tv ABC World News Tonight ABC December 21, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
welcome to "world news tonight." deadly ambush. two new york city police officers gunned down. the attack called an assassination. the attempts to save them, the emotional good-bye from fellow officers. tonight, what we're learning about the suspect. did he vow to kill police? on the move. a record number of americans in the air and on the road, as a massive storm takes aim. will they make it home in time for the holiday? ready, set, shop. on this busiest shoppi inping wd of the year, the millions battling the crowds. what you sent us from the front lines. >> i'm using gift cards this year. and, o christmas tree.
the ugliest tree in america. getting a makeover tonight. how a town had a change of heart. good evening, thank you for joining us on this sunday evening. i'm cecelia vega. we begin with the killing in new york, sending shock waves around the country. two new york city police officers ambushed at point-blank range. the police commissioner saying they were assassinated. as other officers arrived, the street erupting into chaos. officers following the suspect into a subway station. riders in a subway station ordered to get down, and the grief at the hospital when the police officers died, and tonight we're learning more about the gunman and his hate-filled message before he fired. linsey davis is in brooklyn, leading us off tonight. >> reporter: good evening.
a massive crowd behind me. but first, we're learn ing before the shooting, the suspect approached two people on the street and said, watch what i'm about to do. asking them to follow him on instagram. the moments of frenzy and chaos that ensued moments after two brooklyn police officers were gunned down. a warning came, it was just too late. police say within minutes of this ambush that killed officers wenjian liu and rafael ramos, two alerts came in, including a fax to the nypd, and this wanted poster of 28-year-old ismaaiyl brinsley, the man police say is responsible for the execution-style killings. police say it all began around 5:45 a.m. saturday in baltimore, maryland. >> brinsley's former girlfriend was shot and seriously wounded. >> reporter: between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m., baltimore county detectives said instagram posts by the suspect included threats against police officers.
and just one minute before the shooting, that fax coming in. >> tragically, this was essentially the same time as our officers were being ambushed. >> reporter: according to the nypd, at 2:47, officers liu and ramos were sitting in their marked patrol car in brooklyn, when brinsley walked up to the passenger side of their vehicle and opened fire. >> shots fired. shots fired. >> reporter: -- striking both officers in the head at point-blank range. s.w.a.t. teams chased him to a nearby subway station. police say the suspect then shot himself in the head. >> officer ramos, officer liu died in the line of duty, protecting the city they loved. >> reporter: officers also visibly moved saturday evening, standing at attention as the ambulance carrying the two officers passed by. ramos joined the nypd three years ago. he was a husband and father of two sons. on facebook, one of his sons posting this -- today i had to
say goodbye to my father, he said. he was the best father i could ask for. it's horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. liu had been on the job for seven years and just got married two months ago. earlier today, there was just a handful of flowers here. now, a massive vigil, with dozens paying respects and saying prayer for the fallen officers. >> thank you. so, was the shooting death connected to the recent nationwide protests over the deaths of eric garner and michael brown? officials say the suspect left media including shoot the police. here's david wright. >> reporter: on the lam after shooting his ex-girlfriend in
baltimore, he posted this ominous warning on instagram. i'm putting wings on pigs today, they take one of ours, let's take two of theirs. #shootthepolice and eric garner and michael brown. on facebook, he posted an image of the murder weapon. noting, this may be my final post. many in the nypd laid part of the blame on new york city's mayor. after the ground jury exonerated the police officers, he expressed is think with the protesters, not the police. just yesterday, when the mayor visited the hospital to pay respects to the families, other policemen turned their backs on him. do you think the feelings are understandable? >> yes. i think the emotions are
understandable. i think the reality is that the mayor did run against policing and police practices in his campaign. >> reporter: today, the mother of eric garner issued this public plea. >> if anyone is standing with us, we want you to not use eric garner's name for violence. we're not about that. >> reporter: today, we learned that brinsley had at least 19 prior arrests and according to his family, a history of undiagnosed mental illness. and new york's mayor said that the killing of a police officers tears at the very fabric of a community. >> thank you. we move on to the stormy weather in the northwest. heavy rain, wind and snow. seven inches of rain in eugene. and higher up, snow with winds of up to 60 miles an hour.
and that weather on the move, just as millions start their holiday travel. rob marciano, where is it headed next? >> well, reports of a foot of snow in montana, wyoming and idaho, utah. this combines with a storm to the south. atlanta, severe weather. and on christmas eve, a big rainmaker and a lot of wind with this one. >> what's the holiday trip going to look like for them? >> it's going to be windy and rainy. in the air, certainly chicago is going to see delays. atlanta and new york, with the wind and rain, significant delays. so, pack your patience. >> good advice. thank you, rob. and now to a late-developing story in florida where seven people were injured by a lightning strike during an nfl game. at raymond james stadium in tampa.
they were not hit by lightning but it was so close, it knocked some of them down. and now breaking news about jameis winston. here's matt gutman. >> reporter: jameis winston, cleared again. he was cleared of sexual assault two years ago. as he won the heisman trophy, he was dogged by accusations by a fellow student that he drugged and raped her. in a legal response, a florida
supreme court judge wrote that the preponderance of the evidence does not show that he violated the florida state code. matt gutman, abc news, miami. and muhammad ali has been hospitalized in stable condition with pneumonia. a spokesman says the pneumonia is a mild case. the 72-year-old is also battling parkinson's disease. and next to the cyber attack on sony. hackers calling their victims idiots. and tonight, north korea is issuing a bold message about the cyber war. turning it into a war of words. here's tom llamas, once again on the story for us tonight. >> reporter: tonight, north korea firing back after the u.s. publically accused the secretive nation of coordinating the cyber
attack that crippled movie giant sony. a spokesman on state-run tv, claiming president obama himself orchestrated the attack. and threatening repercussions targeting the white house, the pentagon, and all of mainland usa if the u.s. does not agree to a joint investigation with the north koreans. this, as president obama downplayed the attack. >> this was an act of cyber vandalism. that was very costly and expensive. >> reporter: now, the u.s. reaching out to china for help. this, as sony's hackers, apparently undaunted, reportedly releasing another message this weekend. this one, taunting the fbi, and linking to this youtube video titled "you are an idiot." the hollywood reporter said that they could not verify the a authenticity of the e-mail,
but it appears like the other ones. the attack on sony, all because the country is angry over a comedic movie about a fictional assassination of kim jong-un. sony pulled the film after threats. foreign policy experts say it's now turning into an international incident. >> this could escalate to something much more serious. >> reporter: and sony reached out to experts, and no one raised a red flag. they're now saying they have insurance that may protect them from the financial losses of this cyber attack. next, to the millions in a race against the clock. still not done with their holiday shopping. i'm one of them. and we are not alone. 1 in 10 shoppers waits until christmas eve. gloria riviera has the story.
telling us where to find the best deals tonight. reporter: last minute shoppers facing the holiday countdown surged into stores across the country today. so crowded it was survival of the spendiest. others getting creative. >> i tend to come to places like walgreen's. i printed out some pictures. to turn into a photo collage. >> i just want to get in and get out. >> i'm in dick's sporting goods. but if i don't find anything, they don't get it. >> reporter: retailers in the final stretch. going to extremes to get the holiday dollars. kohl's, macy's open 24 hours in a marathon sprint to the finish. and pushing back deadlines for ordering online. >> shopping is like an arms race today.
if you don't spend in one store, you'll spend somewhere else. they're desperate. >> reporter: some of the best deals out there -- 70% off clothes at h and m. bicycles, 40% off. it's hard not to find a deal. yet 10% of shoppers will wait until christmas eve. the number one reason, they can't decide what to get. >> i can relate to that one. thank you. still ahead on "world news tonight," a free vacation, airfare, even hotels? find out what happened when rebecca jarvis decided to take up one of the offers. and this shocking moment between a bicycle and a big rig. what happened next? when we come back.
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brochures offering free trips and exotic vacations. we tried to find out if it's too good to be true. here's rebecca jarvis. >> reporter: when two free airline tickets anywhere in the country and two nights in a hotel show up in the mailbox, it may seem like holiday cheer. the retail value of this award is up to $1,398. there was just one problem. when we googled the phone number we were supposed to call, we got this. complaints, and lots of them, from people who received letters just like this one. so we decided to schedule an appointment with this mystery company, ppv travel, to claim our free trip. i stay for the 90-minute presentation, i get two tickets? sounds like a good deal. on the day, we sent two abc news producers wearing hidden cameras to attend the seminar and pick up those free tickets. >> well, good afternoon, how's everybody doing? >> reporter: what we find is a
relentless sales pitch. >> let me break it on down for you. >> reporter: two hours later, we're still empty-handed. we've eventually given these vouchers for a free trip. that's not a trip. >> well, it's an activation form, and we sent in $150. >> reporter: but after sending in that so-called activation fee, a request for more money. it's been about two months since we first met ppv travel in long island. now we've tracked them down in new jersey. we saw some familiar faces from that first seminar. how are you? i'm rebecca jarvis from abc news. but they quickly left, leaving us with this guy, who calls himself thorne. we sent in the money, got these. then we were told if you want the ticket, you have to pay an activation fee for $59 a person. >> which was identified on the bottom of the certificate. >> reporter: that's not complimentary. >> it was the form you were promised for coming in, if you read the small print on the back. >> reporter: according to
thorne, it's an outside company that provides the free trip. so, we still don't have that complimentary hotel stay or complimentary tickets that we were promised and now we've been offered a new deal. but still, no tickets. so far, no trip, and no word back from thorne's company, ppv. rebecca jarvis, abc news, new york. >> too good to be true. coming up, why this slick jenga move is going viral tonight. our "instant index," up next. wishful thinking, right? but there is one step you can take to help prevent another serious disease- pneumococcal pneumonia. one dose of the prevnar 13 ® vaccine can help protect you ... from pneumococcal pneumonia, an illness that can cause coughing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and may even put you in the hospital. prevnar 13 is used in adults 50 and older to help prevent infections from 13 strains of the bacteria
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and elton john, getting married to his longtime partner. david furnish. and here, the pictures on instagram. giving his millions of fans a play-by-play. signing the legal papers. and the ceremony at their home near london. and this picture, with the exchange of vows, share the love. and this extreme jenga move. you know the block-stacking game. only one block holding up the tower. it happens fast. so watch carefully. >> oh! >> a sideswiping maneuver that left the tower standing and her opponents stunned. the nine-second clip going viral tonight. nearly 2 million hits on youtube. some are questioning if the blocks were glued together. but with her reaction, this may be the real deal. pretty good. coming up, an update on the christmas story.
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into the tree. >> yes, even the squirrels hated it. reading, pennsylvania, was stuck with a real-life charlie brown tree. good grief! it became an embarrassing reminder of tough times. this once-powerful manufacturing hub, not too long ago, named the poorest city in the country. >> we want to have the tree look good for the city. >> but just as workers were about to replace the tree, a christmas miracle. ♪ good tidings for christmas ♪ and a happy new year >> the good people of reading had a change of heart. coming together last night to decorate the branches. this ugly tree was their ugly tree. >> i love it. i think it's the greatest thing ever. >> somebody got to love it. >> a symbol of transformation and potential.
hope for a city through a christmas tree that even a squirrel could love. and the new tree was given a new home in another part of town. so the town now has one perfect and one not to perfect tree. "gma," first thing in the morning. david is back here tomorrow night. enjoy the rest of your sunday. good night.