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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  September 1, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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curfew. jeff has more on this heat wave tonight at 6:00. >> records falling. see you then. tonight the incredible scope of devastation coming into focus as homeowners get their first look at what's left in texas. but tonight, officials are warning the danger is far from over, and gas prices spiking, fallout from the storm. fraternity death charges, a new twist in the case against frat brothers who didn't call for help while their friend was dying. critical decision, e fate of nearly 1 million young undocumented immigrants hanging in the balance as the president faces new pressure not to reverse the obama-era policy. nurse arrest outrage caught on camera in an emergency room, an officer roughing her up and cuffing her as she pleads for help. and off the ice, an american olympic star's surprise move just months before the games begin. "nightly news" begins right now.
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good evening, i'm peter alexander in tonight for lester. exactly one week after hurricane harvey began punishing the texas coast, millions of storm survivors are now grappling with unprecedented devastation left in its wake. on a day filled with too many home comings and more evacuations, tonight, texas's governor is warning some areas remain, in his words, deadly dangerous, with record-breaking flood waters. the death toll tonight, at least 38. that number that's certain to rise. 42,000 people are now living out of shelters. and the before and after pictures show how harvey changed the face of an entire region. we begin tonight with nbc's miguel almaguer in port arthur, texas. >> reporter: we have seen more water rescues today and as boats pull up,
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military planes are taking off overhead, dropping off evacuees hundreds of miles away, a sea of destruction both in and out of the water. for a city surrounded by flood water, tonight it's drinking water they desperately need. >> we're going to limit you to two gallons per family, okay? >> reporter: in beaumont, thousands waiting for hours, in critical need of dwindling supplies. >> we have nothing. we have no water. we ran out about three to four days ago. food, we have nothing. >> reporter: looking for anything that's left in a city losing ground. the flood waters could rise for another two days. thousands rescued in this city alone. this may be their last chance to leave. the young and elderly plucked from danger and dropped on to dry land. >> our house is definitely gone. cars were gone. we don't know what we're going to do. >> reporter: the u.s. navy on a search and rescue mission in
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texas. faces of the stranded, desperate for help, finally reaching safety. nearby port arthur is a swamp. rescue teams still going door to door. at shelters everywhere, thousands are pouring in, many loaded on to military planes and being sent hundreds of miles away. >> oh my god, it was hard. >> reporter: this family, with a group of ten children, has nowhere to turn. >> there's nothing we can do. i mean, we stay here, it's nothing -- what are we going to do? >> reporter: outside houston, another explosion at the arkema chemical plant today, knocked offline by the storm. safety concerns keeping thousands of evacuees away. a week ago, harvey made landfall, a landscape changed today. tonight, the weakened system still won't let go, now hitting tennessee. still, many more need help and remain out of reach.
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a region in peril, wading through disaster. miguel almaguer, nbc news, port arthur, texas. i'm gabe gutierrez in texas, where most of the water is gone, but the scope of this disaster is on full display. today, new voluntary evacuations for some neighborhoods on the west side of the city. the police chief says up to 20,000 homes could be flooded for 15 days. >> there's dangers of electrocution. there's dangers of structural compromise. it is not a safe place to remain. >> reporter: president trump planning to visit houston this weekend and signing a declaration making sunday a national day of prayer for harvey's victims. the mother of four children who drowned when their van was overcome by raging flood waters is speaking publicly for the first time. >> just i'm heartbroken. >> reporter: she's now planning the funeral for 16-year-old
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debbie, 15-year-old dominic, 8-year-old xavier and daisy, only 6. >> what do you want the world to know about your children? >> i just want them to know that they were happy kids, and they were loved by many people. >> fire department, welfare check. >> reporter: for days now, firefighters going door to door to check for anyone still trapped. >> fire hydrant. >> reporter: crews struggling to fight this blaze because the hydrant was under water. >> the water was coming in the front faster than the back, though. >> reporter: today, this family tried to salvage what they could. >> having to be rescued was the scariest thing we've ever done. >> reporter: among those displaced, hundreds of first responders. >> did you expect it to be this bad? >> no. no. >> reporter: houston police officer tim whittaker has been working nonstop since harvey hit. today, he showed us his home. ravaged by three feet of water. how long before this can all be cleaned up? >> i don't know the answer to that. a while.
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>> reporter: like most people here, he does not have flood insurance. across the region, there are more than 150,000 homes either damaged or destroyed, and there are reports of at least 20 people still missing. peter. >> gabe gutierrez in texas for us tonight. we have more now on the developing situation. another explosion at a chemical plant in crosby, texas, devastated by flooding. nbc's jacob rascon is there for us. jacob, give us a sense. what can you tell us? >> reporter: peter, exactly, just a few minutes ago, the situation they warned that might happen is happening. you have the firefighters getting out their air canisters and their masks, and you can tell by the smoke coming up, these are the flames that they said were happening a couple days ago and they warned would happen again. they have a half a million pounds of unstable chemicals in this plant. we were just told 30 seconds ago by an officer that people's throats are starting to burn near to the area and they're warning us that soon we'll have to get back.
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they're hoping that this doesn't lead to some sort of giant explosion, but this is what they were preparing for, peter. >> all right, jacob rascon with breaking news, as we watch it right now. thank you. regardless of where you live, if you drive, you've probably already seen the effects of hurricane harvey at the gas station. a large percentage of the nation's oil refineries remain shut down this evening, and that is sending pump prices higher nationwide. the question tonight, how long will it take for those refineries to recover? here's nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: hurricane harvey could not have picked a better place to inflict maximum damage on the nation's oil and gas industry. the latest tonight, that critical colonial pipeline carrying gasoline, diesel and jet fuel is open from louisiana to new york, but shut down in texas. operators hope to reopen the line on sunday, but 15% to 20% of the nation's refineries are still not functioning. corpus christi operations are resuming, but port arthur could be down for weeks. >> if the refineries are down for months, as opposed to weeks,
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we could see high prices even move up to, let's say, the $3 a gallon neighborhood. >> reporter: tonight, as millions of americans hit the road for the labor day weekend, the national average is now $2.53 a gallon. up 18 cents in just a week. but texas is running low. fuel trucks are pouring in while in dallas -- >> i've gone from one gas station to the next, and there hasn't been anything available. >> reporter: long lines with emotions running high. >> now that i've got up here to the pumps, they're saying they're out of gas. >> reporter: the ripple effect is spreading across the country with pump prices already near or above $3 in miami, los angeles, and atlanta. where they have gas but it's getting pricey. >> i just noticed it at the pump. so, they are up 50 cents from the other day, from a couple days ago. >> it's ridiculous. i was in sticker shock just a minute ago. when i pulled up. >> reporter: the prediction tonight, look for pump prices to climb another 15 to 35 cents on average, even more in areas where supplies are tight. tom costello, nbc
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news, bethesda, maryland. the remnants of hurricane harvey could bring up to 3 inches of rain across six states tonight. all eyes are also on powerful hurricane irma, currently a category 3 storm, forecasters say it could strengthen and could pose a threat to the u.s. at some point at the end of next week. tonight, there are major developments in the deadly hazing scandal at a penn state fraternity. a judge today dismissed the most serious charges in the death of a pledge who suffered traumatic brain injuries. the prosecutor says she will appeal and tonight the victim's parents say they believe that they'll still get justice for their son. ann thompson was in the courtroom. >> reporter: tim piazza's would be fraternity brothers will not be tried for the most serious charges. a district judge throwing out the aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter counts that could have sent eight of the young men to prison for years for the night of hazing and drinking that took piazza's life. >> not every tragedy should result in
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serious criminal charges. >> reporter: is this one of those tragedies? >> i think the videotape speaks for itself. anybody that watches it saw that the individuals in that house were responsible for our son's death. >> reporter: the house, beta theta pi. disturbing security video shows tim piazza severely intoxicated. twice he fell down a flight of stairs and had to be carried up. prosecutors say none of the frat members called 911 until almost 12 hours after piazza's first fall. >> we have a friend who's unconscious. >> there needs to be a deterrent. because we lost our son. >> reporter: 14 of the brothers will be tried on a variety of lesser charges, including hazing, crucial to tim piazza's parents. >> justice will mean more than punishment. it will mean deterrence as well. >> reporter: joe is one of four frat members that had charges dropped entirely. sitting between his mom and attorney, he says he left the house before it was obvious how much trouble piazza was in. >> tim was a friend. people tend to forget that and being accused
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of having a hand in that is a little -- makes it a little more rough. >> reporter: can you put this behind you? >> no. this isn't something i want to put behind me. this is something i want to remember for the rest of my life and learn from this. >> reporter: and what have you learned? >> i think about what i could have done that night to have a different outcome. >> reporter: the one thing everyone here wonders. ann thompson, nbc news, belfont, pennsylvania. a critical decision is coming within days on a controversial immigration issue. the white house says next week, president trump will announce whether he will end the deferred action for childhood arrivals program or daca, that allows undocumented immigrants brought as children to the u.s. to stay here. as our hallie jackson explains, nearly a million d.r.e.a.m.ers are anxiously awaiting what might be next. >> reporter: the day before harvey hit the coast, paramedic jesus contreras headed to work and hasn't stopped helping his neighbors since. he's a texan, after all. just look at the tattoo. he's also undocumented.
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a so-called d.r.e.a.m.er brought here by his mom when he was 6. >> we're literally on the ground helping people get back up. and we're getting our, you know, our butts handed to us by people, you know, upstairs in the white house and the president. >> reporter: president trump will decide by tuesday what will happen to d.r.e.a.m.ers like contreras. more than 780,000 of them, all protected by daca, an obama-era program that lets them work and go do school here for now. >> should d.r.e.a.m.ers be worried? >> we love the d.r.e.a.m.ers. we love everybody. >> reporter: but nine states are threatening to sue if the program is not cancelled by tuesday. multiple government officials tell nbc news, president trump's leaning toward ending the program but white house sources say some in the west wing worry about doing so now in the aftermath of harvey with people in texas and louisiana struggling. two states, home to an estimated 126,000 daca participants. some republican lawmakers say this decision should not be made from the oval office. for contreras,
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tuesday's announcement can't come soon enough. >> what's the president's message to jesus. >> this president is a president that loves people, and we are working on the best decision possible. >> having that extra burden of having your future toyed with and argued around like it's just some sort of political move, we're not here to do anything but work and give back to the community. >> reporter: at home in houston, watching washington and waiting. hallie jackson, nbc news, the white house. still ahead tonight, the shocking video of a police detective forcing a nurse out of the e.r. and into handcuffs. she says just for doing her job. also, surprise decision, why an american olympic star is walking away from the ice just months before the winter games.
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back now with an emergency room scene caught on camera. police officer roughly arresting and handcuffing a nurse who says she was just following the rules and doing her job. the video has sparked outrage nationwide and nbc's steve patterson spoke to that nurse about her ordeal. >> reporter: screams, pleas, and protests inside an emergency room. the cries of a nurse handcuffed, captured by hospital and police cameras. >> you're hurting me. >> then walk. >> reporter: the video that may have been edited shows alex wubbels being confronted by two salt lake city police
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officers in july. >> my heart was pounding, and i had red flags. my flags were already waving for minutes. >> reporter: wubbels says detective jeff pain demanded a blood sample from a truck driver after a fiery crash caused by another car fleeing police. >> this is something that you guys agreed to with this hospital. >> reporter: she objects, citing the hospital's policy that blood can't be taken without consent from the patient, a warrant, or a patient that is under arrest. that's when detective payne reacts. >> we're done. we're done. you're under arrest. we're done. >> sir, i have -- >> no! no! somebody help me. they're assaulting me. stop! stop! i've done nothing wrong. >> reporter: payne says she was interfering with the investigation, and that his commanding officer told him to make an arrest. today, the salt lake city police chief says he apologized to wubbels. and that detective payne has been placed on paid administrative leave. >> i want to be very clear. we take this very seriously.
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>> reporter: wubbels was detained for about 20 minutes before being released. >> they're officers of the peace, and this was by no means a peaceful process when it very much so could have been. >> reporter: a shocking arrest sparking outrage that nurse wubbels hopes leads to a positive change in the e.r. steve patterson. nbc news. and we're back in a moment with why today is a magic milestone for fans of harry potter.
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back now with that surprise announcement from an american olympic star. gracie gold, the figure skating champion who was the focus of so much attention at the 2014 games in russia says she's stepping away from the ice to seek professional help for unspecified issues, just months before the next winter games in south korea. of course a lot of people are rooting for her and we get the details from nbc's morgan radford. >> she just doesn't look like she wants to be out there. >> reporter: there was something not quite
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right when gracie gold was competing last october. wobb wobbly, uncertain, falling several times on the ice. now, with the olympics just five months away, the two-time national champion, one of the sport's biggest names, says she needs a break. in a statement to nbc news, "after recent struggles on and off the ice, i realize i need to seek some professional help and will be taking some time off." >> this is the time that olympic athletes are hunkering down and making sure that everything is in perfect shape. it is surprising that she chose now to do this. >> reporter: but since then, she switched coaches, moving across the country from los angeles to detroit, changes that she says created the perfect storm. >> all these little things were just -- they kept adding up and instead of addressing them, i just kind of was sweeping them under the rug. >> reporter: her announcement just four days after 19-year-old russian star yulia lipnitskaya announced she was retiring after a very public battle with anorexia. telling her critics, do i have to weigh 82 pounds for the rest of
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my life for you to be happy? >> image plays a big role in figure skating and you are also judged on how you look and that's the costume, the make-up, the hair style. >> reporter: the 2018 u.s. team won't be decided until january. >> she needs to find gracie gold. >> reporter: hopefully in time for the olympics, she will. morgan radford, nbc news, new york. a magical moment today for "harry potter" fans, hundreds gathered around the famed platform 9 3/4 sign at london's kings cross train station today because, i'm sure you knew this, september 1, 2017, is the fictional date when a grown-up harry potter sends his own son off to hogwarts to begin his wizarding studies. all of it happening in the epilogue set 19 years after the climactic events of the final book. when we come back, the week that we won't forget, the powerful, iconic images that will live on long after the flood waters recede.
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finally tonight, it was this time one week ago that texas was bracing for impact from hurricane harvey. the days since then, we've seen so many incredible images from the disaster zone. harrowing, many
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heartwarmi heartwarming. examples of the human spirit. here's our joe fryer. >> reporter: even in texas, where southern hospitality rules, harvey was an unwelcome guest from the beginning. he stormed ashore a week ago tonight, hurling spears of wind at 130 miles an hour, gusts strong enough to devastate coastal towns. then, with the persistence of a water fall, harvey dropped some 20 trillion gallons of water on the region. pictures of the growing flood were jaw-dropping but it's the images of the people we remember most like the deputy hauling two kids to safety at once or the rescuer carrying a mother who clutched her 13-month-old boy as he slept. >> i think it's just the fact of people helping people. everybody coming together. >> reporter: if these floods were biblical, then they were met by an army of arks. everyday folks who braved the flood waters to rescue strangers reuniting families like this one who had been separated for two days. >> god is good, y'all. god is amazing. >> reporter: and when hope seemed lost,
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angels with wings made of helicopter propellors swooped in. >> we were like so happy, like god had answered our prayer. ♪ >> reporter: on social media, this viral video shows a father surrounded by murky water, yet calmly playing the piano. the recording for his son to prove the instrument still worked. we've seen pizzas for flood victims deliver ed by kayak and furniture stores sheltering evacuees thanks to a businessman known as mattress mac. >> whatever we can do to help the people in need, that's what we're going to do. >> reporter: proof that southern hospitality is alive and well in texas as the waters recede and communities rise. joe fryer, nbc news, houston. powerful show of goodwill. we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this friday night. i'm peter alexander in for lester. we hope you have a great holiday weekend. for all of us at nbc news, thanks for watching and have a good night. we )re under a microclimate
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weather alert. the entire bay area .. .experiencing a right now at 6:00 we are under a micro climate weather alert. the entire bay area experiencing a dangerous heat wave. not even san francisco is spared hitting the hottest temperatures ever recorded. 106. the news at 6:00 starts right now. thanks for joining us. i am janelle wang. >> i am terry mcsweeney. this is a bay area wide event. >> everyone is on alert right
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now. firefighters, pg&e crews, schools, sports team. even people trying to avoid the heat by heading to the beach. they couldn't get away from the hot temperatures. ocean beach hits very high temps as well. tonight we have team coverage. >> in san francisco as we did talk, we have now updated the official high in san francisco to 106 degrees. that now makes it the hottest temperature ever experienced in downtown san francisco. last time it was close to this was 103 degrees back in june 2000. not only did we have the hot air moving in with the heat wave, but the smoke and haze pushing it across san francisco and adds a layer

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