tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC December 23, 2015 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
he's a rock. sanders: i'm bernie sanders and i approve this message. breaking news. deadly storms and tornadoes. holiday havoc as extreme weather moves in. tornadoes touching down. whiteout conditions. icy rods. more than 70 million americans facing severe storms. also developing at this hour, thousands of flights delayed or canceled. tens of millions making this the busiest travel day along america's highways. tonight, we're in the middle of the holiday gridlock. off-limits? the political cartoon targeting senator ted cruz and picking on his young daughters. rival candidates calling it disgusting. tonight, how cruz is firing back. hospital outrage. the woman demanding medical
hospital in handcuffs. collapsing outside, then dying. her family the demanding answers tonight. and, gift card grinch. the growing scam. they're one of the most popular gifts this christmas. now, an easy target for crooks. tonight, the consumer warning. good evening. great to have you with us on this wednesday. i'm tom llamas, in for david tonight. and we begin with breaking news. tornadoes touching down right now. deadly storms, just as tens of millions of americans held out for the holidays. this video just in. a massive tornado. take a look at that. ripping through the south. more than a dozen homes damaged or destroyed. this, as there are reports of multiple injuries. one of the twisters cutting and look closely. you can see debris whirling through the air. tonight, part of the country under a tornado emergency because several more intense tornadoes could be on the way. all of this just as so many
airports. more on that in a moment. but we gun tonight with phillip mena in memphis, under a tornado watch for much of the day. >> oh, man. >> reporter: late today, this massive tornado touching down in mississippi. officials telling abc news, up to 15 homes destroyed and at least seven injured. two severely. but the storms, firing up early. dumping half a foot of rain on mobile, alabama. this neighborhood underwater. the street, looking more like a river. widespread damage across the south as storms move through. the biggest threat for tornadoes is right here. more than 3.5 million people here under an extreme alert, called a particularly dangerous situation. in arkansas, 60 mile -mile-an-hour winds uprooting trees. an 18-year-old woman died after a tree crashed into this home. an 18-month-old baby pulled from the wreckage. >> the toddler was transported
the 18-year-old female was pronounced dead at the scene. >> reporter: hef on the other side of that storm system, heavy snow causing spinouts in wisconsin. meanwhile, in the west, snow covered roads snarling traffic in utah. while gusts over 80mph in mojave, california, toppling 15 to 20 tractor trailers. watch as the roof of this mobile home is ripped clean off. those big rigs banned from the highway until the winds die down. >> it's scary. i don't like this truck rocking. >> reporter: and tom, these storms are still not over. the mayor of clarksville, mississippi, is calling the damage there horrific. officials here in memphis are worried that christmas decorations could become projectiles at the storms fire up tonight. tom? >> phillip mena, thank you. rob marciano with me now. the deadly storms and the tornadoes, where are they headed tonight? >> reporter: very dangerous now that night has fallen. across several states.
the storms get closer to nashville. louisville, you'll see strong storms and high winds possible across parts of ohio. i want to point out we have heavy rain impacting travel across the northeast. atlanta, georgia, where flash flood watches are posted, across the carolinas and virginia. >> and rob, of course, the other big story tonight, the white-hot christmas here on the east coast. >> reporter: still on track to see records blown out of the water. look at some of the numbers for daytime highs. 67, boston, 71 in new york and 73 in d.c. scheduled to be the warmest christmas eve in many cities on record. out west, that's where the snows are. at the higher elevations, going to want to bring along the chains, because the snow will be covering the roads in the >> rob, thank you. and that wild weather causing christmas chaos for the tens of millions traveling. if you're waiting for your loved ones, you may still be waiting. two-hour delays at airports coast to coast, at o'hare in chicago and at dulles airport in washington, d.c. this new image tonight from flight tracker.
right now. and these live images from kgo in san francisco, near gridlock on the ground. look at that traffic. abc's gio benitez at laguardia airport tonight here in new york. >> reporter: by air and by road, it's holiday travel madness on the very day you're trying to get home. tonight, more holiday drivers than ever before, jamming the roads coast to coast. the traffic app waze crunched the numbers and says today is the worst day to be trying to get from point a to point b. it's 3:00 p.m. this is supposed to be the worst time to be on the road. and just take a look at waze right now. you see all that red? more than 100 million americans will be traveling between today and januaryrd. most of them, more than 90%, will be right in a car. it's no better by air either. the number of cancellations tonight, double the daily average and growing. >> the flight's delayed. >> delayed. 20 minutes delayed. >> madness. this is crazy. >> reporter: passenger keith caro has been standing in this line.
9:00 a.m. to surprise his mom for christmas. so, wait a minute. you've been trying to travel by air, and you tried to just represent a car and you can't do it. >> can't do it. >> reporter: more than 4.6 million people going through chicago's airports. o'hare seeing an 8% jump in traffic over last year. and in northern california, one plane literally went nowhere. taking off, circling in the air for four hours and then landing right back at the same airport because of technical issues. >> i thought i was going to die. people were really scared. >> reporter: and tom, back here at new york's laguardia, many airlines are adding red eye flights tonight to help people get home for christmas. tom? >> all right, gio, thank you. and on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, last-minute shoppers at the mall of america in minneapolis greeted by police in riot gear amid a protest by the group black lives matter, demanding justice after a deadly police shooting last month. those protesters then moving onto the airport, linking arms
abc's alex perez is there. >> reporter: black >> black lives matter. >> reporter: protesters in minneapolis discorrupting one of the biggest shopping days of the year. demonstrators vowed to bring mall traffic to a standstill. about 80 worried stores closing their doors. protesters quickly shot down by police. so, here we are inside the mall and police are actually pushing the crowd that's coming into the mall out. those protesters moving to blocking a main entrance on one of the busiest travel days of the year. many missing flights. >> not that i don't support the cause and what they're doing, but would have been upsetting to not get to see my family. >> reporter: the black lives matter protesters have been taking to the streets in minneapolis since jamar clark, a young black man, died november 15th after he was shot by white police officers. demonstrators say clark was
fire. authorities denied that. the police union arguing clark was reaching for an officer's gun. today, several protesters were removed by police. at least four arrested at the mall. but they say the demonstrations will not stop until the officers involved are charged. and those officers are on paid leave, pending an independent state investigation. here at the airport tonight, the roadways are back open and a heavy police presence as authorities try to get things back to normal. tom? >> alex, thank you. let's turn to politics now, and a new controversy shaking up the race for 2016. senator ted cruz firing back tonight after this controversial cartoon taking aim at his two young daughters. tonight, cruz saying his kids and all kids are off-limits. but as abc's chief white house correspondent jonathan karl tells us, now cruz is turning the controversy into cash. >> please read this one, daddy.
parody produced by his campaign, senator cruz reads conservative christmas stories with his family. his young daughters, catherine and caroline join in. >> the whole family will enjoying reading stories masterpieces like "the grinch who lost-e-mails."
>> i know just what i'll do, she said with a snicker, i will use my own server and no one will be the wiser. >> reporter: the ad prompted "the washington post" to run a political cartoon depicting cruz's daughters as trained monkeys. >> not much ticks me off, but making fun of my girls, that will do it. it's not complicated. don't make fun of a 5-year-old girl and a 7-year-old girl. >> reporter: cruz and his gop challengers agree on this one. >> this is off limits. and ted cruz is absolutely right to be outraged. >> reporter: donald trump called the cartoon "bad," marco rubio called it "disgusting." the cartoonist was unapologetic, tweeting, "ted cruz has put his children in a political ad. don't start screaming when the editor yard cartoonists draw them, as well. >> dear jesus, thank you for the food --
christmas ad, the cruz campaign posted extensive video of the kids for future campaign ads. >> i'm ted cruz -- >> and we approve this message. >> reporter: and kids are often featured in campaigns. for example, this obama campaign video from 2012, which prompted no such political cartoon. "the post" eventually took the cruz cartoon down. the editorial page editor explaining "postpolicy is usually to leave the churn out of it," acknowledging they should have done that this time. cruz is now using the cartoon to raise money. "i'm sickened," he writes to supporters. "this shows you exactly how desperate the liberal media is to attack me and my family. contracts and cruz
has also offered up his own political cartoon. featuring what he calls hillary clinton and her lapdogs "the washington post" and "new york times." >> jon, there's news tonight about donald trump. he made what many consider to be a crude comment about hillary clinton. clinton telling "the des moines
quote, penchant for sexism, but trump is responding and tweeting? >> reporter: that's right. and this may not surprise you, tom. but he is not backing down. in a tweet directed directly at hillary, he tweets, "hillary, when you complain about a penchant for sexism, who are you referring to? i have great respect for women, and then he cedes, tom, in all caps, "be careful." he's not done yet. >> a serious warning. jon, thank you so much. to a somber homecoming tonight for six american troops killed in afghanistan. the dignified transfer in new castle, delaware, flag-draped coffins returning to their families. the airmen, five men and a women killed by a suicide bomber near bagram air base on monday. the deadliest attack on american troops since 2012. overseas tonight, also, to iraq, and the war against isis. u.s.-led air strikes helping iraqi forces, trying to recapture the key city that fell to isis in may. iraq's army chief predicting today it's only a matter of days
their control. and back here at home, to a mysterious death in florida, making national headlines. an investigation under way after a florida woman collapsed outside a hospital, forced to leave in handcuffs and despite her pleas to stay, she then died. abc's linzie janis now with what the autopsy now shows may have happened. >> reporter: angela donar says she watched her niece, 57-year-old barbara dawson, collapse as police hauled her out of a hospital in handcuffs. >> they didn't do what they could. >> reporter: relatives say it all started around 10:30 p.m. sunday night. dawson was rushed by ambulance to this small florida hospital, complaining of stomach pain. she was evaluated by doctors and discharged just before 5:00 a.m., but her family says dawson still didn't feel well and wanted to stay. that's when lawyers for the family say hospital staff called the police. families say nurses took her off the hospital's oxygen, and
breathing in the parking lot. this photo, taken by a family member, shows dawson where she collapsed, still in handcuffs near the police car. >> the general public should be strongly concerned that a person who is seeking medical help would end up in cuffs and end up dead. >> reporter: according to police, medical staff observed dawson had a pulse and appeared to be breathing. she was taken back into the hospital, where she died. the medical examiner telling police, dawson suffered a blood clot in her lungs. tonight, the calhoun liberty hospital saying, it can't comment on why dawson was removed, but saying, "in such cases, the safety and comfort of all patients is considered." the florida department of law enforcement says it will investigate. linzie janis, abc news, new york. now, to that deadly hit and run in vegas. new images of the mother accused of intentionally ramming her car into tourists outside popular
her young daughter in the backseat. lakeisha holloway appearing in court today for the first time, shackles around her wrists. lawyers saying she is, quote, distraught. holloway on suicide watch tonight. and an update now on that mysterious fire ball some of you may have seen, lighting up the night wmur wmur tonight, it was a russian rocket returning to earth, breaking upon reentry. and there's still much more ahead on "world news tonight." the consumer alert. the growing scam targeting one of the most popular last-minute holiday gifts. the warning about gift cards. easy targets for crooks. how to make sure the card you buy hasn't already been drained of cash. and take a look. the firefighter trapped at the window, engulfed in flames. the fire all around him. how he survived. and, the little girl's call to 911, reporting a christmas emergency.
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here's how it works. before you buy the card, thieves can copy its information, sometimes using handheld skimmers, later stealing the card's value. so, experts say, look for tampered packaging, especially at the scratchoff area in the back. use the card right away. register your card and be sure to use a reputable site, if you are thinking about trading in unwanted gift cards. >> the safest way to buy cards is online or from a locked drawer in the store. >> reporter: ensuring a holiday scam doesn't leave you saying bahumbug. mara schiavocampo, abc news, new york. >> we thank mara for that. when we come back, the awkward mistake on live tv. the new headline tonight about steve harvey and miss universe. and, the close call on the ski slopes. did you see this? the big change tonight after a skier was nearly taken out by a falling drone. stay with us. en a moment spontaneously turns romantic, why pause to take a pill?
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finally tonight, the little girl with a christmas emergency. many children can relate to. calling 911, desperate to stay off santa's naughty list after the elf fell off the shelf. here's abc's ron claiborne. >> reporter: twas the week before christmas, and 7-year-old izzy was playing in her family's living room. >> i was doing this and then it hit the help. >> reporter: one of the two elves on their shelf, his name is buddy jingles, was knocked out of his stocking and onto the floor. >> ah! >> reporter: from a popular based on an old tradition that's become a viral phenomenon. an elf is supposed to be left alone to observe who is naughty or nice and report back to santa. an adult can touch an elf but a child, absolutely not.
out, she called 911. >> 911. >> 9116789 where . where is your emergency? >> reporter: a few minutes later. >> hello? >> reporter: it was a policeman that came to check it out. >> so, i said, can i help you? >> and and he said, your daughter call called 911. >> it worked out for the best, with little izzy learning a valuable lesson. >> only emergencies, that's what you do. and don't call it for nonemergencies. merry christmas, everyone! merry christmas, kids. >> reporter: the end. ron claiborne, abc news, old bridge, new jersey. >> and the elf on the shelf watches us sometimes. thank you for watching on a wednesday night. i'm tom llamas.