tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC October 2, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
>> glenn, thank you very much. for all of us at nbc 10, i'm keith jones. the news continues now with nbc nightly news. tonight, the massacre on campus here in oregon. new information about the gunman and his arsenal of weapons. his hate-filled message left at the scene. tonight the victims and survivors of another senseless tragedy, the army veteran shot while protecting others and the president frustrated and furious. also the flood emergency from north to south. a historic deluge for days. warnings of a potential disaster along the eastern seaboard. and tonight, rescues at sea and the research for a missing boat with dozens on board. and, what really happened in that meeting between the pope and the kentucky clerk fighting same-sex marriage? a surprise pushback from the vatican and news of another private meeting we didn't know about until now.
"nbc nightly news" begins right now. good evening. behind me is the postcard image of which the people of the roseberg, oregon, area are justifiably proud. but at the top of the hill and surrounded by trees ab cut off by police is a scene of horror. the umpqua community college campus where nine innocent lives were taken in a mass shooting. last night president obama spoke in frustrated tones about the routineness of mass shootings in the country and the fear we have become numb to them. but nothing in the last 30 hours have become the same. because this national nightmare has come to thur team. our team on the ground is working the story. miguel almaguer begins
our coverage. >> unconfirmed report that he has a long gun. >> reporter: the first calls for help came at 10:38 a.m. what followed on the college campus was nine minutes of terror. >> i'm very lucky. there is some people that didn't make it out of there. >> reporter: 17-year-old sara cobb held in a neighboring classroom, next to the professor's writing lass when chris harper mercer began shooting students and staff. >> i was terrified. absolutely terrified. >> didn't know if i would be alive or get shot. >> reporter: armed with six guns including a rifle, mers he had body armer and extra ammunition. >> we may never completely determine what the motive was but we'll certainly look everywhere. >> one witness said the shooter was calm and asking students what their religion
was before opening fire. >> everybody was screaming, get underneath the table. one guy ran out of the classroom and i believe he got shot. >> reporter: it was chaos. two officers engaged mercer who was killed in the gunfire. as police secure the campus, students were checked for weapons and bused to the faft of the fair grounds where parents were waiting for words, was their child alive. the college president said no one could have anticipated this. >> it is like carnage in this. >> reporter: tonight the names of the dead were released. nine innocent victims. jason johnson was 34 and was his fourth day at school. >> i wish that i would have said don't go. in i knew what i know now. >> reporter: at a vigil, hundreds mourn the dead. >> he was there for me when i really, really needed him. he was there when i was sad. >> reporter: nine others were wounded.
among the hurt, chris mitz is being called a hero. >> he was trying to block the shooter. >> an army veteran and young father said to have rushed the gunman and may have saved lives. the victims are all seriously injured but expected to survive. as for the dead, they range in age from 18-67. the youngest was a freshman, the oldest was the professor here and late tonight we learned the gunman was enrolled in the school and supposed to attend the class where he opened fire. >> miguel, thanks. and that is somewhat of we're learned about the man what carried out this massacre. law enforcement say he was struggling with mental illness issues and he left behind a chilling final message revealing himself as someone who believed the whole world was against him. nbc's pete williams has been digging into his past. law enforcement officials say mers he wrote a long hate-filled document found at the scene of the shooting.
according to those who have seen it, said he would be welcomed in hell and embraced by the devil. and in a bad way. that the world was against him and he had no life, no girlfriend. and he showed a detailed interest in other mass shootings and wrote on a blog on the recent shooting about a tv reporter and photographer saying of that gunman, so many people like him are all alone and unknown yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are. that may be the reason the oregon sheriff continues to not talk about it. >> i continue to believe that the community members who pub liz ize his name will only gorefy his horrific actions and eventually this will serve to inspire future shooters. >> mercer's parents divorced in 2006. his father ian in los angeles said the killings are devastating. >> shocked. >> reporter: mercer ascended this southern california school for emotionally troubled children and moved
with his mother to oregon two years ago. neighbors say it was obvious he was troubled. >> i thought he was kind of an odd guy. he was a grown little kid. he would have tantrums if things didn't go his way. >> on his own social media he showed fascination with the military and the irish republican army. he enlisted in 2008 and was kicked out one month later. on a dating website he was associated with a group called doesn't like associated religionch and he had an assault-style rifle and a bulletproof jacket. >> the jacket had steel plate as long with five magazines. an additional amount of ammunition was also recovered at the apartment. >> reporter: a search of the apartment where he lived with his mother turned up seven more guns. officials say all of the guns that mercer had were purchased legally and nothing from his past would have disqualified him from buying them. no court ever ruled
him mentally unfit. which is the legal standard under oregon and federal law. lester. >> pete williams, tonight, thank you. and out of the horror committed on the campus behind us, we are hearing of stories that came face-to-face with the shooter and survived. these two are about as close as two siblings can be, only two years apart and both attend the college but in yesterday's commotion they couldn't have felt father apart as cory became the first to learn his sister was shot. natalie morales spoke with cory. >> i don't know how to explain the sound of someone's voice when they think they are going to die. >> he was trying to reach his sister in the classroom 500 yards away and when he finally got through on her cell phone it was terrifying. >> she was bawling her eyes out and said i have been shot and i can't feel my legs an i was trying to keep it together for her. >> ana was shot in the
back and cory said she remembers all of the frightening moments. >> she said god was telling her to stay calm and still and don't do anything. and the gunman came up to her and said girl in the black, girl with the blond hair, stand up. and she stayed still. >> so she was playing dead as she reported. >> exactly. the wherewithal and the presence and the calm it took to not lose it in a situation like that, she's so brave. she's so strong and courageous. and she did exactly what she had to do. i don't know how many people could have done that. i don't know if i could have done that. >> his sister was blessed. the bullet to her spine narrowly missed critical nerves and her lungs. cory raced to her side at the hospital. >> the first thing my sister did when a surgeon came in to explain the surgery and she said i want one thing, i want the
bullet from my gunshot wound and she started laughing. she is an amazing person. and i love her with all of my heart. i'm proud of her. she's my hero. >> and doctors say she should make a full recovery. one family's remarkable story giving hope in this community's time of need. in eugene, oregon, natalie, morales, nbc news. the tragedy here in roseberg is reigniting the debate over gun control. practically by the end of this broadcast, two more people will have been shot and killed in this country according to the cdc, one person is killed with a firearm nearly every 16 minutes in the u.s. and 92 people are killed here every day with firearms, including suicides. evidence that america's gun violence nightmare goes beyond the mass shootings that happen all too often in this country. we get more from peter alexander. >> reporter: 5-month-old killed in a drive-by shooting in cleveland, yesterday.
>> enough is enough. when are we going to stop counting babies being killed out in the streets for nothing. >> this afternoon president obama was frustrate and fed up about the never-ending toll of gun violence. >> this will not change until the politics changes and the behavior of elected officials changes. and so the main thing i'm going to do is i'm going to talk about this. >> reporter: since 2001, 153000 americans have been killed by gun violence, compared to 3000 in terror attac attacks. american as agree the violence must end but are bitter le divided on how to stop it. sheriff hanlin wrote vice president biden insisting gun control is not the answer to preventing school shootings. he wouldn't talk about it today. >> right now i'm focused on completing this investigation and more importantly focused on the victims and the family of the victims. >> reporter: on the campaign trail, the candidates reacted. jeb bush insisting
even in the wake of heartbreaking tragedies, new laws aren't always the solution. >> look, stuff happens. there is always a crisis. and the impulse is to do something and it is not necessarily the right thing to do. >> droit in an interview with "meet the press." >> you have people that are mentally ill and they will come through the cracks. >> the latest poll shows less than half support stricter gun control laws but 95% want background checks for all gun buyers. a debate reignited by roseberg, painfully familiar to the principal killed at sandy hook elementary. >> how many for families and how many more people and how many more times is this going to happen. until our country does something. >> a question this family is also asking tonight. >> reporter: president obama has called a failure to pass gun safety laws the greatest frustration of his presidency. tonight he ordered the flag to fly at half-staff here at the
white house and on federal grounds in honor of the victims of the oregon shooting. lester. >> peter alexander at the white house. thank you. we continue to monitor a major weather event effecting much of the eern seaboard as hurricane joaquin tracks out to sea. another flood emergency in several states. what forecasters are calling potentially life-threatening flootding over the next several day n. a moment the forecast from al roker. but first the later from gabe guiterrez. >> reporter: tonight torrential recentless rain is pounding much of the east coast. 22 million people are under a flash flood watch. parts of virginia and maryland under water. river gauges on the chesapeake bay at major flood levels and predicted to rise through the weekend. down the coast, historic charleston, south carolina is drenched. people waded through five feet water. >> we don't move the barricades and drive
through it any way. the saying is don't drown, turn around. so if the flood is flooded, there is no reason for you to go through there. >> reporter: hurricane joaquin is still battler the bahamas and the coast guard is searching for a cargo ship with 33 people on board that disappeared from radar yesterday. hurricane hunter planes flew low in the eye of the storm to help find the missing ship. the coast guard also rescuing 12 people who abandoned another vessel that took on water near haiti. intense preparations are spanning nearly a dozen states. six has declared state of emergency. the nypd getting ready for flash flood with inflatable rafts. strong wind and heavy surf slamming into the jersey shore. >> after sandy, you hear the word hurricane and you get afraid. >> sand dunes built up to keep back the storm surge. tonight the east coast may have dodged the brunt of joaquin but it is facing another storm head on.
right here at the chesapeake bay we're seeing sustained winds of nearly 30 miles per hour and waves up to 11 feet. several roads in this area have been closed. and more rain is expected to pound this coast through the weekend. lester. >> gabe, let's check in with al roker now. he is monitoring the storm as it unfolds. al, where will we see the hardest hit areas. the southeast but along the east coast we are feeling the effects of high pressure and joaquin as well as it makes its way away. right now it is 15 miles west northwest of san salvador. starting to weaken. 25 mile-per-hour winds. path brings it parallel to the coast. away from it but enough to bring in some of the winds on shore that will cause problems. and look at the moisture making its way up and down the east coast. coastal flooding expects. we have flood warnings and watches for 45 million people. currently we have flash flood watches for 22 million people
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a surprise move from the vatican today pushing back against a description by kentucky clerk kim davis about her private meeting with pope francis during his visit to washington after days of debate about the significance of that encounter. the vatican now said davis and her lawyer got it wrong. and we're learning about another private meeting adding to the intrigue. we get details from nbc's alley jackson. >> reporter: pope francis in america. a historic widely-praised visit, but less than 48 hours after he landed back in rome, news that raised some eyebrows. a meeting with kim davis, the controversial kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. a visit she described an abc. >> i hugged him and he hugged me and he said thank you for your
courage. >> reporter: a visit praised by conservatives but disappointing to supporters of same-sex marriage. now an extraordinary statement from the veteran approved by francis himself clarifying his meeting with davis should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects. the vatican down-playing davis' visit saying she was one of dozens who met with the pope in washington. >> pope francis is, as we know, very adept and politically savvy and will not allow himself to get entangled in local debates and this was an effort to untangle the criticism for this meeting. >> and a meeting with this sale couple and his partner of 19 years. he is a former student. >> we have been friends for a long time, he said. he knows about me being gay and he has a lot of respect for me being gay and iwan being my partner. and yet another
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we learned today that american employers slowed down hiring in september. new numbers showing just 142,000 jobs added last month. the unemployment rate held steady at 5.1%. in afghanistan, the death toll stands at 14 after an american c-130 transport plane crashed during takeoff. security is tight around the scene. among the dead are six airmen and five civilian contractors on board and three civilians on the ground. enemy fire is not suspected in the crash. also tonight, in president obama's news conference today, some sharp words about syria. he called russia's military invention there this week,
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finally tonight, here in roseberg, oregon, we're witnessing an outpouring of support in the wake of the tragedy. in this community and from the nation beyond it. here is nbc's kevin tibbles. >> reporter: on a day after so much carnage, they came by the hundreds to donate the gift of life. >> it is my duty. it is my duty as money american. >> reporter: they say they belong here. in this pretty town of 22,000, with this wooded hills and logging trucks and caves. no one asked them to come. they just knew. >> i kind of felt helpless with the whole situation. so i felt like this was kind the only way that i could do something. >> reporter: today is a day for community in roseberg. where a go-fund me page started by a cousin to raise $10,000 has already gathered more than
$200,000. for army veteran chris mintz shot seven times while trying to save others. and where local businesses, some staff were kids from the college -- share a common message. at the java run, customers have been paying it forward all day. a coffee for the next in line. nothing big, but oh, so significant. >> we've all been through a lot and it is a good time to pay it forward. >> something as simple as a cup of coffee might just make a difference. >> yes, definitely. coffee and a mile definitely making their day better. >> reporter: simple things, small personal gestures, signs this small town has pulled together to begin the healing. kevin tibbles. nbc news, roseberg, oregon. and late today i heard by telephone by the girlfriend of
jennifer lawrence versus donald trump. why the oscar winner's blasting the billionaire. >> now on "extra." jennifer lawrence takes on trump. her harsh new words as donald reveals the one reason he would drop out of the race. >> why wouldn't i? >> and hillary clinton making a top secret appearance on this weekend's snl? >> will she be doing a sketch with host miley cyrus. >> photos of jim carrey of visiting his ex's house. >> our night out in london with george clooney from married life to their