tv NBC Nightly News NBC November 20, 2014 7:00pm-7:31pm EST
on our broadcast tonight, no way out. a snow emergency getting even worse. a rising death toll tonight as people are trapped and we see the scope of this from the air. showdown over immigration coming to a head tonight as the president boldly goes where he threatened to go. and it's controversial. shootout on campus, a gunman opens fire, students are hit. one of them saved somewhat unbelievably by the books in his backpack. sudden impact, urgent results just out on crash tests onome of the top selling minivans on the road. and the master of stage and screen tonight, we remember the incomparable mike nichols. "nightly news" begins now. from nbc world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening.
the death toll has sadly climbed to ten tonight in western new york where so much of life remains paralyzed in a state of emergency in and around buffalo, new york. the region mother nature has placed inside some sort of a bullseye. 135 miles of new york throughway remains closed, travel banned in towns outright after second wave of snow. and roof collapses are a fear because of the weight of it all. lester holt starts us off tonight in a community with over six feet of snow on the ground. >> reporter: day three. >> this is absolutely crazy. >> reporter: and the snow keeps falling. and the weight of it all, over five feet of snow and counting, is beginning to cause roof collapses. more than 100 patients had to be evacuated from this nursing home in cheektowaga today when the roof began to show signs of weakening. >> the roof is compromised. obviously has not collapsed yet, but there's potential for it.
>> reporter: in hamburg more than two dozen people driven from the roads in whiteout conditions and deep snow have been holed up in this walmart store since tuesday. >> couldn't ask for a better place to be stranded. >> reporter: from the air today we could see entire sections of the buffalo area painted in white. rooftops that look as if they'd been slathered in whip cream. we worked our way south of buffalo and it gets a lot worse. we can count dozens of cars that were stopped in their tracks, buried in snow. barely the roof is visible. it's like the day the earth stood still. but even as road crews make progress, there are neighborhoods still cut off surrounded by chest-deep snow. we ventured down one cul-de-sac on foot where we could only shout a conversation with mary ann sanson. have you ever seen it like this? >> i've never seen anything like this. i've lived in this area my whole life. >> reporter: officials say they're doing their best to reach those facing emergencies and reminding home bound
residents to take precautions. >> we've been stuck here since monday evening. >> reporter: we met the shram family last night. they're still snow bound. but today her husband david finally got out walking four miles to get food for their baby evan. >> first challenge i had to overcome was the eight-foot high wall of snow. when i finally did, disheartening to find out the cupboards were bare in a manner of speaking. was able to find two quarts of milk which is better than none. i was also able to get baby food which was a big plus. >> reporter: look at the people shoveling the snow off their roof. six feet of snow on their roof obviously concerned about a collapse of some kind. they can't dig their way out of this neighborhood. crews are clearing the new york throughway, but it is still closed tonight. and hundreds of stranded vehicles remain. you can see the wall of snow there along the edge of the lake. it's just a big gray wall. still buried under all that snow, buffalo's robert wilson stadium where tonight the bills have declared a snow day calling off sunday's scheduled game
against the jets. and that gray wall we showed you dumped a lot more snow here this afternoon. and one word about that woman you saw me shouting across the snowy yard to, she lives in that house behind me. she was able to hire a crew to come in and dig her out. >> the scenes leave us speechless. i'm glad you found a way to describe it. lester holt in western new york tonight. thanks. just a short time from now in the face of fierce opposition and as he threatened to do, president obama will announce sweeping changes to u.s. immigration policy. and he's doing it on his own. speaking from the white house tonight to outline his plan our senior white house correspondent chris jansing is there for us this evening. chris, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. tonight in a ten-minute speech white house officials tell me the president will push the immigration envelope as far as his lawyers think he can go and make his case for acting alone. already both sides have launched aggressive campaigns to win the war of public opinion.
at the washington offices of united we dream, immigration advocates are gearing up to defend president obama. >> we are giving a -- to what many think is the problem. >> reporter: tonight the president will propose the most sweeping changes to immigration in nearly three decades allowing nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants to stay in the u.s. legally. people like miguel caseras who's son always worried he'd been arrested. >> it's an awful feeling to know that. to know that my parents the only thing they're doing is working to provide for their kids to provide food, to pay for the rent. >> reporter: under the president's plan the family could apply to stay here. they've been in the u.s. the minimum five years and have a child who's a citizen. they'll qualify to get a social security number and be a able to work, but are not eligible for social security benefits or obamacare. more dreamers are eligible too,
undocumented immigrants who have grown up in this country. and in a change it doesn't matter how old they are as long as they came here before 2010. >> these are not felons. these are members of families. these are not criminals. these are children. >> reporter: deportation will now focus on gang members, suspected terrorists, felons and anyone who's come to the u.s. since january 1st. republicans are mobilizing the opposition. arguing even the president has said it's blatant overreach. >> i'm the president of the united states, i'm not the emperor of the united states. >> the president has said before that he's not king. and he's not an emperor. but he's sure acting like one. >> if president obama acts in defiance of the people and imposes will on the country, congress will act. >> reporter: so far no indication republicans have settled on exactly what they'll do, but they say it will be aggressive. and the president's answer, well, we just got some excerpts from the speech, he's going to tell them, if you question my authority to do this, then pass a bill. brian.
>> chris jansing on the north lawn tonight. thanks. live coverage this evening on msnbc, on our sister network telemundo and streaming live at nbcnews.com. the students and staff at florida state university tonight struggling with the aftermath of a terrifying incident on campus. last night a man armed with a handgun entered a library where hundreds of students were cramming for finals. he opened fire wounding three victims as those inside went for safety. our report tonight from nbc's mark potter. >> reporter: police identify the shooter as 31-year-old myron may, a new mexico attorney graduated from florida state in 2005 and returned to tallahassee just three weeks ago. authorities say he was suffering a mental crisis and feared the government. >> mr. may had a written journal and videos where he expressed fears of being targeted. >> reporter: officials say just before 12:30 this morning may shot two students outside the crowded campus library and an employee in the lobby.
student sarah evans heard a gunshot there and rolled her cell phone camera. >> i just saw him laying behind the desk bleeding, wounded, in complete shock, terror. not knowing what to do. >> reporter: warned by intercom some students barricaded themselves in classrooms. this senior says one of the bullets lodged in a book in his backpack saving his life. >> for me to still be alive was too many coincidences. that's got to be god. >> reporter: shortly after the first 911 call police say they kill may outside the library after he refused to surrender. officials say at the time of the shooting there were four to 500 students inside this library studying for final exams and that the incident could have been much worse. police say may acted alone, but don't yet know why he opened fire here. mark potter, nbc news, tallahassee. on capitol hill in washington today an executive for the takata corporation found himself in the hot seat apologizing for his company's
defective airbags believed to have killed at least four people in the u.s., injuring perhaps 100 others and led to a recall on 8 million vehicles so far. the feds want to see that number greatly expanded. the company is resisting. our report on all of it from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: the most recent fatal accident tied to exploding airbags happened in orlando seven weeks ago. >> she was in an accident. she's bleeding. >> reporter: the front end damage to the 51-year-old's 2001 honda wasn't that severe, but the medical examiner determined she died of penetrating injuries of the neck. family attorney hank didea. >> what went forward towards her are metal fragments from the inflater itself. >> reporter: it just came right into her face and neck? >> literally sots through the bag into her neck. >> and the tip of shrapnel embedded in my right sinus. >> reporter: on capitol hill senators heard from 29-year-old stephanie erdman partially
blinded in an accident last year. you're angry with takata and honda. >> absolutely. they knew about this well before i had my accident. >> reporter: honda today apologized, never telling her of a recall during three service visits. also today we heard for the first time from a takata executive. >> we are deeply sorry about each of the reported instances. >> reporter: says takata does not agree with a nationwide airbag recall because the data does not justify it. >> i think your company is making a big mistake. >> reporter: the company says it first learned of a problem in 2005, three years before honda's first recall. >> did takata put profits ahead of safety, sir? >> reporter: no response from questions from nbc or the japanese media as the airbag giant finds itself on the offensive. tom costello, nbc news, capitol hill. bill cosby set to perform tonight for a benefit in the
bahamas for a volunteer organization whose membership includes thousands of mostly african-american women in business. as that is going on sexual assault allegations continue to swirl all around cosby. and a newly released video shows him confronted by a robber doing his job then pressuring that same reporter not to release his answer. our report tonight from our national correspondent kate snow. >> reporter: bill cosby and his wife were interviewed two weeks ago by an associated press reporter about works of art he loaned to the smithsonian. toward the end the reporter asked about old allegations against cosby. >> i just wanted to ask if you wanted to respond at all about whether any of that was true. >> there's no response. >> reporter: cosby declined to comment several times. >> i think you were told. i don't want to compromise your integrity. but we don't -- i don't talk about it. >> reporter: and then cosby said this. >> now, can i get something from you? >> what's that? >> that none of that will be shown?
>> i -- i can't promise that myself. >> and i would appreciate it if it was scuttled. >> reporter: cosby asked his publicist to call this reporter's boss. it decided to release the video this week after more accusers came forward. and today the story expanded again. another woman said cosby drugged her for sex. >> instead of empowering me like he said he does to people, he made me a victim. and all my life i've been a victim -- >> reporter: she says she continued to see cosby and later asked for and received thousands of dollars from him. cosby representatives had no comment today but previously said they would not dignify decade old discredited claims with a response. kate snow, nbc news, new york. still ahead for us on this thursday night, minivan owners who think bigger means safer will be stunned by the results of new crash tests. and there's bad news about some of the most popular vehicles on the road.
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about these crash test results that one vehicle in particular as you're about to see was among the worst they have ever tested. we get our report on all of it tonight from nbc's peter alexander. >> reporter: on the road they're a family favorite, but owners who think larger means safer will be stunned by these results. today, news that some of the best selling minivans are failing crucial crash test that simulates the front corner colliding with another vehicle, a tree or a lamp post. the insurance institute for highway safety warns the nissan quest is one of the worst performing vehicles it's ever seen for this type of crash. >> we had to cut the seat out in order to remove the dummy. and then we needed a crowbar to pry the front foot loose. >> reporter: in houston kathrine fuller says she's now nervous about taking her kids out in her nissan quest. >> i always thought since it was a larger vehicle and roomy vehicle that we were all safe. >> reporter: minivans are typically designed on mid size car platforms but wider and heavier. that leaves large areas less
protected in a serious crash. >> high proportion of the minivan market is running a poor rating in this test. and those poor ratings are in sense poor crash test results. >> reporter: honda odyssey tested last year earning a good rating. and toyota sienna with an acceptable rating. but the quest, chrysler town & country and dodge caravan all received poor rating. nissan says it's committed to vehicle safety and will seek opportunities for improvement. chrysler says its minivans meet or exceed all government mandated safety requirements. jarring results for safety conscious parents. peter alexander, nbc news, washington. when we come back in a moment, the royal dress code just announced for a certain group of americans because the royals are about to visit. [prof. burke] it's easy to buy insurance and forget about it.
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and perhaps some perceived slovenliness on the part of press corp on capitol hill in d.c., the folks who credential the press corp on both sides of the pond are out with separate memos reminding journalists, some working 14-hour days in nonoptimal conditions to spiff up generally, adhere to a dress code especially during the royals' visit. as they spell it out, that means pants or skirt suit for women, jacket and tie for men. and they note that includes technicians. when we come back, remembering the legendary director who gave us "the graduate." and back then he was just getting started. t getting started. on prescriptions. we found lower co-pays... ...and a free wellness visit. new plan...same doctor. i'm happy. it's medicare open enrollment. have you compared plans yet? it's easy at medicare.gov. or you can call 1-800-medicare. medicare open enrollment.
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and what's possible when you get things organized. ing u.s. is now voya. changing the way you think of retirement. we learned this morning that mike nichols had died at the age of 83. in the sports world guys like him are called a players coach. in this life he was an actors director and he died respected by all. he was wickedly funny, he loved funny people and they loved him right back. and that was just the start of it. mike nichols first burst on to the scene as comedy wingman to elaine may. he then quietly slipped behind
the camera and in short order became the favorite of some of the best actors of our time. >> the directors for other people. the point is to help the actors. and if you can't help them, you're not doing your job. >> reporter: they loved him for how he saw things. case and point, his masterpiece, "the graduate." other directors would simply show us dustin hoffman. nichols chose to show him to us through the the arched seductive leg of mrs. robinson. and let us in on the key to life and financial success. a brief list of his directing credits begins on broadway. barefoot in the park, the odd couple, death of a salesman, prisoner of second avenue. his first film, who's afraid of virginia wolf, received 13 oscar nominations. >> a great, big, fat -- >> stop it. >> i hope that was an empty bottle, george. you can't afford to waste good
liquor. >> reporter: then came "the graduate," the film version of barefoot in the park, carnal knowledge, silk wood, catch-22, working girl. >> i have a head for business and a bod for sin. is there anything wrong with that? >> reporter: for television, wit, angels in america and on and on. in fact, he's one of a dozen people in history to have earned the egot, an unromantic pentagon like acronym for winning the emmy, grammy, oscar and tony. >> you see before you a happy man. >> reporter: he was a kind of social and cultural anthropologist. his work tracked life in america perhaps because he was an immigrant, born in germany. he changed his name upon arrival as his family of russian jews fled the nazis. a bad reaction to a childhood inoculation left him without hair. and he wore wigs all his life. as he went about studying everything he could about
people. >> there's only one question, what is it really like when this happens? when somebody seduces someone, when somebody kills someone, when somebody loses someone? >> reporter: mike nichols showed us to ourselves. his impact on the arts of 50 years of american popular culture is indelible. >> if heaven exists, what would you like to hear god say when you arrive? >> welcome, mike and diane. >> about that diane he just mentioned, that would be our friend, diane sawyer, his wife of 26 years. her beloved partner, mike nichols was 83 years old. that is our broadcast this thursday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we hope of course to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.