of police officers. his bond has been set at $5 million. lester? >> all right, pete williams, thank you. now to another major terror investigation under way tonight in st. cloud, minnesota. isis has claimed responsibility for a stabbing rampage that left nine people injured inside a shopping mall. our blake mccoy is there with new details about the attacker who was killed in a daring takedown. >> reporter: tonight
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praise for jason falconer, an off-duty police officer being hailed a hero for shooting and killing a knife-wielding attacker inside a minnesota mall. >> i believe there was divine intervention. i think he was the person that needed to be there, to prevent it from being worse than it was. >> reporter: the ten people injured in saturday's attack have all been released from the hospital as focus intensifies on the lone attacker identified by family and friends as 22-year-old dahir adan, a somali american immigrant, college student and part-time, private security officer, said to have referenced allah, as he began stabbing eight men, one woman, and a 15-year-old girl. >> shots fired. and then people stabbed. >> he stood about ten feet in front of me, brandishing his knife. i begged him, don't kill me. please don't do this. >> reporter: isaiah was stabbed in the back and said his pregnant girlfriend barely got away. >> i ran after him, screaming "don't touch her, she's pregnant." from me screaming, he
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kind of turned around to me at me, and slightly missed her. >> reporter: today police are pushing back against a claim in isil media that he was acting as a soldier for the islamic state. do you have any evidence at this point that the suspect was tied to isil? >> as i talk to you today, sir, i have not -- we have not uncovered anything to make a nexus to the claim that isis made. >> reporter: tonight the mall is back open, a motive still unclear. blake mccoy, nbc news, st. cloud, minnesota. as you might imagine, the incidents in new york, new jersey, and minnesota are reverberating through the presidential campaign. and donald trump and hillary clinton taking aim at each other in what amounts to a realtime test of how they'd approach a crisis on their watch. nbc's andrea mitchell has more on the bitter political battle. >> reporter: tonight the contrast could not be more dramatic. >> today, we have caught this evil thug who planted the bombs. >> reporter: donald trump blaming this weekend's attacks on
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obama and clinton immigration policy and saying police should start profiles. >> hillary clinton talks tougher about my supporters than she does about islamic terrorists. >> reporter: while hillary clinton going after trump claiming his rhetoric about muslims is helping isis recruit terrorists. >> we're going after the bad guys and we're going to get them. but we're not going to go after an entire religion and give isis exactly what it's wanting. >> reporter: voters in a recent poll say she would be a better commander in chief. trump leads her on handling terrorism. >> just before i got off the plane, a bomb went off. >> reporter: today bragging, he called the new york explosion a bomb even before police did. >> i was criticized for calling it correctly. what i said was exactly correct. i should be a newscaster because i called it before the news. >> reporter: and clinton losing ground with young voters, today using trump to try to make her case. >> we need everyone off the sidelines. not voting is not an option. that just plays into trump's hands.
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>> reporter: tonight both candidates in new york, meeting with foreign leaders, trying to look presidential, one week ahead of the first debate. lester? >> andrea mitchell, thanks. turning to new heartbreak in syria, now, where the u.n. says an aid convoy has been bombed, after a week-long ceasefire between syrian government forces and rebels came to an end before desperately needed supplies could arrive for thousands of civilians caught in the crossfire. tonight our bill neely is inside aleppo. >> reporter: at sunset, syria declared the ceasefire over. and warplanes hit aleppo. rebel areas, pounded. the dead and injured filling hospitals tonight. but this was a ceasefire in name only. frontline enemies exchanging fire, in a city torn apart by a war that's not ending. this commander tells me the rebels broke the cease-fire. rebels blame the regime. in the middle,
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families, fleeing the fighting and the lack of food in rebel areas. the aid they were all promised in the u.s./russia cease-fire deal never came. this is the front-line road the aid convoy should have taken to get into the besieged area of east aleppo. but that hasn't happened, and many rebels say, it never will. so they are left under siege with so little. we have no food, no water, he says, nothing. the road to peace here now seems an empty one. tonight in aleppo, dozens of explosions and air strikes. the u.n. says an aid convoy has been bombed. the syrian red crescent confirming its vehicles were hit. casualties, and who did that, unknown. lester? >> thank you, bill neely in syria. still ahead tonight, homemade bombs and the huge threat they pose right here in america. why these explosives that are shockingly easy to make are so hard for law enforcement to track. also, she's a human rights warrior with a famous last name. a rare interview with
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amal clooney about her toughest battle yet.
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for years, we've heard about ieds, or improvised explosive devices, used against american troops overseas. but as we saw over the weekend in new york and new jersey, they pose a threat here at home too. literally homemade, using off-the-shelf and seemingly innocent household items, they present a huge challenge to law
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enforcement. nbc's tom costello has more. >> reporter: from street cops in new york to tsa viper teams in train stations and airports, law enforcement on the lookout for the types of homemade bombs used in new york and new jersey. explosives experts say the pressure cooker bomb found on the street in new york, and the pipe bombs in new jersey, appear taken right out of al qaeda's online instruction manual. >> this is specifically and exactly what al qaeda has instructed people to do. >> reporter: and very similar to the bombs that detonated at the boston marathon in 2013, killing three and injuring 264. the surviving boston bomber admitted he and his brother learned how to build the bombs by reading al qaeda's instructions. just last spring, the fbi demonstrated how easily homemade ingredients can be turned into an explosive. asking hardware and gun shops to report anyone buying large quantities. >> they may be innocuous purchased one at a time. but when you see folks taking an arm full of them in their cart,
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they may be up to no good. >> reporter: but the suspect may be a loner who doesn't attract attention. >> he's a home-grown type individual who is in his basement playing with the computer, who might be radicalized. >> reporter: as for the homemade bomb ingredients -- >> it's almost impossible to totally regulate that they could cook up as bathtub gin some mixture to put in a bomb. >> reporter: pressure cookers, bolts, screws, chemicals, black powder, it's all legal and common, rarely dangerous and rarely suspicious on its own. tom costello, nbc news, new york. we're back in a moment with the uproar over an unarmed father shot by police, and it's all caught on camera.
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there's growing outrage tonight after police released dramatic video of a white officer fatally shooting an african american man in tulsa, oklahoma. today the police chief confirming that man was unarmed and is now promising a full investigation. nbc's gabe gutierrez has details.
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>> reporter: the shooting friday evening seen from multiple angles. tulsa police officers responding to an unrelated call when they spot terence crutcher's stalled suv. police say he approaches officers when they arrive but refuses to follow their commands. >> i've got a subject who won't show me his hands. >> reporter: aerial video shows crutcher has his hands up as he walks back to his vehicle. one officer deploys his taser, another fires her weapon, killing crutcher. >> shots fired! >> we saw that terence did not have a weapon. we saw that terence did not make any sudden movement. >> the 40-year-old crutcher was a father of four. his twin sister is devastated. >> his life mattered. his life mattered. >> reporter: tonight the officer who fired her weapon, betty shelby, is on paid administrative lead. >> we will achieve justice in this case. >> reporter: the department of justice has also opened a separate civil rights investigation. gabe gutierrez, nbc news.
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on a lighter and more positive note, a race that pitted brother versus brother ended with brother helping brother during a triathlon in mexico yesterday. the uk's jonny brownlee was in the lead and succumbed to dehydration. his older brother alistair giving up his shot to win, propped jonny up and helped him run the rest of the way, with a second place finish. when we come back, our exclusive with amal clooney, why her new mission is the most charl challenging in her storied career. next at 6: dog owners fear for
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the lives of their pets. ===jess/vo=== what's making them hesitant to go on walks. and why they say kids are at risk too. ===raj/vo=== plus...a tough lesson about travel insurance. nbc bay area responds. what to do before signing on the dotted line. ===raj/next close=== next. ==raj/take vo== right finally tonight, two courageous women taking on isis in a very different kind of battlefield. the courtroom. one of them is a survivor of isis brutality. the other an international human rights lawyer with a famous last name. amal clooney. nbc's cynthia mcfadden has their story of bravery. >> reporter: you may not be able to measure courage, but you know what you are in its presence. nadia murad has courage. she survived being captured by isis, having her six brothers murdered, and her mother. and the terror of being gang-raped. >> she's incredibly eloquent, and incredibly strong. >> reporter: amal clooney was so inspired by her, she
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became her lawyer. >> reporter: you brought her home, i understand? >> yes, we sat on the floor for a couple of hours and just spoke about it. >> reporter: and from then on, you knew you were going to do this? >> yeah. >> reporter: no matter the price? clooney has courage too, because together they are taking on isis. traveling the world, taking the testimony of survivors, making their case against isis with world leaders. >> i believe in international justice. i believe it's important that you don't just turn the page without people being held to account. >> reporter: as the nazis were held to account at nuremburg. >> charged with mass crimes against humanity. >> reporter: they want isis commanders on trial for genocide, crimes isis brags about committing against the yazidis. a religious minority from northern iraq. 5,000 of them have been slaughtered. and 3,200 are still enslaved. >> i can't imagine anything worse being done by one human to another. >> reporter: we know that even in the last few days, you've received new threats from isis.
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>> translator: yes, i put my own life at risk, but i don't have a life without giving hope to other victims. >> reporter: you put your life at risk as well. >> i don't think anyone can feel that they're being courageous compared to what nadia is doing. it's no joke. this is isis, and they've sent her really specific threats, saying, we will get you back. this is a direct quote. we'll do everything to you. >> reporter: and yet so far the world community has failed to act. nadia pushed u.n. delegates this morning, asking if beheadings and child rape doesn't move you to act, when will you? and what about you? how did you make this decision? >> she made me make the decision, because i met her and i just thought, i can't walk away from this. >> reporter: the courage of an iraqi farm girl, and the woman who has pledged to fight, by her side. cynthia mcfadden, nbc news, new york. and that will do it for us on a monday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and
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goodnight. disturbning details -- more officers in trouble. a new round of accusations in the sex abuse scandal involving this bay area teenager. ==raj/2-shot== thanks foroining us on is monday evening, i'm raj mathai. ==jess/2-shot== we'll get to that srin a bit-- thanks for joining us on this monday evening. >> but first, developing story at this hour, sluggish evening commute, this is what it looked like on the peninsula. big rig carrying gravel flipped over spilling gravel across all the lanes. near the magdalen exit.
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you can see the traffic mass. there was a ten-mile back up still, just a huge mess. we'll continue to track this throughout the evening. >> the 88-year-old san jose woman continues to recover tonight, one week after that brutal beating inside of her home, today, prosecutors revealing to us, more details about the crime. they say the 19-year-old suspect was trying to kill her. joining us from the hall of justice in san jose where the teenager made his first court appearance. did he say anything? >> reporter: no, just his lawyers spoke for him today. it was a public defend shall. they're becoming increasingly disturbed of what the suspect is accused of doing to their grandmother. he was shackled. the


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