tv NBC Nightly News NBC October 31, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
prepared for that rain. you'll want to bring the jacket and umbrella. temperatures will stay in the 60s. you'll be able to manage. we'll be back here at 6:00. see you then. on the broadcast tonight, catastrophe in the sky for the second time this week, a private spacecraft goes down in flames. this time sadly people were onboard. captured, the accused cop-killer and sniper who kept communities on edge for seven weeks is behind bars tonight. how police finally got their man. halloween storm, a freezing night for millions of americans. early snow already creating a travel mess as hundreds of flights are grounded. and fill 'er up, a gallon of gas less than a gallon of milk. how long will it last? "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening. i'm lester holt sitting in for brian.
the dream of civilians soaring into space as paying passengers could be on hold tonight after the deadly crash of a virgin galactic space plane over the california desert today. it's the second accident involving a commercial spacecraft in this country this week. one crew member is dead, another was badly injured in today's crash which occurred during a test flight over the mojave desert just after the craft separated from its mother aircraft. these images capture what appears to be an explosion and pieces of debris tumbling to earth. nbc's tom costello has been covering the rapid growth of commercial space flight. he joins us now from our washington newsroom with more. tom, good evening. >> reporter: hi, lester. it appears one of the pilots was able to parachute out and was injured, the other did not get out alive. they both worked for scaled composites, which built the spaceship. tonight the ntsb is launching a team to investigate what went wrong. in mojave, california, this
afternoon, disaster, the burnt and broken remains of virgin galactic spaceship two, the experimental craft that was supposed to take paying customers one day into low earth orbit, fell to the ground. >> just a big puff. a big white puff. immediately at that point i knew that something had went really horribly wrong. >> possibly two patients. one doa. >> we found one person who had obviously was deceased immediately. the other was transported to the hospital. i do not have the condition. when left here it appeared to be major injuries. >> reporter: today's mission was meant to test a new engine design and fuel mixture. it was earlier this year when we were in mojave for another test flight. attached to the mothership, they flew to 46,000 feet. >> five, four, three, two, one. >> reporter: then spaceship two dropped from white knight two and fired a rocket to take it to 71,000 feet. today, it was at the moment the
rocket fired that the spaceship came apart. former astronaut steve robinson. >> rocket propulsion is still fairly new. it hasn't -- we've been doing it with humans involved and cargo for less than a hundred years now. and in technology that's fairly new. >> reporter: virgin galactic's chief pilot is david mckay, i talked to him about the ride after his test flight in january. >> the sensation is of a sudden push, very powerful push in the back that goes on and on. but it's very smooth. >> reporter: virgin galactic is owned by richard branson who has already sold more than 700 tickets to prospective space tourists, willing to spend $250,000 for four minutes floating in sub orbit. among the celebrities who have already booked a ride, lady gaga, tom hanks and katy perry. >> i wanted to go to space, so, you know. but nasa wasn't building spaceships for ordinary people to go to space. so i came up with the name virgin galactic airways. >> reporter: tonight, richard branson is on his way to mojave.
and virgin galactic's plans for space tourism are very much in question. nbc news has an agreement to document virgin galactic's inaugural flight with paying passengers. this is of course the second major blow to the commercial space industry this week. just three days ago an orbital sciences rocket exploded on liftoff on a re-supply mission to the space station. thankfully no one was killed, but it was a $200 million loss for that company, lester. >> tom, in these two accidents a reminder there's a change in balance. we're seeing more commercial space flight operations along with government-sponsored space flight. so what's the result of all this? >> reporter: i think it's fair to say that tonight the entire commercial space industry is reeling. i mean, questions about whether they're up to the job and the risks associated with space flight, and especially whether tourists should be headed to space, at least right now. >> all right. tom costello in washington tonight. thank you. it took seven weeks, but a suspected cop-killer is finally in the hands of the police who have hunted him for so long. tonight, a sigh of relief for the pennsylvania community where he lurked in the woods as a
fugitive for days on end. nbc's ron allen has our report tonight from blooming grove, pennsylvania. >> reporter: eric frein showed no emotion as a crowd outside his arraignment vented their anger. police leading him away, frein formally charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder. his hands bound with the handcuffs of state trooper bryon dixon who frein killed on september 12th hitting two troopers. >> rot in hell! >> reporter: frein taken to prison in the trooper's squad car. >> what was the real break in this case? >> this was not a result of a tip or sighting, this was the result of ongoing pressure put on frein by law enforcement. >> reporter: it ended for frein outside this airplane hangar on the grounds of a sprawling abandoned resort, some 23 miles from the barracks when a team of ten u.s. marshalls on a routine
search spotted frein. >> he turned towards me, saw we were in full kit with rifles, identified myself, he put his hands up. i told him to get on the ground and he got on the ground. >> reporter: police say the survivalist and avid war enactor had planned the attack for years, left a trail of evidence, weapons and ammunition, explosives, as many as 1,000 officers on his trail. finally in custody looking gaunt, his face bruised, frein was taken back to the barracks where he allegedly ambushed the troopers. did you expect it to be a violent end? >> i knew that was a strong possibility. yes. in fact, that was my biggest concern. >> reporter: i can see some -- >> yeah, you have the police department there. >> reporter: tom vich lives next to the abandoned resort where frein was captured. dozens of empty buildings, hundreds of acres of wilderness. today, police were still there gathering evidence. >> it's creepy finding out there's somebody walking around here. but again, this place has been abandoned for 20, 30 years. >> reporter: after weeks on edge, residents of this rural community where frein caused so much mayhem are finally feeling relief. kids can celebrate halloween by
trick-or-treating, which had been canceled while frein was on the run. >> to be honest with you, i'm glad they caught him and it's over with. and i'm happy for the families that can go on with their life now too. >> reporter: and some good news tonight. we understand that trooper douglass wounded in the attack is recovering. to this day police have no idea why frein allegedly carried out these attacks right here in front of the police barracks, why he was so angry with authorities. prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty. lester? >> ron allen tonight, thanks. it is a frigid halloween night across much of the country. 40 million living in places under a freeze watch or warning right now. and that as a big storm is on the move. a nasty rainmaker and even snow already in the upper midwest, up to eight inches in parts of wisconsin and michigan. in chicago the waves are so big on lake michigan they flooded lake shore drive. and that's where we find weather channel meteorologist jim cantore. jim, good evening. >> reporter: lester, they're
calling this the worst flooding on lake shore drive since 1987. you can see why. behind me massive waves still crashing over the seawall here. the blue lights behind me are of course lake shore. those are northbound traffic lights you see coming obviously with the water coming up on both the northbound and southbound lanes, traffic is moving very slow and in some cases it's even having to stop. this is just part of the storm that will affect everybody east of the rocky mountains. let's talk about it here as we work our way into saturday. mostly, again, a rainmaker down in the valleys, but in the mountains it will be snow especially for the central and southern appalachians. sunday that cold air moves east. it will be colder in northern florida than it will be in new york city on sunday morning. and the snow forecast anywhere from six to 12 inches in the tennessee and north carolina mountains where some spots in tennessee and north carolina, lester, will get their first snow on halloween. when do they usually get it? christmas day. so a bit early this year. >> all right. jim cantore in a windy chicago tonight. thanks. on the big island of hawaii
that giant lava flow threatening a town has slowed. but officials say this doesn't mean homes are out of danger. tonight, parts of the flow have cooled enough that it's safe for our team, along with a geologist, to actually get on top of it for an up-close look. here's nbc's hallie jackson. >> reporter: we are upslope of the pahoa lava flow right now. so this is all lava underneath this black crust. even though the lava has cooled enough for us to walk on, it is incredibly hot. remember, this is about 2,100 degrees, the molten lava underneath. it's moving at less than five yards an hour. officials think over the next few days it's going to stay moving really slowly. locals here call this the power of pele, the goddess of volcanos. she built this island and is not done building yet. hallie jackson, nbc news, pahoa, hawaii. in maine tonight, a nurse may come and go as she pleases after the state lost its fight to keep her in quarantine. kaci hickox returned to the u.s.
a week ago after treating ebola patients in west africa. out of an abundance of caution, maine's governor argued she should stay in her home waiting to see if she develops any symptoms. our report tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk. >> hello, everyone. >> reporter: kaci hickox appears at least in part relieved. >> it's just a good day. >> reporter: today, a district court said the nurse who treated ebola patients in west africa was free to move around in public, denying a request by the state of maine she not be allowed in crowded public places. still, the judge urged her to be sensitive to "the real fear that exists even if it's not entirely rational." >> i am sensitive. this is one of the reasons i'm saying, this battle isn't over. we still need to continue this discussion. we still need to continue educating ourselves. and i don't want to make anyone uncomfortable. >> reporter: but the court order wasn't a total victory. hickox still has to adhere to three guidelines, daily health checks, notify health
authorities if she travels, and immediately tell officials if any symptoms appear. it's not enough, says governor paul lepage. >> we don't know what we don't know about ebola. and i'm concerned, but he ruled. and as a governor, i took an oath to honor the rules of the court. >> reporter: for today the battle over ebola policy was won by a tough nurse who took a defiant stand. there's still a hearing pending in this case scheduled for next tuesday, where the court could decide to issue a new order. but until then that state trooper that has been sitting out here for the last three days, lester, is gone. >> all right. stephanie, thank you. we are hearing tonight for the first time from the american who was held for almost six months in north korea, after entering the authoritarian country on a tourist visa and getting arrested for trying to promote religion. nbc's kristen welker spoke with jeffrey fowl today back home in
ohio. >> reporter: jeffrey fowle knew leaving a bible in a north korea nightclub could be breaking the law, but he was willing to take the risk and never thought he would actually be detained. but in may his tour guide did just that at the pyongyang airport. >> went to a back room and said is this your bible, and showed me the bible. said yeah. i go -- >> reporter: he had terrifying thoughts. >> this could be the end of life as i know it. could be the end of job, family. >> reporter: fowle was held in a hotel, then a room in a hospitality center. >> i was treated fairly well. i was never physically abused. always had enough -- usually too much to eat. >> reporter: he was escorted on a daily walk but was isolated for 23 hours a day, watching tv, mostly propaganda of kim jong-un. fowl wrote alerts to his wife and three children, now tough to read. >> until i get home -- this is hard.
until i get home, you'll have to step up and be the man of the house. >> reporter: fowle said he was sustained by his faith and a desire to help christians practice their religion freely. so you wanted to -- progelitize? >> well, i wanted to do something to help the underground church. i read the stories of the persecution. >> reporter: then suddenly last week he was released, a u.s. government plane carried him home to ohio and his family. >> half a year without a dad is really hard to live with. and when he came back, it was -- it blew my mind. >> reporter: now fowle is praying for two americans still held in north korea and says he has learned a painful lesson. >> knowing what i know now, i would not do it again. >> reporter: kristen welker, nbc news, lebanon, ohio. still ahead tonight, something a lot of people thought they'd never see again, gas below $3 a gallon and headed even lower. but how low? and where is it the cheapest? and later, four legs and a whole lot of embarrassed faces. you won't believe how much
good news as we head into the holidays. the average price of a gallon of gas nationwide is about to hit $3 and headed even lower. in fact, aaa says tonight 60% of the nation's gas stations are charging less than three bucks a gallon already. nbc's anne thompson is at one of those stations in ft. lee, new jersey. good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, lester. in the month of october alone the price of a gallon of gas fell a whopping 33 cents, making pulling up to the pump a treat on this halloween. it's getting easier to fill 'er up. >> yes, it's surprising. >> reporter: the national average price of gas is on the verge of falling below three bucks a gallon. >> good thing to see. gas hasn't been this cheap in a long time. >> reporter: not since december 2010. gas is under $3 a gallon in 23 of the lower 48. in tennessee the statewide average is $2.75. go to chattanooga and it's cheaper, $2.61. rock bottom price is at sam's club on lea highway, $2.53. drivers across the country tweeting pictures of their local low prices. what's driving down gas prices? analysts point to multiple factors, starting with the price war among opec members. price of a wholesale barrel of crude falling more than 20% since june.
>> the bigger story is u.s. production. five or ten years ago the u.s. was only producing about 6 million barrels of crude oil per day. now about 9.5 million barrels, much of that thanks to development in areas like north dakota -- >> reporter: spending less at the pump means americans have more money to spend elsewhere. gas buddy says motorists are saving over $100 million a day compared to a year ago. on an individual basis the amount is much smaller. >> right now a gallon of gasoline costs less than a gallon of milk on average. so you definitely see a savings and that may translate into consumers spending more on other everyday items. >> reporter: just in time for the holiday shopping season. this is by no means the bottom. gasoline analysts say the price will continue to drop. one analyst says the national average for a gallon of gas could hit $2.90. lester? >> all right. thanks very much, anne. we're back in a moment with a huge scare below ground. an unbelievable near-miss.
this is what happens when an entire building filled with fireworks goes up in flames. it happened overnight in stafford, england. police say two people died in the fire, at least two others suffered injuries. the cause is now under investigation. hundreds of passengers of the subway here in new york got a big halloween scare a day early. yesterday morning when a giant drill being used in a construction project pierced the ceiling of the subway tunnel. and take a look, it barely missed coming down right through the top of the train. thankfully no one was hurt, just a lot of frayed nerves and explaining to do by the contractor. the streets were filled with black and orange today in the city by the bay as thousands cheered the world series champions, the san francisco giants. the weather got pretty nasty at times, but spirits were high.
this is the third victory parade for the giants in just five years. but as one fan remarked, it never gets old. always one of the most exciting days around these parts, halloween at "today" show. this year the whole gang dressed up as iconic "saturday night live characters," including matt as, it's pat. savannah and meredith wearing mom jeans. willie and tamron as the spartan cheerleade cheerleaders. and father peter alexander and natalie as mary kathrine gallagher. hoda and kathy lee as wayne and garth. and then there were the blues brothers. performance by al roker and a guy who looks an awful lot like me in sunglasses. we'll check into it. when we come back, why humiliating our pets on this halloween is now a multimillion dollar industry.
happy halloween from pennsylvania avenue this evening where the president and first lady are welcoming about 4,500 trick-or-treaters this year. if you're getting ready to take the kids out in the neighborhood or putting the finishing touches on your costume, then you're one of the millions of americans spending more than $7 billion combined on halloween this year.
but one of the big growing markets isn't for adults or even for children. nbc's janet shamlian explains. >> reporter: forget your costume or how your children are dressing up. what's your dog going to be for halloween? for many primping the family pet has become the highlight of the holiday. >> we want to be best in show. >> reporter: but that can come at a cost, sometimes a doggie's dignity. the web is full of good dogs suffering public humiliation at the hands of their owners. >> wave for mommy. >> reporter: pet costumes are biggest. how much did you spend on this production? >> thousands. >> one thousand, two ? >> keep going. >> reporter: americans will spend $300 million just on their pets. >> halloween is such a big business for the pet industry. if you wait to the last minute like i did with bella, the pickings can be pretty slim. so we are going to go with the bumblebee. what do you think? yes? >> reporter: you know it's love
when she'll put up with this. no cat would have it. what are you spending on costumes today, pictures, treats? >> an outrageous amount. >> reporter: retailers like petsmart have become smart about the holiday. at this texas store, registers are ringing for all sorts of halloween-themed products. hasn't this gotten a little out of control? >> we want that. we really do. >> reporter: let's be honest, pets do not want to be dressed as grapes or a hot dog or a show girl. >> everybody's paying attention to him. he's loving this. >> reporter: as much as we try to convince ourselves otherwise. janet shamlian, nbc news, houston. that's our broadcast for this friday night. thank you for being with us. i'm lester holt. i'll see you back at 8:00, 7:00 central for tonight's "dateline" and, of course, with you all weekend as well. for all of us here at nbc news, goodnight.
world is right here yet again. a lot of kids skipping school and a lot of parents skipping work with their kids and everyone else just watching on television. just in case you missed it, giants fans celebrating the world series u up close and personal with the players, the pictures say it all. it was fun out there, the occasional downpour didn't dampen the spirits. it actually made everything a little more fun. >> i didn't mind getting wet. >> a torturous way. the big question, will the free agent stay with the giants? >> i love them, i play for them. >> it will cost the giants big money to resign panda, there were plenty of chants from the fans and the players lobbying for panda to stay with the skbri giants, as for the actual mvp, here's mad bug. >> number 40, madison baumgardner. >> so cool to see him,