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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 28, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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possibility. >> thank you very much. and thanks for watching. nightly news up next. >> sue you then. bye. tonight, the nation's biggest city is on high alert as it prepares for the world's biggest new year's event. what the police are doing to prevent a terrorist attack. the unprecedented security in new york and beyond. growing concern about a cold wave that has turned dangerous, deadly and continues to break records leaving much of the country under an icy siege that will last well into the new year. who killed four people in an apartment home in a brutal attack that's left a small city terrified and sad? two teenagers dramatically rescued. police drag them from a burning car. the officers being hailed as heroes. as recreational pot becomes legal in california, why some now worry the black market for marijuana will only grow. and one artist's
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personal mission and how it touches so many military families. this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. i'm craig melvin in for lester. believe it or not, in just three days we will celebrate the start of a new year. how we ring in 2018 will be shaped largely by things that happened in 2017. mass shootings nationwide and a suicide bombing attempt just steps away from where that iconic ball will drop are changing how law enforcement keeps everyone safe. we're not just talking about more officers on patrol and bomb-sniffing dogs. we start tonight with stephanie gosk at the site of america's biggest new year's eve party. >> reporter: tonight as the risers and barricades go up in times square, the new york police department announced it is taking new steps to protect the estimated 2 million people expected on new year's eve. >> as a result of the events of december 11th, we have prepared a tactical bulletin, a response to suicide bombers.
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>> reporter: the attempted suicide bombing on december 11th took place just steps away from times square in an underground walkway. in response to that failed attack, the nypd says training for officers for duty on new year's eve will include identifying would-be bombers, clearing crowds if they detect a threat, stopping the bomber with lethal force and treating the wounded if a bomb goes off. there will also be detectives in the many hotels surrounding times square after the october shooting in las vegas when a gunman fired rifles from a hotel window into a concert crowd below killing 58 people. the worst mass shooting in modern u.s. history. >> so in previous years we had spotters in elevated positions, but this year along with those spotters, they'll be accompanied by snipers. >> reporter: in new york, revelers will also see the kinds of security measures that have now become standard at big gatherings. sanitation trucks filled with sand, heavily armed
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counterterrorism units and vapor-sniffing dogs that can smell traces of explosives from a distance. measures that both protect and reassure. >> i think they've got it under control. nypd, they know what they're doing. >> reporter: there had been calls from isis to attack the u.s. over the holidays, as there have been in the past. new york city officials say it amounts to propaganda and so far they know of no serious credible threat against the city on new year's eve. craig? >> stephanie gosk not far from here there in times square. steph, thank you. another big concern this weekend here in new york and far beyond, the brutal cold wave that's going to continue right into the new year, apparently. meteorologist dylan dreyer is here. how frigid are folks going to have to deal with here? >> in new york city it is going to be extremely cold. we're forecasting 11 degrees by midnight on new year's eve. the wind chill down around zero. if that pans out, that will be tied for the second coldest new year's eve on record. the only colder year
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was 1917 when it was only 1 degree. the cold air will continue to settle in in the meantime, that arctic air pouring in from the north. tomorrow morning we're not looking a whole lot of wind. so temperatures will be similar to the actual air temperatures. so 11 in omaha, wind chill about 2 degrees. cleveland 11, tomorrow morning, the wind chill about 4. boston is one of those areas where it will be windier and feel like 12 below tomorrow morning. now, we are going to see some of the coldest air settle in on monday. look at pierre, south dakota, 23 degrees monday morning. chicago drops to 7 below. new york city we go from teens saturday and sunday to 7 degrees monday morning. the good news is monday we bottom out, then we'll start to turn the corner. still going to be cold but not that cold. >> that's pretty much the entire country. >> i mean, look at dallas. monday morning 19 degrees. >> dylan, thank you. this deep freeze caused all kinds of problems today and is now being blamed for at least two deaths. nbc's ron mott is following it all from chicago tonight. good evening to you.
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>> reporter: good evening, craig. those conditions dylan just mentioned have chicago firmly in its grasp tonight. we've got some light snowfall and about 13 degrees and falling. earlier today at midway airport they canceled nearly 90 flights as crews struggled to keep up with de-icing planes in this painfully cold air. brutally cold. >> it's bad. i wish i could go on vacation already. >> reporter: bone-chilling temperatures aren't going anywhere anytime soon. >> i might have dressed a little bit too light today. >> reporter: in minnesota, veterans of winter misery, waterfalls no longer falling, car accidents galore, nearly 500 by midday. in erie, p.a., the big digout from record snowfall continues. >> i'm running out of places to throw this snow. >> reporter: hospital staff spending the night, some getting a lift to work by the national guard. even nashville is singing the winter blues, below freezing much of the day. >> the middle of my body is very cold right now because i have no layers on. >> reporter: in
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chicago, this mail carrier has been at this for 20 years, layered for today's single-digit wind chill. rain, sleet, snow, ice. you guys have to be out here. what's it like? >> it's rough. they keep us prepared. and watching the weather. so that keeps us abreast of what's going on out here. >> reporter: so far one person has died in chicago during this cold snap. wind chills added to the misery. 30 below in glasgow, montana. 25 below in bangor, maine. international falls, minnesota, 23 below. that kind of cold makes hypothermia a real threat. symptoms -- intense shivering, slurred speech, sudden confusion, frostbite setting in on exposed skin in a matter of minutes depending on wind speed. in new hampshire, the mt. washington observatory set a daily record, a staggering wind chill of 89 below. and in new york city, fountains in midtown manhattan, mountains of ice. >> way too cold for me. >> reporter: a frigid party on tap at one of the biggest new year's eve celebrations on
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the planet. ron mott, nbc news, chicago. investigators in upstate new york are on the hunt for a killer who murdered two children, their mother and her partner in what's being described as a gruesome killing. it's a murder mystery with no leads and has people in troy, new york, on edge. nbc's gadi schwartz has details. >> reporter: this evening, police releasing pictures of the myers and mells family. two children, two adults, the victims of a mysterious killing. their bodies found a day after christmas in this basement apartment. those responsible still on the loose. >> after being in this business for almost 42 years, i can't describe the savagery of a person like this. >> reporter: 11-year-old jj and 5-year-old shanise and their mother shanta and brandi mells. shanta's sister is devastated. >> it feels like somebody's ripped us to shreds. >> reporter: police haven't released the details of the crime, but the local paper reported the family was bound and their
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throats slashed, according to law enforcement sources. >> we don't think there's just some madman running loose out there. there were indicators that led us to believe that this was a targeted act on this poor family. >> reporter: the quadruple homicide a haunting reminder of a similar family massacre in 2014, the chin family killed in their home less than ten miles away. but investigators say the two tragedies are unrelated. nevertheless, those who live in this city along the hudson are rattled and afraid. >> that's terrible. i don't feel safe around here anymore. >> reporter: now police trying to calm a community's fear while a family pleads for answers. >> i can tell you a million stories about my entire family, but it's not about them. this is about the answers that we deserve and we need. >> reporter: gadi schwartz, nbc news. in that disputed senate race in alabama election officials today declared democrat doug jones the winner, but republican roy moore refused to back down from his claims of election fraud.
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nbc's catie beck tonight. >> reporter: alabama has a new senator heading to washington. >> the certification was complete. >> reporter: but republican opponent roy moore is still not conceding, as he vowed on election night. >> it's not over, and it's going to take some time. thank you. >> reporter: state officials today certifying doug jones as the lawful winner of the alabama special election. jones, the first democrat to hold the seat in a quarter century, winning by nearly 22,000 votes. >> the people of alabama have spoken. >> reporter: but moore filed a legal complaint overnight claiming to be the victim of systematic voter fraud, questioning suspiciously high turnout numbers, demanding a new election. alabama's secretary of state dismissed the filing as did a state judge. >> the one thing that we were able to do is to confirm that our elections were safe, fair, secure, credible and had integrity. >> reporter: the
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secretary of state said his office investigated the fraud allegations, finding none legitimate. the eleventh hour move aligns with moore's unconventional campaign. a controversial ride, allegations of sexual misconduct with teenaged girls taking center stage, which moore still denies. in a statement saying, election fraud experts across the country have agreed this was a fraudulent election. i have no regrets. to god be the glory. the victory for jones means democrats are two seats away from taking back control of the senate. as for moore, no word on whether he'll contest the election further or if his fight is now officially over. catie beck, nbc news, atlanta. president trump spent this day in familiar territory, his mar-a-lago resort in south florida. turns out the president rarely ventures beyond properties he owns, whether in florida or beyond. we get more on that from chief white house correspondent hallie jackson. >> reporter: in south
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florida, mostly quiet on the west palm front, with some tweeting and some golf for president trump who's ventured beyond one of his own properties just twice this trip. once for a service and once to honor service. >> these are great people. >> reporter: like other presidents, he gets to pick where he wants to spend his working vacations. president obama had hawaii. president bush, his texas ranch. but unlike other presidents, donald trump picks places that he's profited from, and because he has not fully separated himself from his business, any government money spent there could ultimately end up in the president's pocket. of his 342 days in office so far he's spent 113 of them at a trump-branded property. that's about a third of his presidency at spots like his private resort in florida, his golf club in new jersey and the restaurant at his hotel back in washington. >> the trump hotel is certainly his safe space. he knows he can go there and be
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surrounded by his supporters. >> reporter: part of it may be that in democratic d.c., there's not always a warm welcome everywhere the president goes, and part of it may be this president prefers dinner in. >> i love the food in the white house. the white house is the greatest restaurant. >> reporter: the homebody president, as the associated press calls him, but come the new year maybe a new twist. >> they say, he should go to other places. and i never thought of it, and i'm going to start doing that. >> reporter: and something else, rather, is coming up for the president in 2018. a physical exam. we found out today, set to be conducted in two weeks by a military doctor. this will be the first formal look at the president's health after his personal doctor during the campaign said donald trump would be, in his words, the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency. craig? >> hallie jackson for us there in florida. thank you. some breaking news tonight. federal prosecutors say hackers in romania took over two-thirds
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of washington, d.c.'s outdoor police surveillance cameras. they did it in the days just before president trump's inauguration last january. a federal complaint unsealed today says the cameras were unable to record video for several days until the problem was resolved. prosecutors say it was a ransomware scheme. the alleged hackers were arrested earlier this month by romanian authorities. prosecutors will try to extradite two of them to the united states. two police officers in milwaukee are being called heroes tonight for their remarkable rescue of two teenagers trapped inside a burning car. the accident happened a day after christmas while the officers were on routine patrol. their body cameras captured the moments they risked their own lives to save others. national correspondent miguel almaguer has that story. >> reporter: the collision was so violent the speeding car flipped upside down spinning after slamming into a utility pole.
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flames quickly followed. and so did two dramatic rescues. teenagers pulled alive from the burning car. >> watch your foot! >> reporter: two milwaukee police officers first arrived, one teen made it out. >> crawl, crawl, crawl! >> reporter: his friends were still trapped inside. >> get back! >> we knew we had to get those kids out because of the fire. so that was our first instinct, get the kids out. >> back up, back up, back up! >> reporter: officers nicholas schlei and nicholas reed were running out of time. with fire spreading, the teenagers were trapped in the backseat and weren't responding. >> i knew the car had the potential to become engulfed. at the time that's not what we were thinking. we were thinking keep going until everybody's out. >> you guys back up! car's on fire! back up! >> reporter: with the boys unconscious they were pulled from the flames. >> we knew we were put in a position to help and that we were able to do that. i was thankful it turned out the way it did.
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>> reporter: tonight the teens are recovering. the officers are being hailed as heroes. known as the nick squad because they share a first name, on this night they arrived just in the nick of time. miguel almaguer, nbc news. still ahead tonight, as recreational pot becomes legal in california, we'll tell you why some expect the marijuana black market will get even bigger.
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come new year's day, california becomes the latest state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. but high taxes on pot sales may have already had a side effect -- fueling an already massive black market for marijuana in california. nbc's jacob soboroff has that story. >> reporter: in the foothills of the sierras, below sequoia national park, a narcotics task force is preparing for a raid. but they're not going after heroin or cocaine or even meth. they're looking for pot.
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how many of these groves are protected by weapons themselves? >> a pretty good portion of them. they're always worried about getting ripped off by people looking to steal their crop. so we've had a lot of shootings in this county. >> reporter: in january california will become home to the nation's largest legal pot industry. but the state's black market weed will still be a far bigger business. hey, lieutenant, looks like these are some big ones in here. see a bunch up there. what do you think? this is probably eight feet tall, right? >> about that. >> reporter: it's estimated california produces eight times more pot than is consumed here. most of that is trafficked across america. and today could be up to 80% of the black market weed consumed in the u.s. >> this is not a group of people growing marijuana for recreational use for themselves. >> reporter: or even with a medical card? >> no. this is typical of organized crime. >> reporter: so they're losing a lot of money today. >> yeah, they are. somebody's not going to be happy about this. so we have to get it out of here. just wrap it up pile
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by pile and manually drag it out. >> reporter: 50 or 60 pounds of weed on your back, and they've got a lot more to pick up still. raids like this one will continue after full legalization because illegal growers are still cashing in. jacob soboroff, nbc news, squaw valley, california. up next, apple's new apology and what it says it plans to do about slowing down all those older iphones.
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apple apologized today for slowing down the speed of older iphones and said it would never do anything to intentionally shorten the life of its products. today's statement followed apple's recent admission that, yes, it was slowing down the phones to compensate for aging batteries. apple said it would cut the price of replacement batteries from $79 to $29. many owners were outraged by the iphone slowdown saying they believe apple was pushing them to buy new phones. and in italy, a polish skier came in last today in a world
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cup downhill event, but what a performance it was. in the middle of his run, he lost his left ski, but that didn't stop him. he made it down the course on just one ski. it took him almost two minutes, and he didn't miss a gate. when we come back, an artist's mission and how it touches so many military families. before on the golden gate
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bridge. next at 6: we found out what the security prevented - that had nothing to do with terror. and dealing drugs with a drone. how undercover police took on these high tech drug dealers. that )s next finally tonight, we pay a return visit to a man we first met more than a decade ago. an artist in the seattle area who has found his real calling. he's preserving the memory of those who have served this country and made the ultimate sacrifice. his pay, just the thanks of grateful families. here's joe fryer.
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>> reporter: artist michael reagan begins each day early and begins each portrait with the eyes. >> something just said inside of me that this is going to have to be what i do. >> reporter: in 14 years he has sketched the eyes of thousands who have served in iraq and afghanistan and died. he then gives the art to their families for free. >> if i can spend a few hours sitting here at my drawing table and bring back a smile to a widow's face, how can i do anything else? >> reporter: reagan calls it the fallen heroes project. we first met him in the early stages of his venture back in 2006. >> what i'm trying to do with these people and these drawings is let these people know i care and i'll never forget them. >> reporter: at the time he had created 400 portraits. today the number tops 5,000. you said that you break your heart a little bit every day. >> every day. i hate the fact that i have to do this but love the fact that i am. >> reporter: his subject this day is staff sergeant donald may who died in a tank accident in iraq in
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2003. it was pretty clear he always wanted to be a marine? >> yes, he was always dressed like he was in the military. >> reporter: when he died, his wife deborah was pregnant with a son who never got to meet his dad until now. >> that's donald's son. >> reporter: in this portrait, reagan is drawing two sets of eyes. >> they don't know that this is what's coming. they think it's just a picture of donald. >> reporter: once finished the artwork travels 900 miles to suburban utah where, after 14 years, the may family finally has a picture of father and son. within seconds their eyes are drawn to his. >> it looks just like him. that's his totally his eyes. >> reporter: for deborah, it's something she never thought she'd see again, a new picture of her husband courtesy of a truly devoted artist. >> he brought him home. his eyes are perfect. it feels like i'm looking at him.
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so he brought him home. >> reporter: joe fryer, nbc news, south jordan, utah. and that is "nightly news" for this thursday night. i'm craig melvin in for lester. for all of us at nbc news, thanks for watching and good night.boosting patrols at the t famous san francisco landmark. the reason security is tighter than ever at the golden gate bridge. patrols at the famous san francisco landmark, the reason the security is tighter than ever at golden gate bridge. good evening, the news at 6:00 starts right now. janelle wang. >> and terry mcsweeney. raj and jessica have the night off. the boosting security at the golden gate. crowds of people pile into san francisco for the new year and nbc bay area sam brock joins us by the bridge appear and boost in patrols that's been building for a while now.
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>> reporter: terry, that is exactly right. bridge patrol staff, a third higher than at this time that year. it started in the name of suicide prevention. and thesk effective in preventing suicide. far more this year than last. but there is added overall benefit for visitors. greater security. the fbi just stopped an alleged attack. given the sheer profile of san francisco's golden gate bridge it might make for an obvious target for sben intending to do harm. luckily surveillance has singed up with the times. >> it's an icon. there are a lot of people from all over the world. and there are people to protect. i think it's worth ever investment for security. >> reporter: the bridge is the perfect back drop for photo ops. but historically a magnet for people looking to end life.

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