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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  June 19, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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so beware. thanks for joining us. back at 6:00 home to see you then. bye. breaking news tonight, tragic word from ohio. otto warmbier, the american student freed from north korea, has died days after being sent home to his parents in a coma. violent storm threat for millions across a huge part of the country right now. record shattering heat and late word of a tropical storm warning on the gulf coast. onlert. across europe tonight after terror strikes london again. and in paris today an attacker thwarted on the champs-elysees. dangerous escalation after the u.s. shoots down a syrian war plane for first time. the russians threaten to target american planes. carrie fisher. new information tonight on her death. what the medical examiner has revealed. and lights, camera and a brave little
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action hero inspiring america. "nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. to our viewers in the west. thank you for being with us tonight. there is sad news about the american student medically evacuated from a north korean prison last week in a coma. the family of otto warmbier says the 22-year-old died today. doctors who treated warmbier upon his return to the u.s. reported he had suffered severe brain damage while in custody. his family near cincinnati tonight calling their son the victim of torturous mistreatment. president trump reacting to the news called north korea a brutal regime. but it remains unclear what happened to warmbier during his nearly 1 1/2 years behind bars. nbc's gabe gutierrez has late details.
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>> please think of my family. >> reporter: otto warmbier was just 22 years old when he suddenly arrived from north korea in a coma. late today his family confirmed he would never wake up. his family now says the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the north koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today. >> bad things happened, but at least we got him home to be with his parents where they were so happy to see him even though he was in very tough condition. it's a brutal regime, and we'll be able to handle it. >> reporter: last week warmbier's father spoke to reporters in the same jacket his son wore when he begged for his freedom. >> please save my life. >> i'm so glad you're home. you are such a great guy. >> reporter: a student at the university of virginia, warmbier had been on a tour of the secretive country when
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in january of 2016 he was jailed for stealing a propaganda poster and sentenced to hard labor. he finally returned to his home state of ohio. >> his neurological condition can be best described as a state of unresponsive wakefulness. >> reporter: north korea claims warmbier contracted botulism then slipped into an unconscious state after taking a sleeping pill. >> even if you believe their explanation of botulism and a sleeping pill causing the coma -- and we don't -- there is no excuse for any civilized nation to have kept his condition secret. >> reporter: tonight his death is still a mystery, but the outrage over it is mounting. gabe gutierrez, nbc news. tonight, violent storms are pushing across the country. 62 million americans in the path. forecasters warning of a dangerous night ahead after a day of sweltering triple-digit heat. and now we have late word of a tropical storm warning along the gulf coast. al roker is here
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tracking all of it for us. al, what has you most concerned? >> right now the line of severe storms stretching from new england all the way down into the southeast. 62 million people, as you mentioned, at risk. we can't rule out a tornado or two out of this system. rounds of storms late tonight. plus we've got this dangerous heat from the southwest into the west coast. triple digits tomorrow from tucson all the way to fresno and it lasts on to the end of this week for albuquerque, el paso, phoenix, las vegas and on into sacramento. and we now have potential tropical cyclone number three in the gulf. an 80% chance. this is the zone of formation. we expect this to make landfall some time late wednesday afternoon. we have tropical storm watches and warnings up from texas into louisiana. rainfall. the big problem here they've already gotten 7 to 12 inches of rain in this area. they could pick up another foot. that could lead to catastrophic flooding later this week. >> you have a lot on your plate. another update tomorrow morning. al, thanks. turning overseas now, two major cities once again targeted by suspected terror
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attacks. in paris, investigators say a man rammed his car packed with explosive and gas canisters into a police vehicle causing a fiery blast along the champs-elysees. the suspect was killed, but no one else was injured. reports say the suspect was flagged for extremism in the past. france remains under a state of emergency after a series of terror attacks. and shock in london after yet another suspected terror attack there, the fourth in the uk in just four months. this time it appears muslims were targeted when a van plowed into pedestrians as they left prayers at a mosque. at least one person died, and tonight is suspect is in custody. nbc's bill neely is there and has the latest. >> reporter: moments after the attack and a driver is caught by muslim worshipers he tried to kill. he rammed his van into
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men who just finished prayers. survivors furious. their imam protecting the man as he's handed to police. >> no one touches no one. >> reporter: witnesses say he accelerated as he mounted the sidewalk, then threatened muslims. >> he said, i did it, and i want to kill some muslims. >> he basically screamed out, i'll do it again. and he stuck out his hand like that as a gesture to mock. >> reporter: i'll do it again? >> i'll do it again. >> reporter: police say he's a terror suspect named as 47-year-old darren osbourne. he was not on a terror watch list. british prime minister theresa may tried to reassure muslims. britain's leader says she's determined to stamp out extremism, but the pace of these terror attacks is accelerating and people here are angry. four attacks in four months now. a car attack and stabbing at westminster, a bomb at ariana grande's concert in manchester, a van attack and mass stabbing at london bridge. all of them islamist attacks until this one.
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another driver acting alone say police. tonight more flowers, more defiance. >> london is a resilient city. we are the greatest city in the world. >> reporter: it's also a city on the edge. bill neely, nbc news, london. we turn to a dangerous situation in syria. the u.s. shooting down a syrian aircraft for the first time prompting syrian president assad's allies, the russians, to say they'll now target american planes. a very tense showdown playing out tonight. we get the latest from our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. >> reporter: tonight, hours after a u.s. f/a-18 from the george h.w. bush aircraft carrier, shot down a syrian jet for the first time, russia now threatening to target american warplanes. the u.s. launching that attack after it says syria kept bombing u.s.-backed ground forces despite warnings to syria's russian allies on a military hot line. >> we called -- the u.s. called the russians on that deconfliction
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telephone line that we've set up with them and the russians said, no, we're not going to abide by that. >> reporter: today the russians suspending the hot line set up to prevent the two superpowers from firing on each other, even on purpose or by accident. the american commanders trying to avoid retaliation, tonight flying fewer strike missions and more surveillance over syria. >> i'm also confident that our forces have the capability to take care of themselves. >> reporter: the last time russia threatened to cut the hot line in april when the president fired cruise missiles at a syrian air base after the regime used chemical weapons. that time moscow backed down. >> shows you how dangerous this war in syria has become. in a very small space, to have these powerful militaries all working side by side sometimes bumping up against each other is a dangerous situation. so great care has to be taken. >> reporter: tonight, the white house says that the syrian regime needs to understand that the u.s. has a right to depend itself and u.s.-backed ground forces. critics say the white house is just paying the price for letting russia have too free a hand in the skies over syria. lester.
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>> andrea mitchell in washington, thank you. now to the spotlight shining on the president's son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner speaking publicly today, an event so rare it was likely the first time most americans had even heard the sound of his voice. all of it coming ahead of a critical trip to the middle east. a lot on kushner's plate as the russian investigate swirls around the white house. here's chief white house correspondent hallie jackson. >> reporter: one of the most important voices in the president's ear using it publicly for one of the first times today. >> this is technology week here at the white house. >> reporter: jared kushner, low volume but high profile. leading a series of tech sessions with some of the industry's biggest names, the leaders of amazon, apple and google. >> many warned me that the bureaucracy would resist any change that we tried to implement. so far i have found exactly the opposite. >> reporter: it's part of a massive portfolio for the president's son-in-law and top adviser which includes overhauling the
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federal bureaucracy and mideast peace. for that, kushner will head to jerusalem and ramallah this week to jump-start those negotiations with israelis and palestinians. >> there's a lot of audacity on the part of donald trump in tasking his son-in-law with achieving middle east peace, something that diplomats with decades and decades of experience have come up short in doing. but sometimes in american history the break-throughs are done by the people who don't know what they don't know. >> reporter: kushner's top level meetings come as back home he remains under scrutiny in the russia investigation according to multiple u.s. officials. that investigation by the special counsel getting new pushback now from the president's outside legal team. >> there's been no notification to any of us that the president is under investigation. >> i think the only person at this point who knows whether the president is under investigation is bob mueller, and he's not telling. >> reporter: although special counsel bob mueller has never publicly confirmed it,
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a source familiar with the top says that he's requesting interviews with top officials as he looks into potential obstruction of justice by the president. tonight the white house says it's possible that by the end of this week we could get some clarity on whether any oval office tapes or recordings exist and, if so, what's on them. friday also happens to be a congressional deadline to turn any tapes over. lester? >> hallie jackson at the white house tonight, thank you. now for the latest on the deadly collision between a u.s. navy destroyer and a philippine cargo ship that's left seven u.s. sailors dead. the navy has now released the names of the victims who were killed off japan's coast as two different timelines of the incident surfaced. the conflicting details coming as family members remember their loved one while they await answers. nbc's miguel almaguer has details. >> reporter: the damage to the "uss fitzgerald" was so crippling the victims never escaped their flooded sleeping quarters. navy divers recovering the bodies of seven sailors. here at home, flags
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were lowered and tears fell. the oldest sailor, 37-year-old gary rehm jr. was three months from retiring. the youngest, 19-year-old dakota rigsby, volunteered at this virginia firehouse. >> he had a great life ahead of him, but he served our country and he did what he loved so i'm proud of him. >> reporter: the navy says the collision happened in clear weather at 2:20 a.m. saturday, but japan's coast guard says the accident took place an hour earlier. this marine tracker shows the cargo ship making a hard turn at 1:30 a.m. and a u-turn, backtracking at 2:20 a.m. >> for a u.s. navy destroyer to be involved in a collision with loss of life at sea is extremely rare, once every decade or two. >> reporter: the navy says the crew of the "fitzgerald" fought heroically to keep it afloat. commander bryce benson among the injured, but seven of his sailors
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including carlos sibayan, who followed his father into the navy, won't be coming home. >> my son is a survivor. he knows how to survive. this time he wasn't given a chance to. >> reporter: tonight, the navy says the investigation will take weeks, but for seven of these families, the heartbreak will last a lifetime. miguel almaguer, nbc news. there is new information tonight in the death of carrie fisher. while the coroner says the cause of her death was sleep apnea and other undetermined factors, in her system a mix of illegal drugs. a tragic final chapter in a struggle the actress was so bravely open about during her life. we get details from nbc's anne thompson. >> reporter: death revealed carrie fisher never escaped the grip of drugs in life. cocaine, heroin and ecstasy found in her system.
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the coroner's report says the cocaine was taken within 72 hours of when fisher slumped over on a london to los angeles flight december 23rd. she died four days later. >> a lot of people just, you know, wish she could have found the help and the peace she needed. >> somebody has to save our skins. >> reporter: fisher's portrayal of "star wars" princess leia made her a movie icon. her struggles with mental illness and drugs humanized her. >> i make very difficult situations in my life funny as quickly as possible. >> reporter: she was born into celebrity, the daughter of crooner eddie fisher and actress debbie reynolds. mother and daughter were so close reynolds died the day after fisher. over the weekend fisher's daughter billie lorde said in a statement, i know my mom. she'd want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles. carrie fisher certainly was. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. there is more to bring to you tonight. still ahead, inside the overdose capital of america. we're on the front
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lines with police as they make a major bust that may have saved thousands of lives. we'll be right back.
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we're back now with rare access inside the battle against a deadly epidemic in america. it may shock you to learn overdoses are now the leading killer of americans under 50 and ground zero for the opioid crisis is ohio where our jacob soboroff takes us to the front lines with police fighting to stop it as part of his series "one nation over dosed." >> reporter: this is the epicenter of america's opioid crisis. i'm on a raid with a task force dedicated to stopping the trafficking of heroin and fentanyl which is killing more people than ever before. here we go. >> put your hands behind your back. >> reporter: they just took him down. they just did a controlled buy right
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here. and here's the dealer. in what local officials say is the overdose capital of america, this is a normal weekday morning for montgomery county sheriff's captain mike brown. captain, what just went down here? >> we did a cold call on a guy that was selling heroin. caught him in the act. >> reporter: do we know if it was heroin or fentanyl? >> we don't yet. most likely it's fentanyl. this is the day-to-day stuff people are going to the morgue for. >> reporter: while street level dealers may seem like independent operators, they're indirectly part of a global crime rate. china is the primary source of fentanyl in the united states and most is shipped to mexico and smuggled across the border by drug cartels. they pick montgomery county because running through it are interstates 70 and 75, what law enforcement calls the crossroads of america for drug trafficking. it's over 12 hours since we first showed up at this building for our first briefing. we've just had another briefing. we're about to go in our third bust. we're all piling in this thing, rapid deployment vehicle. this looks much more serious than what i had seen earlier today, how come?
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>> the risk is a lot more. >> 30 seconds. >> reporter: 30 seconds? >> there's the house. >> open the door! >> reporter: you see any narcotics? >> there is narcotics. >> reporter: you mind explaining to me why we have to put these masks on? >> you breathe it in, you can die. >> reporter: it was a big load. nearly a pound of fentanyl. whoa. enough for thousands of deadly doses. >> that's a good day. good day. getting a lot of fentanyl off the street. basically you're seeing a lot of lives saved right there. >> reporter: the local coroner calls the death toll in ohio a mass casualty event and hopes for help from the federal government. this as some in congress, including ohio's republican senator rob portman, warn president trump's healthcare bill will cut funding for treatment that addicts need most. lester? >> a gripping account. jacob, thank you. when we come back, a star is born. how a brave young fan shared the screen with his favorite hollywood heroes. it's summer
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it's summer blockbuster season, that time when all sorts of superheroes are flying into battle at the multiplex, and for some courageous kids their hollywood dreams of being up there on the screen in the middle of the action are coming true thanks to some folks who are inspiring america. here's nbc's kevin tibbles. >> he's too strong. if only conner were here. >> reporter: as far as superheroes go, he's tiny, but this full-fledged power ranger makes up for his diminutive size with heart. 6-year-old conner goldhammer battles osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. the slightest contact can cause a fracture. >> we guesstimate over 200 breaks from sneezing or from trying to stand or just moving a bone. >> reporter: yet
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throughout the pain and operations, this little fighter keeps his spirits up. his inner strength in part comes from his idols the power rangers. that's where these two friends from hollywood come in. jamie drewblood and jesse wilson created for the win, an organization that puts young heroes like conner on the silver screen, literally. >> they're already heroes. they're fighting, they're fighting something real, and it's bad. >> reporter: for the win set up an entire movie shoot for conner with lights, cameras and plenty of action. >> awesome. >> reporter: conner was even invited to the red carpet premiere of the latest power rangers film. best of all, friends and family all got to screen the movie trailer for the win produced just for him. he even autographed copies of his very own movie poster. so what's it like being an a-lister? >> it's the best day of my life. >> reporter: really? >> yeah. >> they'll watch over and over again during the day, and that gives them that charge to get through the
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day. >> energize! >> reporter: because when the conner ranger's in the room, everyone is energized. kevin tibbles, nbc news, ft. mill, south carolina. when we come back in just a moment, nasa's amazing discovery in space. is there life out there?
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finally tonight, it's the age-old question -- is there life out there beyond earth? nasa announced today that the kepler telescope has discovered ten new potential earth-sized planets hundreds of thousands of light-years away. they appear to have the right conditions to support life, leading one nasa scientist to say, quote, we are probably not alone. as always, we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us.
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that is "nightly news" for this monday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. now. good evening. and thanks for being with us. for the third day in a row, we are seeing 100-degree hit. this is right in moraga. >> this heat wave overloading
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the power grid for pg&e. some neighborhoods have been off line for more than 24 hours. tom jensen is live in moraga. >> reporter: they really did. it started 2:ten this afternoon. they had help from the air and they were doing retard distaant. they are up there with hoses as they are in a mop up phase right now putting out small areas where there are embers and logs burning. they don't wan them to blow into the brush and start up

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