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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  February 15, 2018 6:30pm-7:01pm EST

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thank you for watching. i'm jim rosenfield. "nbc nightly news" with lester holt is up next. we'll see you again at 11:00. tonight grief and disbelief. new details in the florida high school massacre and the 17 lives cut tragically short. dramatic stories of survival and the hero teachers who shielded students from the bullets. >> coach feis is an american hero. he died saving his students. he died saving us. >> and chilling new video of students hiding in a classroom as the terror unfolded. the suspected shooter in court charged with 17 count of premeditated murder. new questions. were warning signs missed? how the fbi may have been tipped off about him months before the massacre by a threat on youtube. president trump consoling the nation
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announcing a visit to that grieving community, and new controversy as the gun control debate rages in washington. also, the good news from the cdc about the flu shot for children. and one of team usa's biggest stars wins gold here in pyeongchang. and she's just getting started. this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening from pyeongchang. all the news from here a bit later, but we, of course, start tonight once again in florida. where within the last hour authorities released a number of new details about yesterday's mass murder at a parkland, florida, high school. a minute-by-minute account of the attack and how the accused shooter made his getaway and where he went. the death toll remains at 17. the victims we learned gunned down inside multiple classrooms and multiple floors. their names publicly read today by a visibly moved broward county sheriff. >> may they rest in peace and may god
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comfort their families. >> we also learned, according to police documents, the suspect is talking to authorities. catie beck leads our coverage tonight. >> reporter: faces of tragedy. grief and disbelief. as we learn more tonight about the 17 lives cut short. a hopeful teenaged girl, a college-bound swimmer, a beloved football coach. aaron feis also a school security guard, gave his life protecting his students by using himself as a human shield. >> he died saving his students. he died saving us. without him, some kids wouldn't even be able to go hug their parents last night and say, mom, i'm alive. coach feis is a hero. >> reporter: so many kids did not make it home last night, like luke hoyer who loved basketball. junior peter wang active in rotc was seen holding a door so others could escape. joaquin oliver also
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lost his life. he was born in venezuela and had just become a u.s. citizen. >> i'm going to miss having him beside me always, but he'll still be there. >> i heard two shots. >> reporter: junior samantha grady was in class with her best friend helena ramsey who died when the bullets began to fly. >> he shot quite a few bullets into the glass, and it hit a few people behind me. >> reporter: gunned down in all 14 children and 3 adults including accomplished athletic director chris hickson and social studies teacher scott beigel. tammy was texting her daughter victoria inside the school as she hid from the gunman. >> she texted me, i love you. and i'm sitting here all helpless. what do i do? >> reporter: some parents' raw pain -- >> i just spent the last two hours putting the burial wreath for
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my daughter's funeral who is 14. turning into rage. >> president trump, you say what can you do? you can stop the guns from getting into these children's hands. >> reporter: a school shattered by gunfire. students holding on to each other and to hope they will heal. there is more hope tonight for those injured in this shooting. of the 15 people that were brought to area hospitals yesterday, only 9 remain hospitalized. one victim is still in critical condition. lester? >> all right, catie beck, thank you. we are learning chilling new details about the 19-year-old accused of taking all those lives. the suspected shooter making his first appearance in court today charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. and tonight questions swirling over whether the fbi and others missed an opportunity to prevent him from carrying out the plot. we've got it all cov covered beginning with gabe gutierrez who is outside the school. >> reporter: newly released court documents reveal that
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19-year-old knicknikolas cruz revealed he was the one that barged into the school and opened fire. he went up and down several stairs and started shooting at five classrooms. tonight investigators are frantically piecing together a timeline of yet another massacre. it was almost the end of the school day when the horror began. authorities say the gunman had taken an uber to his former high school heavily armed with a vest, ammunition and an ar-15 bought legally a year ago and hidden in a back pack. at first david hawk thought it was a drill like-year-old in the day. >> on the way there there's a flood of people coming in the opposite direction. they're saying go back. >> reporter: trapped with dozens of terrified classmates he took this video whispering by the glow of cell phones. >> i want to film how
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the students felt. i wanted to have that on video. so that if i died and everybody else around me died at least that story would pass on. >> reporter: while desperate parents waited. >> i just hope all the other kids are okay. >> reporter: teachers locked their doors, clutched their students and prayed. >> you don't go to college to learn how to save kids' lives, but in a situation like this, you just become very selfless. >> reporter: first responders raced to the scene mowing down a fence, arriving within four minutes of the initial shots. >> the firefighters, it changes their lives. my guys and girls saw things yesterday that they can't unsee. >> reporter: a school resource officer was armed but authorities say he never encountered the suspect who, according to a new arrest warrant, ditched his weapon inside the school and slipped out blending in with other students. he then made quick stops at a nishi walmart, subway restaurant and mcdonald's. but security cameras had spotted him, and by 3:41 p.m., police
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had arrested cruz about a mile away. >> i pull my vehicle over immediately, engage the suspect. he complied with my commands and was taken into custody without any issues. >> reporter: facing 17 counts of premeditated murder, today the 19-year-old cruz in shackles faced the judge and said just two words. >> yes, ma'am. >> reporter: his attorney offering this defense. >> he's sad. he's mournful. he's remorseful. he is fully aware of what is going on. and he's just a broken human being. >> reporter: but so far no clear motive. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, parkland, florida. this is kerry sanders. 19-year-old nikolas cruz today was right where many of his one-time classmates thought he'd end up in, custody after a school shooting. >> a lot of kids predicted that he'd be the one to shoot up the school. >> reporter: tonight many asking were warning signs missed.
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back in september, ben bennight alerted the fbi after cruz left this chilling comment on his youtube page. "i'm going to be a professional school shooter." >> i just felt that it was important to get it to the proper authorities so they could do an investigation. >> reporter: the fbi says agents tried to track him down, but it was a dead end even though cruz used his real name. >> the fbi conducted database reviews, checks, but was unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment. >> reporter: cruz had an obsession with guns showing them off on an instagram account. neighbors say he shot their animals. >> he's like in our backyard shooting our neighbor's chickens like try to kill squirrels with rocks one time. >> reporter: he was expelled from school for unspecified disciplinary problems. students say he was a lone er banned from carrying a backpack because staff once found bullets in it.
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>> he would stare at everyone, he was very angry, he was very weird. >> reporter: today the school district couldn't give details about cruz saying they had no warning signs about violence. >> it's a student that we'd been providing supports for and recognized that there were certainly challenges there. the specifics i can't get into. >> reporter: cruz's mother died in november. he move in with a classmate's family, bringing with him an ar-15 like this one. jim lewis is that family's attorney. where was it kept? >> in his bedroom in his gun safe with a key. >> reporter: and the key was with cruz? >> it was with mr. cruz. it was his gun and his cabinet. >> reporter: and the family let the gun into the house because? >> because it was part of his possessions. >> reporter: that lawyer jim lewis said that the family had no idea that cruz was going to do this or what his motive was. law enforcement sources are telling nbc news that cruz is being held her in an isolation cell on a
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suicide watch. lester? >> all right. kerry sanders with us tonight. thank you, kerry. president trump says he plans to visit the site of this horrifying massacre in the coming days. today he addressed a grieving nation while many are calling on the president and congress to finally address guns and mental health. we get more from nbc's peter alexander. >> reporter: the president's efforts to comfort the nation tonight striking for what he didn't say. >> answer hate with love. answer cruelty with kindness. >> reporter: president trump in a nearly seven-minute statement not once mentioning the word "guns." instead again signals his focus is on the mental health of shooters, not the weapons they use. >> to every parent, teacher and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you. >> reporter: the question tonight, how and when. >> we cannot tolerate a society and live in a country with any level of pride when our babies are being
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slaughtered. >> reporter: even some of the president's allies like florida governor rick scott calling for action. >> how do we make sure individuals with mental illness do not touch a gun? >> reporter: still many republican lawmakers say congress needs to take a breath. >> this is not a time to jump to some conclusion not knowing the full facts. >> reporter: but democrats' rebuttal? >> the idea that on days when there's school shootings i can't talk about the need for change is ridiculous. >> reporter: the president's initial response this morning suggesting the parkland community could have done more tweeting so many signs that the florida shooter was mentally disturbed. neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. despite emphasizing mental health, the white house's newly unveiled budget would slash funding for medicaid that covers a quarter of mental health in the u.s. and last year trump revoked an obama era regulation that would have made it harder for people with mental illness to buy guns. as for trump's planned visit to parkland in coming days he'll meet
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with victims' families and officials. he was set to go to to his mar-a-lago estate this weekend just 40 miles from where the shooting took place. >> peter alexander at the white house, thank you, peter. and for another high school in another state a far different outcome. a potential school attack averted all because of what a grandmother in the seattle area decided to do after finding a troubling secret. we get details on this from nbc's steve patterson. >> reporter: there's pain and relief at aces high school in everett, washington. here school officials say see something, say something works. >> this could have been a very big tragedy if it had happened. >> reporter: 18-year-old joshua o'connor was arrested tuesday morning. his plot to shoot students was foiled after his grandmother found a journal filled with threats and alarming detail. she called 911. >> no one knows the child better than a parent or a guardian. when you have family members that come forward, that's how the system's supposed to work. >> reporter: court
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documents reveal the teen writing he wanted to be infamous. i'm learning from past shooters' bombers' mistakes so i don't make the same ones. i can't wait to walk into that class. i need to get the biggest fatality number i possibly can. today parents learning what could have happened were stunned. >> it's kind of crazy. wow, no matter where you go, you're never safe. >> reporter: o'connor is charged with attempted first degree murder being held on $5 million bail. prosecutors say a semiautomatic rifle was found in a guitar case and explosive material in his room. >> she could have very well saved a number of lives including her grandson's life. >> reporter: at the school flags here at half-staff for florida, a stark reminder of the catastrophe that could have been without a grandmother's willingness to cry for help. steve patterson, nbc news. we're going to turn now to the news here in pyeongchang. it was another golden day for team usa thanks to mikaela shiffrin. the ski racer revealed
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that she took a power nap between her two runs and with one of the busiest competition schedules here at the games, who could blame her? for mikaela shiffrin, the wait was worth it. after three days of wind delay, shiffrin finally got to do what she does best and nabbed her first gold of these games. >> and giant slalom gold for mikaela shiffrin in pyeongchang. >> i really fought until the finish. and so i knew it was going to be hard to beat. >> reporter: the 22-year-old from colorado is just getting started with at least two more races still to come. she'll defend her olympic title in slalom, her signature event, tonight. the conditions last night, clear and calm. but there were still several wild crashes. >> gut goes down. >> reporter: swiss skier lar raski er lara gute fell and took out several. >> multiple riders going down on course. >> reporter: there was
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excitement at the kwandong hockey center. the u.s. women losing their first face-off against their bitter rival canada. tensions between the two teams boiling over in the game's final minutes. will we be back for the finals? >> absolutely. we're going to win this one. >> reporter: tonight, many team usa athletes say that even though they're in pyeongchang, their hearts are with those in florida. >> we wanted to skate for the 17 children that died in the florida shooting. and today was much more than about us. >> reporter: among those offering their support to the families of the victims in florida, figure skater nathan chen, the teenager expressed his c condolences before his skate tonight calling it devastating. still ahead, the flu vaccine. new information about how well it protects
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we're back now with the latest alert in the flu shot. the cdc revealing today that overall it's only 36% effective, but there's a bit of good news. tru the results are significantly better for children. nbc's rehema ellis has more. >> reporter: even though crystal whitly got a flu shot, she got two strains of the flu and life-threatening complications. >> one time she's having fun with her baby and two days later she's on life support. >> reporter: tonight top health officials report for the most severe flu, the vaccine is only 25% effective in adults. for children, it works better protecting 59% of those vaccinated. >> if you got the flu shot but do end up catching the flu, it can be less severe and less likely to land you in the hospital. >> reporter: why such a poor match this year? most vaccines are made using eggs, which can cause the most severe strain to mutate making the vaccine
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less effective. >> we need to rethink how we make flu vaccines in general. the only way to get there is through basic research. >> this flu is nothing to kid around with. it's serious. >> reporter: despite the problems, tonight officials say the flu shot is still the best protection. rehema ellis, nbc news. we're back in a moment with a couple of high-flying american skiers, lifelong alice is living with metastatic breast cancer, which is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of her body. she's also taking prescription ibrance with an aromatase inhibitor, which is for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive her2- metastatic breast cancer as the first hormonal based therapy. ibrance plus letrozole was significantly more effective at delaying disease progression versus letrozole. patients taking ibrance can develop low white blood cell counts,
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welcome back. two lifelong american friends are here competing in aerial skiing, a thrilling event filled with gravity-defying flips and spins. as stephanie gosk tells us their journey to the winter olympics started in a summer beach town back in first grade. >> reporter: american flags and clapboard cottages. madison, connecticut, is a picture perfect new england summer town. and, it seems, a hotbed for aerial skiers.
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not just one but two. >> i got into the sport pretty much because of him. >> pretty much? >> reporter: you are almost gloating. >> look at him. >> reporter: mac and kiley mackinnon grew up together. same first grade class. both were natural athletes. kyrie mastering a bike at three. >> look at her go, daddy. >> reporter: mac flipping on the backyard trampoline. both families loved to ski. >> nice, guys. >> all right, mackie! >> reporter: before long mac started flipping on the slopes. >> oh, yeah, big mac. >> reporter: that's when he called kiley. >> he's like, you know what? we need more females in the sport of aerials. i think you should try it. you're a gymnast, a skier, perfect fit. >> reporter: they invited us to watch. mac announced he had a new trick up his sleeve. >> i planned on doing one variation. full triple full full, which is called the
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hurricane. >> i didn't know about this. >> reporter: you're shaking your head. >> that's awesome. >> reporter: a missed hurricane is less painful in the water if only slightly. you might be looking at this and thinking, wow, that must be fun, water slide, jump into the pool. then you climb up here five stories and you look down that ramp and realize, oh, my. this is absolutely terrifying. the pair have excelled. in 2015 making history by both becoming world cup champions. >> i had done my competition and got my result and knew that i was going to get the globe and mac was up next. >> she's like, oh, mac, don't screw it up. we could both win together. >> exactly. >> reporter: they banter like brother and sister. a relationship that is sure to help them on this even bigger stage. >> i think the two of them, to be honest, i'm sure, have to pinch themselves and say, would we ever have dreamed sitting in that first grade classroom that you and i would be standing here in the middle of
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south korea wearing red, white and blue at the olympics? >> reporter: two friends from the same unlikely beach town reaching olympic greatness. stephanie gosk, nbc news, park city, utah. when we come back news, park city, utah. when we come back here, i'll (female vo) breaking news from washington as lawmakers; (male vo) raging wildfires continue to scorch parts; (male vo) allegations of misconduct; ♪ oh, why you look so sad, ♪ the tears are in your eyes, mvo: how hard is it just to take some time out of your day to give him a ride to school and show him you support him. ♪ and don't be ashamed to cry, ♪ let me see you through, ♪ 'cause i've seen the dark side too. ♪ ♪ when the night falls on you, ♪ you don't know what to do, mvo: when disaster strikes to one, we all get together and support each other. that's the nature of humanity. ♪ i'll stand by you,
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life and what we truly hold dearest in perspective. though we're 7,000 miles away the shared sense of loss brings us home a lot closer to home for all of us. that is "nightly news" for this thursday night. full coverage of the olympics starts right here at 8:00 eastern. i'm lester holt. for all of u mikaela shiffrin. >> yeah, i don't know that guy. >> mikaela's gold rush just getting started. >> oh, yeah, so how about we get to know her a whole lot better? >> he's my boyfriend and i love him but i'm also kind of -- >> hey, scott and kit, look who i have.
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>> natalie's getting personal with shaun. >> talking marriage, kids and even the movie that can make shaun cry just like he did after winning gold. >> it gets really sad. >> and mirai gives us a skater's eye view of a double. you ready, scott? lights, camera, "access." right now on "access," mikaela strikes gold on and off the snow. >> yeah, she dominated the field and we all watched in awe, but so was someone else, someone very close to her heart. >> for sure i thought, oh, maybe i can't do it. what if i can't? then i thought, who cares? the biggest thing is that you have to try. >> and giant slalom gold for mikaela shiffrin in pyeongchang. >> of course, mikaela did more than try, she nailed gold in the giant slalom. after her winning moment, mikaela performed another stunt. >> we just watched you climb over the gate to give your boyfriend a hug. >> yeah, i don't know that guy. i was doing an interview and saw hind

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