tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC December 8, 2016 4:00pm-4:31pm PST
breaking news tonight. the passing of an icon. john glenn, war hero turned astronaut, the first american to orbit the earth, the last of the mercury seven. a distinguished u.s. senator, dead at the age of 95. tonight we bid him god speed. siberian express, the deep freeze turns deadly in a huge highway pileup. treacherous conditions about to get worse, with temperatures set to plunge even lower. mumps outbreak, hitting campuses all across the country. cases sky rocketing on a ten-year high. a warning for families as college students head home for the holidays. and hatchimals hysteria, they're the must-have gifts of the season, and parents are cracking up, just trying to find them. "nightly news" begins right now.
from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. i'm tamron hall, in for lester. he was the last of america's first astronauts. john glenn, the former astronaut and u.s. senator has died in ohio at the age of 95. tonight, he is being remembered not just for what he accomplished, but also for what he helped the nation believe about dreaming beyond the stars. tributes are pouring in tonight, including from president obama, who said, the last of america's first astronauts, has left us, but propelled by their example, we know that our future here on earth compels us to keep reaching for the heavens. on behalf of a grateful nation, god speed, john glenn. tom costello has more on his extraordinary life.
>> five, four, three, two, one, zero. >> reporter: john glenn was more than an american hero. for more than half his life, he was a 20th century icon, perhaps best known for what happened on february 20th, 1962. >> two, two, one, zero. >> reporter: the first american to orbit the earth and put america back in the space race with the soviet union. >> roger, zero g and i feel fine. oh, the view is tremendous. >> reporter: the late t.j. o'malley was at the nasa controls that day. >> range operations, go. the green light is on. >> reporter: until he died, he kept the button he pushed to send glenn into orbit. >> i hit that button and said, may the good lord ride all the way. >> god speed, john glenn. >> reporter: john glenn returned to a hero's welcome. and invitations to
address congress. >> as our knowledge of this universe in which we live increases, may god grant us the wisdom and guidance to use it wisely. >> reporter: his roots were always firmly planted in ohio, born in cambridge, went to a local college and married his childhood sweetheart annie. he flew combat missions in world war ii. he shot down three migs in korea. in 1997, a coast-to-coast super sonic record, los angeles to new york in less than three and a half hours. >> these are the men who -- >> reporter: then the early days of the astronaut corps, later immoralalized in the movie "the right stuff." >> glenn was someone who could walk down the street in mid town manhattan, and have cabbies say, hey, john, how you doing? >> reporter: after a career in business, glenn was elected to the u.s. senate in his home state of ohio in 1974. >> john glenn needs you. >> reporter: and made an unsuccessful run for the presidency in
1984. then in 1998, nasa came calling again. at the age of 77, john glenn got his wish to return to space, aboard the shuttle discovery. >> booster ignition, and lift-off of discovery. >> reporter: astronaut steve robinson was on the same mission. >> he savored the whole thing. he didn't make a big poetic deal about it at all. john glenn was the most honest and straightforward and clear-thinking individual you can imagine. >> reporter: a lifetime of achievement and national service, honored with both the congressional gold medal and the presidential medal of freedom, the country's highest civilian awards. >> john her shell glenn, pilot, astronaut, businessman, husband, and father. and an marriage original. tom costello, nbc news, washington. we make a turn to a dangerous blast of winter weather and a deadly pileup in michigan, in treacherous whiteout conditions.
as the siberian express sends temperatures plunging. al roker will be here in a moment, but first details from nbc's kristen dahlgren. >> reporter: in michigan today, the deep freeze turned deadly. >> we have onstar reporting a 30-vehicle crash, with injuries. >> reporter: three people killed, when dozens of cars piled up in whiteout conditions. traffic snarled for miles. >> almost collided into an suv myself. >> reporter: survivors lucky to walk away from the tangled mess. >> the ground was getting wet, compounded with the snow white-out, i think were all contributing factors. >> reporter: another multi-vehicle accident near erie pennsylvania, shut down parts of interstate 90 and sent several people to the hospital. in upstate new york, a funnel cloud. along with blowing snow and slippery roads. >> we had to drive really slow. >> reporter: even the professionals had trouble. some areas could see more than two feet of this lake-effect snow. >> i'm going back and
i'm going to get back in the house where it's warm. >> reporter: out west, another storm system, places like salem and portland, oregon, under a blanket of snow and ice. schools and city offices closed and flights canceled. an arctic blast, hitting hard across much of the country. walla walla, washington, just 16 degrees this morning. boulder dropped to 3, and casper, wyoming, a bone chilling 30 below. that's 44 degrees lower than normal. and it's far from over. the polar vortex could plunge temperatures even lower next week. tonight the snow piles are growing, along with the realization winter is just getting started. and some places here in upstate new york have already seen more than a foot of snow, tamron. as for the major pileups, crews say they'll be working well into the night to get those cleaned up. >> thank you very much. al roker is here, it's cold and it's about to
get dangerous for a lot of people. >> that's right. and we've got to get rid of this lake-effect snow that's coming across all five great lakes and dumping a lot of snow in a very quick period of time. through saturday morning, we expect to see the leeward side of lake superior, one to two feet. same at lake erie. two feet or more for lake ontario. another storm coming onshore in the pacific northwest. with rain and snow, it's going to be a fast-mover. it will continue across the country. minneapolis, omaha, green bay, chicago, cleveland, into new york city by sunday morning, bringing snow and rain and slick roads. an air mass that begins up in siberia, makes its way down into the plains, 20 to 30 degrees below average, coldest on wednesday, next wednesday in chicago, 6, 34 in nashville, thursday in new york city, 29 degrees. and tamron, winter doesn't start officially for another 13 days. >> al, thank you very much. breaking news tonight from georgia.
a second police officer has died after an altercation that sent authorities on a massive manhunt to catch a killer. it all came to a dramatic and violent end today. we get more now from nbc's kerry sanders. >> reporter: tonight, a georgia community in mourning. shortly after americus georgia police officer nick smarr's flag-draped coffin arrived at the funeral home, word that a second officer had now died. georgia southwestern state university officer jody smith, who had clung to life for a day, died in the intensive care unit. the two, best friends. >> jody was there for nick. he heard him dispatched to that call, he knew he was nearby, and he responded. >> reporter: the two cops were childhood buddies, went to the police academy together. both killed by minquell lembrick. late this morning, following an intensive manhunt, a dramatic conclusion, 26 hours after the gunman shot both officers and went
on the run, it ended with a self-inflicted gunshot. the cop killer, desperate and holed up in the back room of a house, three miles from the initial shooting committed suicide. lem brook had a lengthy record 32 pages long. >> he was a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and he wreaked havoc on this community. >> reporter: investigators say smarr and smith each got off one shot even after they were blindsided by the gunman while responding to a domestic dispute call. the police chief said the incident was captured on a body cam. >> it tells us they both did exactly what they're trying to do, and what they were supposed to do. >> reporter: both officers were to be married soon. officer jody smith, engaged to his best friend, officer nick smarr's sister. tonight, their families and fiancees here at the hospital are devastated. tamron? >> kerry sanders, thank you. a student remains in critical condition after his alleged role in a terrifying
incident at a nevada high school. video appears to show him swinging knives before he was shot by a campus police officer, who is now on routine administrative leave as our stephanie gosk explains. it's reignited the debate over how to best protect our nation's schools. >> reporter: the scary scene at hug high school in reno started as a fight between students. in a cell phone video, a 14-year-old freshman with a bloodied face, swung two knives as students circled. an armed school officer confronted him. the officer fired a single shot. the 14-year-old dropped to the ground. >> he just shot the kid. >> reporter: amy hacinto has two daughters at the high school. >> i think the cop did what he needed to do to protect the other students around that were in danger at the time. >> reporter: today the superintendent commended the medical and safety response. >> both of those plans worked flawlessly.
>> reporter: but a lawyer for the family of the injured students is raising questions about the use of lethal force. we believe options were available to law enforcement that were not pursued. the incident here in reno fuels an ongoing debate over the level of security needed in our schools. on the rise since the 1999 shooting at columbine high school. 43% of public schools now have some form of security personnel. 16,700 high schools have armed officers at least once a week. dj is a friend of the student who was shot. >> i think the police are way out of line for having lethal rounds at school. >> but he had knives. he was threatening kids, potentially. >> 4,000 volts of electricity from a taser gun would have dropped that kid. >> reporter: protecting students in moments like this is everyone's priority. but as violencea campuses increases, we still don't agree on the best way to do it. stephanie gosk, nbc news, reno nevada. now to the presidential transition, another
major cabinet pick from president-elect trump is drawing scrutiny tonight. this time his nominee to lead the labor department. meantime, there's new fall-out after the president-elect went after a union boss on social media. nbc's katy tur has all the latest. >> reporter: on high in trump tower, the president-elect is filling out his cabinet. today with an eye on jobs, jobs, jobs. fast-food billionaire andrew puzder is trump's pick for labor secretary. and another potentially problematic confirmation. the ceo of carl's jr and hardee's, puzder said raising the federal minimum wage means cutting jobs. >> when you raise the cost of hiring low-skilled and young workers, you really price them out of their jobs. >> reporter: puzder is also open to automation, saying last spring, machines, unlike people, never take a vacation, they never show up late, and never file suit. some democrats called it a war on labor.
>> the president-elect's heading in the direction of the bosses, not of the workers. >> reporter: this as trump who sold himself as a champion of the american worker is attacking a union leader, tweeting chuck jones has done a terrible job representing workers, after jones accused trump of lying when he said he saved carrier jobs from going to mexico. >> the people were probably with the understanding they were going to have a job. because trump, pence, or nobody else said 550 jobs are going to mexico. he had to announce -- we had to announce that the next day so that people would understand. >> reporter: trump bragged he saved 1,100 jobs, while jones who says he's now being threatened by trump supporters, said the number is closer to 800. carrier agrees. on the factory floor, mixed emotions. for jasmine jones, disappointment after learning her job wouldn't be saved. >> it's like a bombshell. very disappointing. >> reporter: earlier today, donald trump
visited ohio state to meet with the victims of the stabbing there. tonight he'll continue his thank you tour here in iowa. this as mgm confirms that donald trump will remain as an executive producer of "the apprentice" when it returns to air next year. tamron? >> katy, thank you very much. hillary clinton was back in the public eye today after mostly laying low post election. clinton received a standing ovation from former senate colleagues at an event for retiring senate minority leader harry reid. she called fake news an epidemic that needs to be addressed and got a laugh when she joked about her recent photo on a hike in the woods. still ahead, it's highly contagious and spreading rapidly. what's behind the worst mumps outbreak in a decade. and why you should be especially concerned if you have a child in college. also, convenience or annoyance. the debate over what the government may start allowing on passenger planes. se is out there.
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hatchimal. we are back now where a health alert. cases of mumps have hit a ten-year high according to the cdc. it's spreading on college campuses as kids are buckling down for finals. now new concerns it could spread even more when the students come home for the holidays. here's nbc's anne thompson. >> reporter: the mumps virus, the scourge of american schools. from college campuses in new york -- >> obviously don't share drinks. >> reporter: -- to
elementary schools outside dallas. >> pumps is highly contagious. so it's kind of a new wrinkle. >> reporter: this mumps outbreak covers almost every state. 332 cases in counting. with flu-like symptoms, mumps is spread by infected saliva, where young people live, play, and learn in close quarters. >> they're sometimes started by those who are under-vaccinated or unvaccinated, and they're sustained by some who have waning immunity to the vaccine protection we're able to afford. >> reporter: the vaccine works. the cdc says one dose is 78% effective and two doses, 88%. but over time, the effectiveness may diminish. >> so when you think about college students, it's been 10, 15 years since they had their kindergarten dose of vaccine. >> reporter: the university of missouri is urging its students to get a third dose of the vaccine. it's seen 193 cases this semester, including freshman claire colby. >> my face was
swollen, i had a fever. >> reporter: mumps don't respond to antibiotics. claire was confined to her dorm room for five days. her roommate moved out. >> i think more than anything, people are scared about getting sick, because no one has time to get sick right now. >> reporter: to stop the spreed, along with vaccinations, doctors say cover your sneeze and cough and wash your hands, to ensure a healthy end to the year. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. we're back in a moment with why congratulations are in order tonight for rock icon mick jagger.
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tell 'em cedric sent you. a new debate erupting tonight over whether passengers should be able to make phone calls during flights. the transportation department is reportedly proposing rules that would allow each airline to decide whether passengers can make in-flight phone calls, but it would also require airlines to tell customers before they buy a
ticket, in case they don't want to overhear cell phone conversation at 30,000 feet. for the first time in decades, life expectancy has fallen. americans are now expected to live on average, 78.8 years according to the cdc. that's a drop of more than a month, the first significant decline since 1993. what's to blame? the report cites an increase in eight of the ten leading causes of death, including heart disease and strokes. and baby makes eight for rock legend mick jagger. the 73-year-old rolling stones front man and his girlfriend melanie welcomed a baby boy today in new york. jagger already had seven children from their teens to their 40s. according to mick jagger's reps, both parents are delighted and mother and baby are doing well. when we come back, the must-have toy this holiday season, and the parents desperate to get their hands on it. "nbc nightly news" is brought to you by amazon prime.
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spending the day with my niece. that make me smile. i don't use super poligrip for hold, because my dentures fit well. before those little pieces would get in between my dentures and my gum and it was uncomfortable. even well fitting dentures let in food particles. just a few dabs of super poligrip free is clinically proven to seal out more food particles so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat. so it's not about keeping my dentures in, it's about keeping the food particles out. try super poligrip free. finally tonight, the shopping days are ticking away this holiday season. and there's one toy that seems to be on every child's list. they're nearly
impossible to find on shelves, though they're going for hundreds online. nbc's kevin tibbles joins some desperate parents on the hunt for the elusive hatchimal. >> reporter: way too cold and way too early, yet here they come. ♪ >> reporter: not pilgrims seeking the holy grail, but parents in search of one of these things, a hatchimal. >> i can't believe that we got one today. >> reporter: what is a hatchimal? funny, you should ask, it's an egg, that if cared for, eventually cracks open to reveal a little furry thing that your child will adore. >> she's going to be pretty excited on christmas morning. >> reporter: toy hysteria seems to happen every year around this time. there was the cabbage patch craze. >> there's no biting, kicking, scratching. >> reporter: tickle me elmo mania. >> elmo, elmo! >> reporter: and the furby frenzy. all driving parents to distraction.
>> i have been to every toys "r" us from here to timbuktu. but when greedy folks on ebay started jacking up the $60 price tag, hundreds of dollars, dottie of new jersey hatched a rant on youtube. >> have you no soul? do you not know what it was like to be a kid? i think it's wrong. it's wrong to take advantage of parents who just want to make their kids happy on christmas morning, i don't think you can put a price on that and you shouldn't. >> reporter: stores like toys "r" us are stocking the shelves and are wisely restricting sales to one per customer. good news for adorable, 18-month-old isabella. for her, a fuzzy thing in an egg is just too cool for words. [ squeals ]. >> reporter: kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. >> adorable. that will do it for us on this thursday night. don't forget, football
nbc sports, home of the olympic games, the nhl, premi league, the chase for the r sprint cup and primetime's number one show, "sunday night football," only on nbc. >> it is a frigid thursday t in kansascity. the nfc west, taking center stage. derek carr, in top form, dur the raiders' six-game winning streak. now, they face alex smith and the division-rival chiefs, who can take top spot in the division with a victory toni. >> do what we do. we're not letting up. >> division rivals. rooted