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tv   Nightline  ABC  June 15, 2017 12:37am-1:07am EDT

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this is "nightline." >> tonight -- a gunman seemingly targeting republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice. >> there was a barrage of shots being fired. we were like sitting ducks. >> critically wounding house majority whip steve scalise and injuring others before police took them down. >> without them there this would have been a massacre. >> what we know about the shooter, his history of run-ins with the law, and reactional social media posts. reaction from the president and congressional leaders. towering inferno. a london high rise up in flames. >> we could hear people screaming help me, help me. >> tenants trapped inside. dangling bed sheets from windows. one mother making an impossible
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decision. >> a lady appeared at the window, i watched her say, i'm about to throw my baby, please catch the baby. >> now questions about possible safety failures. first the "nightline 5.." >> mm, beneful grain free is so healthy. here come the accents. blueberries and pumpkin. and spinach. that was my fifavorite bite so far. >> out with the grain, in with the farm-raised chicken. beneful. can a toothpaste do everything well? >> my teeth are glowing. they are so white. >> step one cleans, step two whitens. crest hd. six times cleaning, six times whitening. whitening. >> at number one ♪ it's our all shades sale going on now. styles and colors selection is wow. roller, solar, roman, wood woven. no better time this must be an omen. cellular, cascade, sheer pleated, allure. nothing wrong with your windows new shades wouldn't cure.
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latest developments in the shooting of a republican congressman and others at a baseball practice outside of washington. they were gearing up for the annual matchup between the gop and the democrats, a tradition more than a century old. and one of the last remaining realms of bipartisanship in d.c. but today a vicious attack. today, two american institutions literally under fire. our national pastime, and our elected officials. a barrage of gunfire at a baseball field right outside washington, d.c. as republican members of congress practiced for their annual game against the democrats. law enforcement officers shouting at the suspect. 66-year-old james t. hodgkinson, who had opened fire on the players, apparently deliberately targeting the gop. six injured including congressman steve scalise, the
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third-ranking republican in the house of representatives, now in critical condition. the suspect now dead, had a long and public history of anti-trump and anti-republican rhetoric. the questions tonight, what exactly was his motive? and why now? the attack began shortly after 7:00 a.m. in the del ray area of alexanderd alexandria, virginia, eight miles from capitol hill. at least 20 members of congress along with their families and others were gathered at the eugene simpson stadium prepping for the charity match tomorrow night. >> i was taking groundballs at third base, jeff duncan at short, steve scalise at second -- >> reporter: the congressman said the man later identified as hodgkinson approached about players on the field. >> an individual came up to us, are those republicans or democrats? it's a little odd, 7:00 in the morning, why would you be out there? >> reporter: shortly thereafter shots rang out.
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>> i thought it was a construction site that dropped a very large piece of metal. >> reporter: hodgkinson allegedly opening fire using a rifle and a handgun from behind the third base dugout. >> hey, is that guy okay out there? the guy's been shot, is he okay? >> we didn't exactly know where the shots were coming from, but it was loud. it was constant. >> you just wonder when it's going to stop. >> i saw the gunman come around the back stop, ask he had a clear line of fire into the dugout. >> reporter: within three minutes, alexandria police officers arrived at the scene. >> do you need a second helicopter? >> we have another one for the second helicopter. >> there's also a victim down in the baseball field. >> reporter: louisiana congressman scalise, who had been at second base, was hit and started crawling, wounded, into the outfield. >> we wanted to get to him, but couldn't with the gunshots overhead. and after about ten minutes -- then another staffer was shot in the leg, dove into our dugout,
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applied a tourniquet to try to stanch the bleeding. >> we were sitting ducks. we had nothing to fight back with but bats. >> reporter: two capitol police officers, crystal griner and david bailey, part of scalise's security detail, along with multiple law enforcement agencies, engaged in gunfire with the shooter. >> do you have suspect information for us? >> the suspect is in custody. >> reporter: scalise's position as majority whip requires that he have 24-hour capitol police coverage. if he hadn't been at the practice, those police officers wouldn't have been there either. >> had scalise not been there, i think it would have been a massacre today. >> there could have easily -- been 25 deaths or more today. >> reporter: with the gunman disarmed, scalise's colleagues, congressman jeff flake and congressman brad wenstrop, iraq war veteran and doctor, immediately ran to his side and gantry yaunlging. >> did what i did in iraq, cut
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down their clothes, look for a wound, major sure you stop bleeding. >> reporter: congressman scalise was transferred to the hospital where he underwent surge are you for a gunshot wound. the suspect was transferred to the hospital where he later died. >> the d.c. medical examiner has issued the cause of death as multiple gunshot wounds to the torso. >> reporter: james hodgkinson was last known to reside in bellville, illinois, where he was unemployed. police today raced to his home in a search for answers. >> one of the keys today is, was there a trigger? they're also going to be looking for, is he connected to anybody else that wants to do some version what was he did today? >> reporter: his social media accounts were filled with anti-trump sentiment. calling the president a traitor and saying trump has destroyed our democracy, it's time to destroy trump and co. he joined anti-republican facebook groups including one called terminate the republican party. two years ago he commented on
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this anti-scalise cartoon saying, here is a republican who should lose his job. he was an ardent supporter of bernie sanders, who today confirmed that hodgkinson volunteered for his presidential campaign. >> i have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the republican baseball practice this morning is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign. i am sickened by this despicable act. and let me be as clear as i can be. violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society. and i condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. >> reporter: hodgkinson had a history of run-ins with the law. in 2006, police responded to a domestic incident in which hodgkinson was accused of hitting a woman and also hitting a neighbor in the face with a shotgun. but the misdemeanor charges were
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later dropped. this past march, police were called to his home after neighbors reported that dozens of shots were fired. >> he may have been shooting at some targets there in the trees. but then he stepped out from his building there. and i could see him pointing the rifle across this field. as far as you can see down there. >> reporter: but police determined that he had a valid firearms owner identification card, and that no law was violated. hodgkinson's wife says her husband left illinois for alexandria, virginia, two months ago. according to law enforcement he was living out of his van. in recent months hodgkinson was a regular at pork barrel barbecue bar eight blocks from the shooting site. bartenders say he was odd. >> struck me as a very -- introverted person. not exactly warm person to have a conversation with. >> reporter: in the first mass
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shooting he has addressed since taking office, president trump today called for solidarity. >> we may have our differences. but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's capital is here because, above all, they love our country. >> reporter: unlike his predecessor, trump did not call for new gun safety measures. tonight president trump and the first lady paid a visit to the hospital where congressman scalise is being treated for a single gunshot to the hip that damaged internal organs and caused severe internal bleeding. the shooting comes in the midst of an era of extreme partisanship in our country. but in the wake of the shooting -- >> the mood on cap hol hill is somber and a bit surreal. we've seen lawmakers returning to their offices still in their baseball union fors. >> reporter: democrats at their own baseball practice came together in prayer for their republican colleagues. and at a noon gathering of
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congress, house speaker paul ryan delivering this statement of unity. >> an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. >> reporter: minority leader nancy pelosi expressing a rare moment of agreement with her republican colleague. >> you'll hear me say something you've never heard me say before. i identify myself with the remarks of the speaker. >> reporter: tonight, congressman joe war tobarton, tr with his sons both at the baseball field, is attending a dinner at the democratic club that his colleagues across the aisle are hosting for the republican team. past accidents of violence toward members of congress have also sparked calls for unity. >> is anybody injured? did you say gabrielle giffords is hit? >> she's hit. i do believe she's breathing. there's multiple people shot. >> reporter: 2011, representative gabrielle giffords was shot at point-blank range in the head during a meeting with her constituents in a supermarket parking lot in
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tucson, arizona. despite calls for increased civility in our political discourse that came in the aftermath, the spirit did not last. and indeed today it took just hours after the attack for the familiar debate about gun violence to be reawakened with the democratic governor of virginia weighing in. >> i have long advocated, this is not what today is about, but there are too many guns on the street. >> reporter: texas congressman roger williams, a republican who was injured during today's attack, was unwavering in his pro-gun stance. >> i'm for the second amendment. i'm from texas. >> reporter: one point of agreement tonight, the annual congressional baseball game will go on as planned tomorrow night. >> knowing steve scalise as we all do, he is likely really frustrated that he's not going to be able to play in the baseball game. >> we will use this occasion as one that brings us together and not separates us further. >> this is america, the greatest country in the world. if you punch us, we will punch
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back. and we're going to play baseball tomorrow. next, another horrifying scene playing out. a towering inferno in london. one mother throwing her baby out a window to a neighbor below. questions about prior safety complaints by the tenants. garfunkel (instrumental) [ snoring ] [ deep sleep snoring ] the all-new volkswagen atlas. seats seven, sleeps six. life's as big as you make it. one laugh, and hello sensitring a bell? then you have to try always discreet. i didn't think protection this thin could work. but the super absorbent core turns liquid to gel. for incredible protection... snap!
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now to the high rise in london that went up in flames with scores of families inside, many of them asleep. one mother dropping her baby out a window to somebody below. were safety warnings missed before this inferno?
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here's abc's james lonman. >> reporter: an inferno in the middle of the night. an entire building in flames. explosions. fireballs. residents trapped inside this 24-story london high rise, home to at least 500 people. many of them asleep as the fire crept higher and higher. >> we could hear people screaming help me, help me. >> oh, my -- >> reporter: an eyewitness recording this daring escape attempt. >> this guy's sending a rope! don't do it! >> reporter: residents dropping down makeshift ropes fashioned from bedsheets. then an act of utter desperation as the building was engulfed in flames. >> a lady appeared at the window, what she was saying, i'm about to throw my baby, please catch the baby. >> reporter: witnesses saying the baby fell nearly ten stories. miraculously was safely caught by a bystander. >> hello, come here!
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come here! >> reporter: then this harrowing facebook live video apparently filmed by a resident trapped inside the building. >> we're stuck on the 23rd floof! hello! there's too many people stuck upstairs! >> reporter: many residents of the tower still missing. so far 12 people have been confirmed dead. >> and i do anticipate the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12. >> reporter: more than 70 people remain hospitalized as firefighters continue what could be a grim search in a still-smoldering building. >> we're told that firemen have now been able to go room by room in that building looking for survivors. and of course retrieving any dead bodies that may need to be found. over 200 firefighters were called to grenville tower, some coming dangerously close to the blaze. others pushing bystanders back. >> can you please move back, everybody, stand here! >> reporter: fearful the building could collapse.
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do you live in the building? >> i do. >> reporter: hernan and her family live on the ninth floor. she says she was awoken from her sleep by the smell of smoke. >> my son found my daughter and my husband and we just left the flat. my brother lives on the 21st floor. when i came down, i kept calling. i could see literally flames just rising up. i called him to say, can you get out? he said he can't get out, the smoke was too much, they advised him to stay in the flats. >> your brother is still trapped? >> i've been waiting. my family's gone round to hospitals. his wife and three children. >> reporter: some residents speaking out saying their complaints about the building's safety were ignored. >> there are serious questions being raised about why the fire spread so rapidly and whether fire alarms were working properly. some residents telling me today that they believe decorative cladding recently added to the tower's exterior may have fueled the blaze up the height of the building. >> they have a significant amount of plastic on the inside of them.
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that of course is combustible, it will burn. when you stack them one atop the other on the outside of a building, a fire can travel literally from the bottom to the top. >> reporter: according to bbc this sign was posted inside the tower telling residents to stay in their homes in case of fire. experts say that is often the safest choice, but not with a fire of this magnitude. >> in just about every high rise fire in america we tell people to stay in their apartments. in the case of the fire in london, this was an exterior fire that was involving dozens of apartments simultaneously. and so that's a situation where you shift to a full building evacuation. >> reporter: building plans appear to show that the tower had only one staircase which would have made getting out more difficult. today grenfell's building management firm released this statement. we are aware that concerns have been raised historically by residents. we always take all concerns seriously and these will form
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part of our forthcoming investigations." it's too early to speculate what caused the fire and contributed to its spread, we will cooperate fully with all the relevant authorities in order to ascertain the cause of this tragedy." questions biwill continue to swl around this catastrophic blaze will the residents of the tower grapple with how much they've lost. >> we lost everything. but we're unharmed. >> literally in what you have now? >> i have my phone, i have my cards, i have my keys to my house. >> a house you don't have. >> yeah. >> reporter: the response from the local community has been incredible. bottles of water, food, provisions, blankets, everything people need to get them through. the displaced residents currently living in temporary shelters grateful to be alive but unsure what was will happen next. >> people have lost their homes. children have seen things. people were jumping out the window. we just need to rebuild as a community now. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm james longman in london.
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>> our thanks to james longman for his first "nightline" report. coming up next on the show, we're going to look ahead to an abc news exclusive. my colleague juju chang's interview with transgender soldier chelsea manning. newly released from prison after serving seven years for leaking government secrets. s intense ta. so it has the bad breath germ-killing power of this... [rock music] with the lighter feel... of this. [classical music] for a whole mouth clean with a less intense taste... ahhh. try listerine® zero alcohol™. also try listerine® poketpaks for fresh breath on the go. all across america more people are choosing nissan. ♪
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finally tonight, she was convicted for leaking the largest trove of government secrets in american history. now transgender soldier chelsea manning is a free woman. while some call her a traitor, others see her as a hero. she speaks out in her first television interview to my "nightline" coanchor juju chang. >> you've got thousands of letters, many from transgender children. >> right. >> what was their message to you? >> they were seeing in me what i was looking for when i was their age. and that's a lot of responsibility to have. we love you, chelsea, you're an inspiration to so many of us. witnessing your courage has given me the strength to come out at trans too. >> you said you feel a sense of responsibility to them? what is that responsibility? >> i don't know yet. i just know that they're watching. >> what would you say to them? >> be who you are.
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you have support now. there's people out there that will help you. and don't do what i did and run away from it. things are better. >> that was just a preview of our "nightline" exclusive interview with chelsea manning. tune in tomorrow for our full special edition "declassified: the chelsea manning story." thanks for watching abc news. as always we're online 24/7 at abcnews.com and our "nightline" facebook page. thank you again for watching. good night. >> welcome to teacher appreciation week, where each day we're giving some of the best teachers in the country a million-dollar pop quiz. after all their hard work, i would love to see these guys leave here with a huge pile of cash. so let's play "who wants to be a millionaire." [cheers and applause] [dramatic music] ♪ welcome to the show. it is teacher appreciation week on "millionaire."
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[cheers and applause] no one deserves it more. our returning teacher is so devoted to his students he says he's never retiring. they'll have to drag him out of his classroom. from flanders, new jersey, please welcome back bob scarpone. [cheers and applause] bob. >> great to see you again. >> welcome back, bud. >> thank you. >> you just love teaching. i mean, when you walk out, i can feel the excitement. >> yeah, yeah. >> and i know you have some fun stuff you do in the classroom. >> sure, my kids come in the first day of school, they haven't met me before. i will give the first class of the day some idiotic accent. [in british accent] maybe i'll speak with them with a british accent or something. the second class comes along... [imitating marlon brando] i'll give 'em some other kind of something or other. so, you know, they'll talk to each other later, um... [southern accent] and the third class will get maybe something from, uh-- [imitating peter lorre] maybe they'll get this peter lorre accent. [normal voice] and then at lunchtime, they're all talking with each other, they're like, "well, you know, he's the guy that talks with that funny--" "no, he isn't. he's the british guy." "no, he's not. he's the guy from the--" "no, he's the guy from new jersey," you know. >> the godfather. >> yeah!

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