tv NBC Nightly News NBC January 7, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
night. he could have dated nicole kidman. they're both happily married now. >> they're both happily married. on our broadcast tonight, massacre in paris. the deadliest terror attack on french soil in half a century. mass gunmen open fire in a killing spree then get away. tonight, the dead and critically wounded, the manhunt and incredible outpouring in the streets. also tonight, the growing threat of military-style attacks on civilian targets in broad daylight. execution killings and those who fear it's just the beginning. a big break to report in the search for that airasia jet and the mystery surrounding the crash. and our frozen nation. here at home windchills 30 below zero with more on the way. "nightly news" from washington tonight, begins now. this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams reporting tonight from washington.
good evening. the world is reacting tonight to a terrorist attack in one of the great world capitals that prompted an urgent manhunt and a frantic effort to identify three men. today in paris in broad daylight they entered a satirical magazine and came in firing. they were shooting to kill and the death toll reached a dozen including two police officers before they made their getaway prompting the manhunt. several of the dead were editorial cartoonists. one of them, the editor was wanted by islamic extremists for depicting the prophet mohammed in a negative way. in paris tonight, people have filled the streets in solidarity. this attack is being felt in all the european capitals here in the u.s. capital city and indeed around the world. we have all of it covered tonight. beginning with nbc's bill nealy in paris to start us off.
good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. after the massacre, the manhunt and now a possible shootout. police first naming three suspects and three men have been targeted. it's a fast moving story. this is a country in shock. those are the words of the french president. and many here are afraid the gunmen or some other gunmen could attack again. heavily armed and shouting in arabic, "god is great," masked gunmen carrying out a massacre in paris. they're outside the offices of a magazine which they'd stormed. inside 11 people, mostly journalists, lay dead. minutes later more killings as police officers confront the gunmen. one attacker walks to a wounded officer and shoots him point-blank. as the gunmen begin to make their escape, one shouts, we told you we would avenge the prophet muhammad, as they return
to their car, one gunman calmly picks up his shoe. their target in the heart of paris was a satirical magazine charlie hebdo, notorious for caricatures of the prophet muhammad. a clash of a right to publish versus a right that depicts any good or bad of the prophet muhammad. the horror began late this morning were the gunman forced their way past security killing one man at the door. upstairs at a meeting of the magazine's staff the gunmen opened fire killing editor stephane charbonnier and several cartoonists, one 80 years old. it's like a butcher's inside there, this man says. there are so many dead. the assault lasted about five minutes. the gunmen seemed fearless and made their getaway quickly, later hijacking another car leaving the bullet-ridden black
citron behind. the magazine had been attacked before. fire bombed three years ago for printing cartoons of the prophet muhammad. an attack that didn't stop it. journalists here are shocked and angry. >> it is an outrage and a major attack on the freedom of the press. >> reporter: french president francois hollande says the country is in a state of shock but must unite. tonight, parisians are doing just that. police have identified three men as suspects, two brothers in their early 30s and an 18-year-old. no arrests have been confirmed and no one has yet claimed tonight for france's worst terrorist attack in decades. and brian, earlier a senior american counter terrorism official told nbc news that one
of the three suspects has been killed and two had been arrested. but so far, there is no confirmation of this from french police. there is a counter terrorism operation going on at this moment in reims about 90 miles from here but the manhunt continues for the perpetrators of the worst terrorist attack in france in 54 years. back to you. bill neely with the very latest to start us off tonight. our chief correspondent has covered these types of attacks, these grooms overseas for years. he has more on that end of the story tonight. >> reporter: dressed in black, masked, determined, cradling their weapons. the gunmen look like seasoned veterans who stepped right off the battlefield of iraq, syria or yemen. or at the very least are mimicking the propaganda videos of militant groups to a t.
al qaeda and isis both place a growing value on propaganda. not just as advertising, but to turn their supporters into deadly weapons. both groups publish slick competing online magazines in english. both have been telling would-be recruits not to come to the front lines in the middle east anymore but to stay at home and attack civilian targets. al qaeda's branch in yemen, the same group that killed an american reporter last month, specifically marked the editor of charlie hebdo for death in 2013. his magazine has infuriated moderates for printing anti-islamic material repeatedly. al qaeda in yemen said it would make the magazine pay for it. also on its hit list, other activists who criticized radical islam including long time target salomon rushdie. in a statement he said, i stand with charlie hebdo as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against
tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. there has been a spate of recent attacks. the gunmen in canada, the man with an axe in new york, the attack on a cafe in sydney. all inspired by islamic militants to take matters in their own hands. >> the more innocents killed in these attacks, the greater the impetus is for others to carry out similar attacks. >> reporter: this time targeting a magazine which radicals considered an affront to their intolerant ideology. and, brian, at least one of those three suspects, one of the two brothers, was a well-known islamic radical who'd actually been convicted in 2008 on terrorism charges. brian. >> richard engel, part of our coverage of this story tonight. richard, thanks. we want to bring in michael leiter former director of the national counterterrorism center under both presidents obama and bush. he does national security work
for the federal government. michael, now that you're in the private sector, what is your government experience tell you, what was your first thought upon hearing this news today, and anything about it indicate we could be in for more? >> well, i think from what we saw these guys were pretty sophisticated, brian. this wasn't the run-of-the-mill home grown where they do one stupid thing with an axe. they were organized. they knew their target. they knew how to get away for a period. that's a level of sophistication we haven't seen. i think what is most telling here is really how vulnerable these soft targets are to these sorts of attacks. and whether we'll see more, i think success, unfortunately, breeds success. right now the al qaeda message, wherever it's coming from, syria or yemen, is gaining traction in many nations including france. >> so safe to be on alert a little bit higher degree here in the united states? >> i think so. i think we're going to see elevated levels of security in cities like new york, washington, los angeles. and that's appropriate.
because other people who are on the edge see the success and say i can be like that too. and organizations like isis and syria understand how to use social media and motivate and drive these people towards mobilizing and making these sorts of attacks. >> michael leiter, thank you for being with us here in our washington bureau tonight. now to the response from the white house and the obama administration on this side of the atlantic. our white house correspondent kristen welker is on the north lawn for us tonight. kristen, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. late today president obama called french president hollande from air force one offering condolences and the full support of the united states. homeland security, secret service and pentagon officials say there is no known domestic threat. still, administration officials say the paris attack is a reminder that terrorists will strike anywhere. officials in some major cities including new york and boston have beefed up security today. the president called france one of america's oldest allies and condemned the attacks.
>> for us to see the kind of cowardly, evil attacks that took place today, i think, reinforces once again why it's so important for us to stand in solidarity with them just as they stand in solidarity with us. >> reporter: secretary john kerry echoed mr. obama's remarks, speaking in english and french. >> each and every american stands with you today not just in horror or in anger or in outrage for this vicious act of violence. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> reporter: now, u.s. intelligence officials have been in contact with their french counterparts throughout the day. the president on the road for three days will receive regular briefings. brian. >> kristen welker from the white house as well. kristen, thanks.
also from overseas there's been a major break in the investigation of airasia flight 8501. they have located the tail section of the airbus a320 about 100 feet down on the ocean floor. the tail section is critical here because that's where the black boxes are stored. they contain the electronic clues to this crash. we get the very latest tonight from nbc's kelly cobiella in indonesia. >> reporter: it's the first visual proof that airasia flight 8501 is on the bottom of the sea. three pictures of the tail section. you can see part of the registration number and the a and i from the insignia. the tail section looks intact. the black boxes could still be inside. the flight data and cockpit voice recorders are typically found here. it's the first place searchers will look. the flight data recorder collects hundreds of data points including the plane's air speed and altitude. the voice recorder will tell investigators what the pilots were talking about.
and if any alarms were going off in the cockpit moments before the crash. >> until we get the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, we won't get to the bottom of this entire event and really understand how the crew got themselves into it and how they reacted to it. >> reporter: it was the black boxes from air france flight 447 found on the ocean floor nearly two years after the 2009 crash that helped identify the cause of the accident. if airasia's black boxes have fallen loose, searchers can still spot them on sonar. already they've spotted 12 large objects below the surface, but strong currents are stirring up silt and mud. it's so murky divers are having problems seeing under water. today, airasia founder tony fernandes tweeted, we need to find all parts soon to ease the pain of our families. that still is our priority. searchers are hoping they've already located the fuselage on sonar. and they'll be able to recover
the remains of those passengers and crew still missing once the seas are calmer and clearer, brian. >> kelly cobiella live for us in indonesia tonight. kelly, thanks. and still ahead for us tonight, the nation's weather in the news once again. blinding cold with a dangerous mix of ice and snow triggering pile-ups and rescues, triggering watches and warnings. also, the amazing show happening just offshore. what so many say is one of the most spectacular things they have ever seen.
tonight, 183 million americans are living under a windchill warning or advisory. that includes much of the state of florida. so much of the country is now covered in ice and snow it makes for an incredible sight from space. and there's more on the way. tomorrow will bring the coldest temperatures we have seen yet in a lot of places, which will now go to subzero. our report tonight from nbc's kevin tibbles in chicago. >> reporter: fierce arctic cold blasting down from the north causing whiteouts and a 40-car pile-up in michigan. hazardous conditions in erie, pennsylvania, and thermometers frozen at 7 below in waterloo, iowa. this morning temperatures dipped below zero in 15 states. with windchills making it seem even colder, some school closings reported in more than a dozen of them.
overnight firefighters battled both the weather and the flames outside chicago. >> the first half hour we were here we were not able to get water. >> reporter: come morning in the windy city commuters sought to underground pedestrian walkways just to escape it all. >> oh, it's a godsend. it's like a godsend. >> reporter: the milwaukee police homeless outreach team offers those still outside winter clothing and advice on where they can go to warm up. >> we keep an eye on them. make sure they're doing okay through the night. whether we can talk them into grabbing a blanket and an extra hat for the night. >> reporter: rescue workers pulled an indiana woman and her dog from frigid waters after she fell in trying to save her pet. and while the deep freeze continues, some 200 million people are forced to tough it out. >> another round of snow will race through the midwest on thursday and make its way into the northeast by friday.
windchills thursday morning up north will range from about 20 to 30 below zero, and down south will be close to zero. >> reporter: in fact, it will quite likely be warmer tomorrow in tiny north pole, alaska than it will be in parts of the lower 48 as this frigid january sloth drags on. and, brian, a deadly pile-up in whiteout conditions in pennsylvania has killed three. and while temperatures are supposed to slowly jump start themselves and start rising by some time by the end of the week, it probably won't happen in time to reopen many of those closed schools. brian. >> kevin tibbles, another cold night at navy pier in chicago. kevin, thanks. we are back in a moment with a pair of superfoods in the news tonight because of potentially big benefits to our health.
the ground won't stop shaking in texas. eleven quakes of various strengths in the last 24 hours, mostly in the ft. worth area. no injuries, no cause, no serious damage quite yet, just to people's nervous systems. both in the avocado industry and oatmeal industry there are celebrations tonight celebrating the fact they are both the subject of separate medical studies containing good news for their products. the journal of the american heart association says avocados can actually lower cholesterol within weeks and have good plaque busting properties. in the harvard school of public health says whole grain foods like oatmeal can lower your cardiovascular death risk by 15%. >> you know what they say about paybacks.
john boehner was easily re-elected house speaker yesterday despite 24 defections in his own party. and now the speaker has yanked two of those republicans off the house rules committee, at least for now, as the committee chairman put it, sometimes there can be consequences. "time" is in the news tonight beginning with the time capsule from 1795 they opened in boston last night. the expression on the curators face says it all, signed on a silver plaque were the names samuel adams and paul revere and what may even be their long-lost fingerprints. the box also contained five folded newspapers from the day and two dozen coins, one dating back to 1652. and if the year 2015 seems to drag on forever, there's a good reason for it. the people who keep the exact time for all of us at the international earth rotation and reference system service are adding a leap second to the clock at midnight on the last day of june. it's our first leap second in three years and it's meant to make up for a slight dip in the earth's rotational speed. when we come back, serenity
coast of southern california these days if the light is right, if the time is right and you're in the right spot, you will be treated to one of the greatest sights on our planet, a thrilling experience that doesn't come along often. as some of the largest creatures of the planet put on a spectacular show. nbc's hallie jackson has our report tonight from the california coastline. >> yes! >> reporter: it's a must-see show on the california coast. and you don't even need a boat to watch the biggest pod of killer whales ever spotted by captain dan sulles today. >> it's been one of the most spectacular things that in my 31 years of being a captain that i've ever seen. >> reporter: yet another orca sighting just days into the new year after this local celebrity wowed his audience who has even named him, comet. splashing, feeding, playing. >> it's a special whale. almost like seeing my friend multiple times a year. >> reporter: the black and white killers are here hunting gray, the smaller whale species moving
closer to land earlier than ever in a record setting season so far. >> it looks like a definite shift. the last four years we've had whales everywhere. >> reporter: you see how close we are to this whale. put it into perspective, 20,000 whales use this migratory route, so what we're seeing is only a fraction of what's out there. the whales are moving towards mexico. and experts wonder if warmer waters may be driving them closer to california. >> we think what happened is it was a little too warm for the schooling fish in baja and they may have moved up the coast and their predator moved up the coast. >> reporter: still, it will take time for scientists to figure out exactly why all this is happening. so while we wait, we watch, even listen. spectators at sea, nature's predators, natural performers. hallie jackson, nbc news, dana point, california. >> beautiful sight to end our broadcast on a wednesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams reporting tonight from our nbc news
washington bureau. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow night from our studios in new york. good night. people need to know that this is what we're fighting against. >> receipt now at 6:00. she says it was the most terrifying night of her life. now a transgender woman shares her fears after being attacked on a muni bus. >> stabbed, degraded and left bloody on a muni bus. an attack on a transgender woman that san francisco prosecutors say was without a doubt a hate crime. today that suspected attacker
made his first appearance in court. jodi hernandez was in the courtroom, and you also spoke to the victim about the attack? >> reporter: that's right, jessica. the attack happened not far from the victim's san francisco neighborhood here. she is still very shaken and couldn't bring herself to go to court and face her alleged attacker and sat down with us after court to share her story. >> it was probably the most terrifying thing i've been through in my life. i didn't think i was going to come out of it alive. >> reporter: 24 year old samantha holsy shows us the stab wounds she suffered at the hands of a man who specifically targeted her and her transgendered partner as they rode a muni bus home. >> he started saying hateful things toward us. >> reporter: she and her partner tried to get off the bus when they say a man pulled a knife and stabbed holsy. >> i tho