tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC May 30, 2016 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
tonight, zoo outrage. growing backlash over a gorilla shot dead after dragging a child who breached its enclosure. demands tonight to charge that boy's parents. deadly floods. rushing water, mandatory evacuations. many frantically trying to save what they can with even more severe storms on the way. mystery candidate. rumors stoked of a big-name independent about to enter the presidential race provoking an angry warning from donald trump. to the rescue. three women hailed as heroes across the world. how they stopped an alleged crime in progress during a night out. and against all odds. on this memorial day our journey with a veteran given little hope after a devastating injury who proved them all wrong to fulfill a promise
begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. i'm thomas roberts in for lester. tonight cincinnati zoo officials are fielding fast and furious reactions over their judgment to kill the silverback named harambe as the best choice to save a child trapped in the gorilla enclosure. a viral video captured over the holiday weekend shows the scene after a 3-year-old boy crawled and climbed into the exhibit ending up face-to-face with a massive primate. and now there's even a public call asking for the toddler's parents to be held responsible in the animal's death. blake mccoy has the latest. >> reporter: tonight outrage over an incident at the cincinnati zoo when a 3-year-old boy fell into the gorilla enclosure saturday. for ten agonizing minutes onlookers watched including the boy's mother who cried out to him.
>> reporter: at one point the 420-pound male silverback named harambe, grabbed the boy's ankle and dragged him through the water. >> mommy loves you. i'm right here. >> reporter: zoo officials opened fire, killing the gorilla and rescuing the boy. today zookeepers defended their decision. >> naturally, we did not take the shooting of harambe lightly. but that child's life was in danger. >> reporter: on social media, a firestorm. people upset the gorilla was killed. many blame the boy's mother, who runs a day care center. an online petition now has 200,000 signatures urging she be charged with negligence. in a facebook post that has since been deleted the mother defended herself. as a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off their child, and if anyone knows me, i keep a tight watch on my kids. accidents happen. a subsequent statement thanked the zoo for its actions. >> it was just being a goa.
unfortunately, it paid the ultimate price for something that was not his fault. >> reporter: zoo officials say a tranquilizer would have taken too long and agitated the gorilla more. they're investigating now how the child was able to get into the closure. this shows a steel railing with wires below. that railing is followed by four feet of vegetation before a 15-foot drop into a moat where the child fell. harambe heard splashing and jumped in also. today a small vigil outside the zoo where organizers say something is being lost in the blame game. >> in the middle of all this fighting, the victim is being forgotten. >> reporter: inside the zoo flowers surround a gorilla statue as the exhibit remains closed. tonight the zoo insists the gorilla enclosure is safe. they say in the 37-year history of the exhibit they've never had a breach. they plan to reopen it next weekend. as for the mother, police tell me she's not under investigation and will not face charges. thomas? >> this is the story
blake mccoy in cincinnati for us. blake, thank you. now to the deadly flood emergency in the south tonight. at least six people are dead in texas where evacuations continue after historic rainfall pushed several rivers to overflow. and now, residents are bracing for even more severe weather. nbc's gabe gutierrez has more from south texas where the danger is far from over. >> reporter: today the brazos river swelled quickly. how fast is it coming up right now? >> it's very, very fast. very fast. >> when i walked through there, it's over my knees. >> reporter: the rising water creeping closer to laurel's home. >> material things. >> reporter: she and her neighbors in rosenberg, texas, frantically grabbing what they could and evacuating. have you ever seen it flood this bad? >> no. >> it's a scramble. >> reporter: mandatory evacuations in wharton,as
overflowed. >> i just don't know what to say because right now i feel devastated. >> reporter: the death toll in this state climbing to at least six. overnight near san antonio about ten inches of rain collapsed this roof and caused a mess on the roads. since last week's torrential downpours residents were hoisted to safety. >> approaching halfway up, nice, easy. >> reporter: more than 2,000 inmates from several prisons were rushed to higher ground. first responders helping horses to dry land. drone video capturing this houston suburb submerged. astronaut terry virts tweeting this view from the air. all that water now flowing downstream. >> there are so many things floating. i mean, i've never seen that. >> reporter: right into carlos jimenez and tiffany davis' backyards. >> i kind of panicked when they told us we needed to leave. i started going to the house, putting things as high as i could and putting things in bags and leaving. >> reporter: tonight roads are closed, ed
in tow, and parts of texas are bracing for even more historic flooding yet to come. this is the brazos river. it's expected to crest tomorrow at more than 53 feet, its highest level in almost 60 years. many homeowners have already left its banks. and making matters worse, there is more rain forecast for the houston area later this week. thomas? >> gabe gutierrez, thank you so much. we'll talk about that rain right now with nbc news meteorologist dylan dreyer. it has been a rough few days in the south and there's more wet weather on the way. >> there certainly is, thomas. quiet right now across texas. but through the next couple of days we'll see more isolated severe storms start to develop. but as we get to wednesday and this cold front moves in, that's the best chance of seeing really heavy rain with some areas picking up as much as four to five inches of rain. this time centered closer to san antonio, giving houston a break, but still we're looking at another couple of inches possible in the houston area through the middle and end of the week.
will lead to more flooding. also want to point out the remnants of bonnie. it's made a mess of the memorial day weekend down through the carolinas. we'll start to see it clear out in the northeast by tomorrow, but more wet weather is likely through tuesday down and through north and south carolina. thomas? >> dylan, thanks so much. now good news for the millions making that journey home tonight as this unofficial start to summer comes to a close. after weeks of horror stories about long waits at airports, the tsa and industry watchdogs are reporting no significant delays. many more are driving with aaa predicting over 38 million people on the roads this memorial day. now to politics. a new twist this evening in what's already been a wild race for president. talk that a prominent independent candidate may enter the race at this late stage. donald trump worried that could draw votes away from him has already lashed out. nbc's hallie jackson reports, there's a lot of buzz over who this mystery candidate may be. >> reporter: with his competitors parading on memorial day, donald trump's
general election now looking at a possible new challenger after conservative writer bill kristol hinted at an independent candidate with a strong team and a real chance. trump calling kristol quote, a dummy, can't allow lightweights to set up a spoiler indy candidate, he tweeted, even after months of flirting with his own independent bid. >> i don't want to do the independent thing, but i do keep it and it is leverage. >> reporter: kristol tells nbc news nothing is imminent. others familiar with the search for an alternative say something could be announced as early as this week. whispers surround mitt romney, but a source close to him tells nbc today it remains unlikely he would run. same goes for nebraska senator ben sass, also a leader of the never trump movement. other names mentioned include condoleezza rice, house speaker paul ryan, and susanna martinez who skipped trump's ramie prompted a war of words with
even some of his former rivals are the subject of speculation. but none seem interested in what would be the ultimate longshot candidacy. >> trump has high negatives and there are people who won't vote for either of them and will be looking for some way to send a message. >> reporter: another potential spoiler, new libertarian pick gary johnson, the former new mexico governor who received just 1% in 2012 trying to be taken more seriously this cycle. late tonight, bill kristol tweeted a sarcastic apology for what he called unnerving donald trump. most analysts agree that any conservative challenger could peel enough votes away from trump to all but assure the democrats the white house come november. >> we'll see how this victory unfolds. hallie jackson in washington for us. a scare at the white house prompted a partial lockdown for hours today. a haz-mat team descended on the grounds there after authorities say an object was thrown over the fence. president obama was inside the white house at the time, but the object was later deemed hml
a woman was placed in handcuffs and detained over that incident. earlier in the days, president obama marked his final memorial day in office with a traditional appearance at arlington national cemetery. he used that moment to pay respects to those american troops killed overseas in the last year. nbc's jim miklaszewski has the details. >> present. >> present. >> reporter: president obama laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns amidst what he called the silence of these sacred hills at arlington national cemetery. the president then challenged all americans to live up to the sacrifice of the fallen. >> it is our responsibility, our obligation to fill that silence with our love and our support and our gratitude and not just with words but with our actions. >> reporter: president obama said his most solemn obligation was sending u.s. forces into harm's
paid tribute to the 20 americans killed in afghanistan over the past year and three others in the war against isis in iraq. that includes josh wheeler, a delta force commando, whose wife ashley held their 10-month-old son david during today's ceremony. wheeler was killed during a rescue mission to free 70 hostages held by isis. >> we were already dead, one of the hostages said, then god sent us a force from the sky. that force was the u.s. army, including josh wheeler. >> reporter: a fitting tribute to all who have served and sacrificed. jim miklaszewski, nbc news, the white house. on this memorial day, a major offensive is under way to retake a key city where 100 american troops died during the iraq war. circumstances have changed since the battle for fallujah in 2004. now it's iraqi forces
[000:11:59;00] to drive isis from its stronghold in the city. nbc's keir simmons has our report. >> reporter: a blast of artillery beginning the offensive this morning. a multipronged assault on fallujah's suburbs but victory to these iraqi forces is likely a long way off. tonight isis is fighting back putting out video it claims shows its counterattack determined to hold a city they've controlled for two years. fallujah now a city under siege. an estimated 50,000 civilians trapped, possible human shields for the jihadists. men and boys reportedly facing execution if they don't fight for isis. >> if they try to escape, the risk of being caught and therefore executed is very, very high. >> reporter: iqi ground forces are backed in the air by the u.s. but on the ground by militias supported by iran. they'll be fighting isis on the same battleground where more than 100 american
troops were killed in some of the fiercest >> this is the most complex of missions. fighting in urban terrain. you've got a number of different forces. several different commanders. and an entrenched enemy. >> reporter: tonight defeating isis is possibly a step closer, but visibly a tough and bloody task. and many battles lie ahead. keir simmons, nbc news, london. still ahead tonight, a fun evening out takes a dark turn when three friends say they saw a man slipping something into another woman's drink. what they did next made them social media heroes. also, terror in the water as sharks attack on both coasts. attack on both coasts. [burke] at farmers,we've seen almost everything, so we know how to cover almost anything. even a ufh2o. [man] that's not good. [pilot] that's not good. [man] that's really not good.
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stay strong. stay active with boost®. we are back with a story millions are talking about across the world. three women out for a night of fun in california when they spotted a man they believed was up to no good. and rather than sit idly by, they took action. and now they're being hailed for stopping an alleged sexual assault attempt. nbc's gadi schwartz has details. >> reporter: it's a hero's story grabbing headlines all over the world. germany, australia, india. all talking about three friends in santa monica, california, who say they stopped a woman from being drugged. >> i said, i just saw him put something in her drink. >> reporter: the friends were sitting a few feet away from a couple they say looked like they were on a first date. >> i said we need to get that drink off of the table. >> reporter: when the woman went to the rest
room sonya went to warn her. >> i just said that guy you're with put something in your drink. and she said, oh, my god. he's one of my best friends. >> reporter: back at the table, the other woman told restaurant staff who began to stall to prevent 24-year-old michael chu from getting away. >> security watched the footage and security called the santa monica police. >> reporter: chu, arrested and charged with assault and drugging with attempt to commit rape. his bond $1 million. attempts to reach him or his lawyers have been unsuccessful. police still waiting for the results of chemical testing on the drink. >> all we know is we had to say something. >> reporter: after the arrest, many in the restaurant thanked the friends. >> someone from each and every one of the tables had a story of how it happened to them, how it happened to their sister, how it happened to their roommate, men and women. >> reporter: stories that fall in line with alarming national statistics. cdc reporting more than 90% of victims know the rapist.
and in a 12-month period, they estimate ov80 alcohol or drug-facilitated rape. >> do something. just anything. anything. just say something. >> reporter: the friends hoping their story will inspire others to have courage and act if they see someone in danger. gadi schwartz, nbc news, los angeles. we're back in a moment with a frightening crash that sent a tractor trailer over the edge. moment with a frightening crash that sent ♪ the sun'll come out tomorrow... ♪ moment with a frightening crash that sent for people with heart failure, tomorrow is not a given. but entresto is a medicine that helps make more tomorrows possible. ♪ tomorrow, tomorrow... ♪ i love ya, tomorrow in the largest heart failure study ever. entresto helped more people stay alive and out of the hospital than a leading heart failure medicine. women who are pregnant must not take entresto. it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby.
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ask your doctor if chantix is right for you. holiday traffic was snarled along a major expressway here in new york when an accident left a tractor trailer dangling from an overpass. officials say the driver lost control and hit the car in front of him with two other vehicles also involved. the driver was able to crawl out of the cab with minor injuries. two others also had minor injuries. scarmoments on both coasts this holiday weekend when sharks attacked two swimmers. a woman was pulled out of the water in newport beach,
carn to be from a great white. and in florida, a teen suffered a gash on his leg from what's believed to be a five to six-foot shark. neither shark was located after the attacks. now you can catch an amazing sight in the sky tonight and you don't even need a telescope to do it. mars will be visible to the naked eye this evening because this is the closest the red planet has come to earth in 11 years. 46 million miles away. now, the best chance for viewing this evening, but you might also still catch a glimpse through friday. so when we come back, a veteran we followed from his injury in battle to the graduation stage. his new mission -- helping other just like him. huffing and puffing. like you do sometimes, grandpa? well, when you have copd, it can be hard to breathe. it can be hard to get air out, which can make it hard to get air in. so i talked to my doctor. she said... symbicort could help you breathe better,
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eye institute recommends of moderate to advanced amd... after 15 years of clinical studies. preservision areds 2. because my eyes are everything. finally tonight on this memorial day, a veteran's incredible journey. our team first met him in a makeshift hospital in iraq as part of our series, wounds of war. now he's celebrating an incredible achievement in memory of fallen friends. our longtime correspondent and member of the nbc news family, robert bazell, now retired, returns tonight with this remarkable new chapter in the life of an american hero whom he's followed now for nearly a decade.
>> reporter: graduation day at the america. >> evan thomas cole. >> reporter: evan cole's master's degree in architecture is the culmination of a journey marked by anguish, courage and determination. >> something i had promised my friends that died in iraq, some of them saved me, that i'm going to try to do something with my life that's meaningful. >> reporter: it was 2007 when we first saw the young army specialist. he was near death when he was rushed into the field hospital in iraq. >> an open tibia fracture. >> reporter: a bomb blasted his humvee killing two other troops. >> this is a quick read for the doc. >> reporter: doctors decided he should be transported to landstuhl hospital in germany on a giant c-17, a flying intensive care unit. >> we all joined the army around the same time. >> reporter: we next saw evan five months later in the u.s. he had already endured dozens of surgeries
and countless hours of physical therapy, and he was showing signs of traultic brain injury. >> i forget whole people, whole conversations. forgetting all kinds of stuff. and i was through a lot of extreme real bad irritability. >> reporter: his doctor did not hold out high hopes. >> i envision evan to be able to live in the community, potentially alone some day, walk on his own. >> reporter: hi, evan. good to see you. >> hey, good to see you, too. >> reporter: this has been a long time. >> yes, nine years. >> reporter: when you see the tape we have of the doctor who said the best that you could ever do was maybe live by yourself, what's your response to that? >> i love that he said that about me because that has motivated me more times than i could even count through the last couple years to prove him wrong. >> reporter: that motivation made him throw away his cane and pain medication, even though his pain is still constant. >> i was about to be discharged.
>> reporter: and during three long years in a the decision to go to college. >> i have had to come up with new strategies in my life to remember things. this coming right through here is the river. >> reporter: for his architecture thesis, he designed a rehab clinic for wounded veterans for his home town of traverse city, michigan. he sees it as a model for v.a. facilities in places far from a big hospital. >> i just like to make it so that if anybody else who has fought for this country, like i did, has to go through this, that it could be better than it was for me. not saying that it was bad, but i'd like it to be better. >> this is the class of 2016. congratulations. >> reporter: evan cole is delivering on that promise to fallen friends. >> looking forward to the future. >> reporter: robert bazell, nbc news, washington. congratulations to evan, and how nice to see bob bazell reporting this evening. that will do it for us tonight on this monday.